SYDNEY: Fairfax Media, one of Australia's leading media companies, is preparing to take major steps into mobile as it focuses on new, high-impact ad formats for that channel.

"It won't be long before we're a mobile-first company," commercial director Tom Armstrong told Ad News, as he stressed the importance of getting the ad formats right.

"It's a huge area of focus for us," he said, adding that "the small banner ads that we've seen to date just aren't really getting any traction … once you get those native formats and those high impact ads, I think you'll see a lot more brands moving into that space."

Other publishers have already moved heavily into native advertising, with, for example, Forbes Media setting up BrandVoice, a premium offering for marketers that allows them to access content creation tools and run their content alongside editorial and user content.

Chief revenue officer Mark Howard told a recent Singapore conference how it was enabling brands to achieve a significant lift in metrics such as favourability, purchase intent and trust.

At the same conference, Mashable's chief strategy officer Adam Ostrow placed the emphasis on winning in the social feed, where brands are competing with friends, families and celebrities as much as other products.

Fairfax is following the Forbes model, launching a brand solutions division to work with editorial and advertisers to explore opportunities across the publishers' core verticals.

"Most marketers today are really trying to understand culture and how their brands play a part in that as opposed to just trying to badge it," remarked Armstrong, who held up Red Bull, Mastercard and Coca-Cola as the current best exponents of this trend.

Creating good content isn't easy, he observed, but that was where publishers could help. "People who do this for a living can really help them [brands] – that's our core expertise."

Data sourced from Ad News; additional content by Warc staff