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NRC introduces ‘quality view’, a new charging model for branded content

maandag 27 november 2017

NRC Media is the first publisher in the Netherlands to use this charging model.

According to Commercial Director Madelon Fortuin, with this move NRC is following up its introduction last year of the asynchronous loading of display advertisements. In other words, she explains, at NRC advertisers only pay for a view that’s actually being displayed.

“Quality is a buzzword at NRC and one that we want to promote on all our platforms, be it in the production of commercial articles or their promotion,” insists Fortuin. “It doesn’t matter how strong an article is, it still has to be read by as many readers as possible, and for as long as possible. At the end of the day that’s also the objective of the advertisers who come to us seeking to exploit our expertise. During the past year we have done an incredible amount of learning. And, thanks to measuring instruments such as Hotjar and Moat, we are now in a position to analyse and optimise the content and layout of an article, as well as its promotion. If an advertiser gives us the freedom to optimise the above-mentioned elements we charge on the basis of a quality view. The bottom line here is that an advertiser only pays for a reader who spends at least 15 seconds in an article.”
Asked about the significance of 15 seconds, Fortuin explains that it’s a critical threshold for NRC. “Experience has taught us that if people remain in an article for at least 15 seconds, they’ll read it all. It’s also a key benchmark that we’ve set ourselves.”

Fortuin explains the new charging model for branded content as follows: “The objective of branded content is to make the advertiser’s story as relevant as possible for the reader, thereby greatly enhancing his or her reading experience. This enables the creation of the required positive brand associations and increases the likelihood of brand consideration and preference. But the content of the story must be a good fit with what the reader wants to read. And, of course, we want the reader to keep reading for as long as possible. Advertisers are thus charged for the realisation of their objectives, only having to pay for readers who stay in the article at least until that critical minimum threshold has been passed. This is how we arrived at the new quality view charging model. The objective, solution and charging model must run synchronously, with data that we collate, report, analyse and, ultimately, optimise on different devices.

After jointly establishing the relevance of the content with the advertiser, we turn our attention to the layout of an article to ensure that it hits the right tone. The use of tools such as Hotjar and Moat allows us to track readers’ scrolling and reading behaviour, such as how far they read, for example, which can vary per article and per device. At NRC we know that on a smartphone a video at the beginning of an article will be much less likely to be viewed than on a desktop. For an advertiser, placing a video right at the beginning of an article viewed on a smartphone is therefore not a good idea. Readers on a smartphone just won’t click on it, but they are much more likely to do so on a desktop.

Besides ensuring that its content is good, you also have to make sure that an article is promoted as effectively and efficiently as possible. NRC A/B tests an article’s heading and examines, for example, which combination of creativity and format generates the most quality views. We look further than just the click; we examine what happens afterwards in even more detail. Like how long is the reading time?”
Fortuin is convinced that advertisers are pleased with this business model because it’s in line with their objective. Tijn Elfrink, Clustermanager Communication at ONVZ, insists that while your reach can be excellent and of a very high quality, when it comes to branded content you need more than excellent reach, you need maximum engagement, in other words maximum reading time.

Want to know more about ‘Quality view’ or NRC branded content? Please contact Gertjan Dijkhuizen at +31 (0)6 53 46 10 96 or send an email to