Politico’s branded content studio’s revenue grows as it rolls out quick-turnaround products
The volatile news cycle can challenge marketers who are looking to respond to key political moments and reach political figures. To help advertisers address the issues of the day, Politico’s branded content studio Focus has been relying on its suite of quick-turnaround sponsored content formats that it began rolling out in April.
Politico Focus’ Advocacy product suite has contributed to the studio’s branded content revenue increasing by 48% to date this year after growing by 55% year over year in 2020, according to Chris Tassa, executive director of branded experience for Politico’s Audience Solutions arm. Overall, Politico’s ad revenue is experiencing “double digit growth” year over year, said Tassa, who declined to share specific revenue figures.
Politico has one sales team for all of its ad revenue. The bulk of Politico Focus’ business is derived from custom and often long-term campaigns for brands’ reputation management and messaging around national issues. To build on that reach, Politico Focus unveiled a new website on Oct. 6 to tout its offerings.
The Advocacy products are “designed to be more templated, to get them out faster, and are lightly customizable” said Katie Wojcik, executive director and head of brand content at Politico Focus. While this timeline ranges per campaign, the turnaround time can be as little as weeks instead of months, a spokesperson said.
There are four Advocacy products:
- Focus Canvass is a data map platform that can show an organization’s or industry’s national or state-by-state impact.
- Focus Index is a listicle format that clients can use to make direct policy asks of policymakers.
- Focus Bulletin is an issue explainer infographic platform.
- Focus Brief is a digital one pager for an industry or association.
Politico Focus has created sponsored content via its Advocacy products for organizations like the American Society of Travel Advisors, the Internet and Television Association, StriveTogether and the National Corn Growers Association. Financial agreements of those deals were not disclosed.
The Advocacy product suite, as well as other rapid-response solutions Politico Focus launched last year at the onset of the pandemic, were created in response to marketers’ demands for more tools to “reach policymakers and their staff with their policy agendas” amid the pandemic and the need to “increasingly react to a more volatile news cycle,” Wojcik said. The Advocacy products can address pending legislation, a breaking news crisis or a call-to-action around COVID relief funding, as examples.
The templated products also help the team respond to advertisers’ changing timelines and shortened RFP cycles. The Politico Focus team doesn’t have to keep going “back to the well” for every campaign, and the audience can become more familiar with the look of these formats on the website and recognize them as sponsored content, Wojcik said.
“Timelines have essentially been cut in half and clients’ timeline expectations have become a lot shorter,” said Michelle Chong, group planning director at agency Fitzco. Templated product offerings would need to be “very specific for it to be really good… but it definitely fulfills a need, with more off the shelf options,” Chong said.
Politico Focus, which launched in 2015, creates sponsored digital content for brands that primarily lives on Politico’s website. The content is usually promoted for four to six weeks on the homepage through native ad units. Politico Focus’ content ranges from interactive visual packages, multimedia Q&As with audio, video and graphics, animated videos, documentaries, listicles, explainers, 3D data illustrations and branded podcasts. Past clients have included Ericsson, American Investment Council, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Delta Air Lines and Genentech.
The studio is made up of about a dozen content strategists and client managers, according to Wojcik. Focus also works with a group of contributors of writers, developers and designers. The Politico Focus team has a total of three branded content producers, after hiring an additional one in early 2021, the most it’s had in-house.
While branded content has not necessarily been a focus area for the clients Chong works with, it “makes sense” that some advertisers are seeking this out, and that Politico Focus is experiencing that shift. “Political context and the placement of our ads has become an area of concern for some of our clients — and us as an agency — due to the election cycle and new administration,” Chong said.
Publisher and agency executives scrutinize email-based universal IDs as the third-party cookie’s long-term heir apparent
Email-based universal IDs may improve upon the cookie in some ways, but relying upon the email address can introduce privacy concerns.
Member ExclusiveMedia Buying Briefing: A look at the big topics at the Media Buying Summit this week
Media buyers, planners and clients’ efforts to adapt to a changed world will be addressed in a number of ways at Digiday’s Media Buying Summit in Miami this week.
‘It’s an essential story’: A Q&A with The Washington Post’s Krissah Thompson on the outlet’s growing climate coverage
Washington Post managing editor Krissah Thompson discusses the publisher's plans to cover COP26 as climate becomes a "key pillar" of the Post's coverage.
SponsoredQuestion of the Day: The state of the holiday season for publishers
The Digiday Publishing Summit brought leaders in the world of media companies together with the platform and technology partners that work with them. Across the course of three days in Miami, in September 2021, experts and executives framed the state of publishing — identifying trends and next steps to follow in the year to come. In […]
How NBC’s News Group is shaping NBCUniversal’s commerce bets
The nearly 50-person group now oversees two shopping shows, commerce sub-brands across three NBC News properties and direct deal-making for a growing list of sister brands.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: How publishers with teen audiences are making their Instagram presences more inclusive
In this week's Media Briefing, media reporter Sara Guaglione reports on what Bustle and Teen Vogue are doing to make sure their Instagram accounts don't contribute to the platform's reported negative impact on teen girls' wellbeing.