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Higher Learning: Celebrating Online Native Advertising Success in the Australian School Sector

4 minute read | Melina Tsui, Senior Manager, Nielsen | October 2015

Online advertising is a common tool that schools use to attract students and highlight their role within the community. However, to best engage consumers, some education players have found that online display advertising alone is not enough because simply reaching eyeballs isn’t always driving the desired reaction. Building brand equity, proving value and trust are just as important. In order to address this, advertisers needed to find innovative and viewer-centric ways to engage their audience – and techniques to measure the results.


Some advertisers have embraced new types of digital outreach to connect with their target audience, such as through online native content. Online native content is essentially brand-sponsored content that is relevant to a consumer in their natural browsing environment and often engages them in a way that has the potential to add value to their browsing experience – such as through entertainment or education stories. One of Melbourne’s prominent independent day schools wanted to engage its core audience in a positive and constructive way so they teamed up with Fairfax Media to launch a native advertising series of articles through Fairfax Media’s Brand Discover native advertising solution.

Utilising Fairfax Media’s expertise in content creation and article design, a series of four in-depth articles were housed within The Age website, exploring aspects of the school student experience and the quality of its teachers.

The independent school’s aim was to drive positive associations to the school’s reputation for fostering personal excellence through education. With native online advertising, reach was no longer the only objective and metrics like unique audience or page views was simply not enough.

It was critical that the advertisers could gauge the effectiveness of the native content campaign when aiming to influence consumer mindset, which can be done by measuring brand lift. To this end, it was important for Fairfax Media to be able to measure metrics to prove that the effectiveness of investing in Brand Discover ‘article’ pages, which focused on providing a value-add experience to the reader and ultimately act as a brand-building mechanism for the school.

The results

Using the Nielsen Digital Brand Effect dashboard, Fairfax Media measured and monitored – in real-time – the success of the online native content in driving a positive lift in attitude towards the Melbourne-based independent school. This enabled Fairfax Media to show the true power of its native content advertising and commitment to deeper-level engagement.

The campaign drove 117.5% overall lift in positive attitudes among readers; and each unique article played an important role in the campaign’s success:

  • 147.9% lift in attitudes as a result of the sports article: elite sport programs have valuable lessons for the classroom
  • 135.4% lift in attitudes among readers of the wellbeing article: bringing emotions into education offers boys a richer life
  • 75.3% lift in attitudes driven by the excellent teachers article: the best teachers enable student to teach themselves
  • Demonstrated the efficiency of high impact native content: the strong brand lift was achieved with only 1 frequency
  • More than doubled “Very High” ratings as a school dedicated to fostering personal excellence
  • Generated a lift in attitudes that was over 50x the average lift of other attitudes campaigns measured by Nielsen’s Digital Brand Effect real-time tool.

Felix Krueger, Custom Solutions Commercial Manager at Fairfax Media said: “Our bespoke Brand Discover native advertising campaign leveraged what Fairfax does best – creating engaging content – and showcases the strengths of Nielsen’s Digital Brand Effect dashboard in delivering a highly effective way to see and understand campaign effectiveness in real time.” 

About Nielsen Digital Brand Effect

Nielsen Digital Brand Effect is a real-time industry solution that provides you with brand-relevant data in an intuitive yet user-friendly interface. Via a suite of solutions, advertisers and their digital partners can quickly evaluate and improve the brand health performance of their online ad campaigns, hence increasing effective media spend and maximising the value of digital investments. Through an intuitive and collaborative dashboard, all parties involved can access a common system and work together to monitor, measure, and optimise campaigns on brand lift.  

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