LONDON: The Guardian is launching a new online platform that will allow brands to host their own content on its website rather than being required to align themselves with the newspaper's own native content.
Called "Hosted by the Guardian", the platform has been designed to accommodate advertiser-created content – including videos, galleries and articles – to meet demand from brands and creative agencies, Campaign Brief reported.
And it is described as being a premium environment for branded content because it provides real-time insights and also helps to promote the content elsewhere on the Guardian's website.
The launch follows a trial period that involved a number of top brands, including French car maker Renault, which used the site to promote its ZOE electric car.
Renault showcased three of its own videos to highlight its design competition with Central St Martins, the famous art and design college, as part of a wider promotion of the ZOE brand.
According to the Guardian, the videos Renault posted on "Hosted by" delivered a 60% view-through rate from more than 25,000 unique visitors, with a further 4% clicking through to Renault's website.
The overall campaign is reported to have doubled awareness of the Renault ZOE, with a third of those who recalled the campaign saying they would consider buying an electric car in the future.
Commenting on the initiative, Adam Foley, Commercial Strategy Director at Guardian News & Media, said: "By creating 'Hosted by' we have answered a genuine industry problem faced by advertisers and agencies who create their own branded content and struggle with a suitable home.
"We have built a premium platform for advertisers' own rich and diverse content that serves an interested audience and delivers guaranteed results.
"We've been working with a range of brands from different sectors and been honing the offering and banking a great set of results and campaigns."
Online display ad revenue for national newsbrands amounted to £43m in the second quarter of 2016, according to the latest available data from the AA/Warc Expenditure Report.
Data sourced from Campaign Brief; additional content by Warc staff