The new platform, for advertiser-created branded content, is part of theguardian.com and launches following a beta period with top brands including Renault.
'Hosted by' has been designed to host a range of advertiser's own content - including videos, galleries and articles - to meet the demand from brands and creative agencies who are creating a wider range of advertising content, yet face challenges with distribution and finding a quality context.
The initiative aims to provide a premium environment for branded content and deliver a premium audience by leveraging real-time insight and employing native traffic drivers from the main Guardian pages to promote the content. Campaigns run in the beta period have demonstrated a significantly high level of engagement as the readers actively choose to visit the content.
During the beta testing, Renault showcased three of its own videos to highlight its design competition with Central St Martins, as part of an overall collaboration with the Guardian to promote its electric car ZOE, brokered by Manning Gottlieb.
The videos delivered a 60% view-through rate from over 25,000 unique visitors, with a further 4% clicking through to the Renault website. These results fed into the wider Guardian/Renault campaign that aimed to increase purchase intent by showing that with its design and tech led credentials, buying a ZOE was the smart choice. The overall campaign doubled awareness of the Renault ZOE, with a third of those who recalled the campaign claiming that they would consider buying an electric car in the future.
Adam Foley, commercial strategy director, Guardian, said: "By creating 'Hosted by' we have answered a genuine industry problem faced by advertisers and agencies who create their own branded content and struggle with a suitable home - we have built a premium platform for advertisers own rich and diverse content that serves an interested audience and delivers guaranteed results. We've been working with a range of brands from different sectors and been honing the offering and banking a great set of results and campaigns. We're excited to be opening this out to the market."
Colette Casey, manager, brand communications, Renault, added: "Renault ZOE found the perfect partner in the Guardian for our On-Road-Revolution campaign. Not only were we able to bring together Renault's strong brand partnerships around innovation and design, but using the Guardian's all new 'Hosted by' format we were able to maintain our brand tone. The campaign was engaging, unique and innovative which is the standard we strive towards across all our communications, particularly brand partnerships."
This forms part of the Guardian's commercial offering 'Platform for Action' which focuses on tangible and desired outcomes for advertisers and getting readers to do take an action.
Content is clearly labelled as advertiser content in line with the Guardian's content funding guidelines.
Also this week, the Guardian appoints Anna Bateson as vice president of platforms and partnerships. Read more here.
by Lydia O'Neill