Bauer Media launches native advertising-funded digital magazine

Bauer Media has signed up Bacardi and H&M for the launch of its new digital magazine, The Debrief, which will be funded by native advertising.

Bauer Media’s new digital brand, The Debrief, will focus on native advertising

Going live today (3 February), the website is aimed at women in their twenties and will include a mixture of content, from longer reads to videos and lists. Articles will focus around five pillars – People, Life, Getting Ready, Sex and In/Out – with Bauer hoping to build a “community” around the brand through social media.

Publishing director Lauren Holleyoake describes native advertising as the brand’s “core opportunity”, although she admits some display ads will run at launch due to demand from brands. She claims Bauer will offer “innovative” native ad solutions across the site, offering readers “relevant content in the right place at the right time”.

“Content is a way of communicating. Our audience is looking for valuable content from both the media and brands,” she tells Marketing Week.

Holleyoake says The Debrief is taking a “fairly flexible” approach to native advertising and is open to a range of different formats depending on the needs of the advertiser. She dismisses the suggestion that native advertising could confuse the audience, saying that readers are “happy” to receive content from a brand as long as it is entertaining and useful.

However, she says branded content will always be differentiated from editorial through formats such as “partnered with” or “sponsored by” and the editorial team will work closely with brands to ensure quality.

“We will clearly define and label commercial content and it won’t just be shoehorned in, it has to be good content,” she adds.

Native advertising is tipped to become one of the most widely used ad formats within the next 12 years and magazine publishers are increasingly jumping on the native ad trend, offering advertisers new products and services that let them serve online ads that fit better with editorial content.

Last year, Cosmopolitan publisher Hearst Magazines launched five advertising tools that integrate ads with editorial content across mobile, video, online and social.

Future Publishing, meanwhile, has formed an in-house agency dubbed Ngin to gain greater editorial insight of sponsored content. It also recently bought a stake in blogger network Handpicked Media that will see it increase its focus on content marketing as it looks to exploit the content produced by the network.

However, there are mounting concerns over a lack of standards and definitions. The Committee of Advertising Practice advisory panel has warned brands not to “camouflage” ads, while the UK Internet Advertising Bureau has formed a working group to look at self-regulation and guidelines.

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