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Steps for Branded Content/Native Advertising Success

Developing and distributing branded content remains a complicated process, with a wide array of package options and pricing that can vary significantly depending on the content creator, buy types, content types, publisher sites, and more. In light of continued marketplace confusion, members of the 500+ member IAB Social Media/Native/Content Committee formed a working group* to shed light on steps for branded content creation and distribution success.

The working group co-chairs shared some background into the Branded Content Creation and Distribution Guide’s development and the importance for any marketer seeking to enhance their branded content efforts with the goal of engaging with their consumers in more organic ways.

Why did IAB focus on Branded Content Creation & Distribution?  It’s not a new concept – so why now?

While branded content creation and distribution are certainly not new concepts, IAB working group members cited many questions they consistently get from the buy-side which indicates that even in a relatively mature market, there is still a good deal of confusion.  With content marketing and native advertising’s use projected for significant future growth, we felt it was important to prepare a guide that is designed to help brand marketers and their agencies identify the various branded content creation and distribution options available today and, importantly, understand the key factors which should be considered upfront to make sure that all branded content/native advertising buy meets strategic objectives/KPIs.

The IAB Branded Content Guide includes a Definitions Framework. Why is this important?

Steps for Branded Content/Native Advertising Success 6

Having a framework is important due to all the moving parts in the branded content/native ad ecosystem. Setting the framework is important as there are many options for a marketer to consider when it comes to branded content creation and distribution.  Choosing an approach is usually not an either/or consideration so it’s helpful to see all options in one place.  With this framework in mind, we can delve deeper into what to run, where and how to buy, how to pay, and how to evaluate effectiveness.  The IAB Branded Content Framework provides an overview of content and distribution types – from owned to paid or licensed – with an overview of key charge metrics associated with each.

Steps for Branded Content/Native Advertising Success
Steps for Branded Content/Native Advertising Success 7
Developing and distributing branded content shouldn’t be hard.  The most important step in the process is defining a clear, creative strategy including not only the type of content needed to achieve business objectives, but also the most effective means of distribution.  This guide outlines the key consideration factors to ensure a successful branded content/native advertising buy, to help brand marketers and their agencies identify and evaluate the various branded content disclosure, creation, distribution, and measurement options available today.

It is IAB’s hope that this Branded Content Creation and Distribution Guide will help clear up confusion about branded content creation and distribution to make adoption of this compelling way to engage with consumers more effective based on a marketer’s goals.

Download the Branded Content Creation & Distribution Guide: Steps for Success

*IAB acknowledges Working Group members from the following companies.  Individual contributor names are found in the guide:

AdTaxi Networks


American City Business Journals


Clarion Research

Connatix Native Exchange


Dominion Digital Media



Grabit Interactive Media


IGN Entertainment

Jukin Media

Jun Group

Kantar Media


Liquidus Marketing

Meredith Digital


Microsoft Advertising



Nexstar Media


Outcome Health



Platform Inc

PowerLinks Media


Sales Athlete, Inc.





Trivver, Inc




The IAB Social Media/Native/Content Committee is comprised of over 500 individual IAB members. The Committee’s mission is to identify the most important topics for the industry in the evolving social media, native advertising, and content marketing spaces, which are increasingly intertwined. Working groups such as the one that prepared this branded content guide are formed from committee members to address various marketing issues by providing best practices and education to both help sellers sell and buyers buy. To learn more, contact [email protected].


Susan Borst
Head of Social and Content Marketing Solutions
at IAB