Global automotive brand

MSN NZ Editorial Native accelerates local car sales

MSN NZ Editorial Native accelerates local car sales


Mi9’s MSN NZ Editorial Native campaign for the local distributor of a global automotive brand took off in January 2021, delivering five times the total number of conversions of their two existing Native publishers, at just 9% their cost per conversion, to June 2021.

The campaign drove traffic to the automotive brand’s website, resulting in phenomenal conversions across key call-to-actions, including eight times the number of test drives booked and seven times the number of brochures downloaded, than seen with the two other publisher websites.

The results saw MSN NZ’s Editorial Native move into pole position, increasing its share of budget and making it an always-on component of the campaign as the best-performing Native channel for the advertiser.


The automotive brand’s overarching campaign strategy uses television to build brand awareness and digital to drive conversion. 

Digital conversions are measured through user responses to five different calls-to-action on the advertiser’s website; Find a Dealer, Book a Test Drive, Finance Calculator, Download a Brochure and Contact Us.

The automotive brand had previously identified that news websites are very effective at driving conversions, and as such, had a monthly alternating approach to capturing audiences across the country’s largest two news sites. 

However, at the end of 2020, the advertiser challenged themselves to look for ways to improve digital conversion.

During their quarterly media review they identified MSN NZ as another high performing news publisher.

The key insights that drove this were that MSN NZ ranked as a top news site, alongside the two other sites they were running placements on, and the audience numbers were high.

This, combined with the fact that the automotive brand didn’t currently place any advertising on MSN NZ, but some of their competitors did, suggested that there was an opportunity to add MSN NZ to their campaign strategy.


Native was the product of choice for the advertiser, as they had seen the strongest conversion performance across their digital strategy through Native products. 

Alongside the insights that led them to consider MSN NZ as an additional news publisher, when examining MSN NZ’s Editorial Native product, they also found family-friendly content and robust editorial safeguards, which meant they  had confidence about where they were putting their brand. 

MSN NZ’s website also had a strong unduplicated audience with the existing two news sites used in the advertiser’s campaign; all this suggesting that MSN NZ was a news publisher that was understated, with the potential to outperform.

To ensure the automotive brand could monitor the effectiveness of the new platform within the existing campaign, cost per conversion and the number of conversions were set as the benchmarks, with the aim to also grow the audience reach, not just drive down the cost of conversion. 

The advertiser began working with Mi9 to accelerate the performance of its digital campaign in January 2021, basing the creative placements on the budget and models of cars available.

The campaign was scheduled to start just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to play on the minds of Kiwis, ultimately bringing not just consumer uncertainty, but supply chain pressures.


Part of the attraction of MSN NZ Editorial Native to the advertiser was the location of its native advertising units above the fold of the MSN NZ home page. 

The MSN NZ Editorial Native product’s tile units - Infopane and River - sit in the stream of content, are booked for 24 hours, and are shown to its monthly audience of over 290,000 Kiwis.

The additional value this provides is that it acts more like a takeover, whereas other native ads don't have that same impact. 

In an unexpected bonus, the creative required for MSN NZ Editorial Native was a natural fit with the existing campaign creative, so there was no need to develop new assets, saving the advertiser time and money. 

The original implementation provided the advertiser with three creative executions, however, like many industries during the pandemic, automotive was affected by supply-chain and shipping volatility, meaning the campaign needed to flex, to ensure they could promote the right models at the right time.

Mi9 worked with their partners at MSN NZ to increase the number of creative executions available to the automotive brand to 16, providing them with greatly increased flexibility as stock availability and order lead times became unpredictable. 

This strengthened the MSN NZ Editorial Native offering even further, as the need to switch to promoting only car models which were in stock in New Zealand became essential.


As outlined in previous sections, the measure of success of the MSN NZ Editorial Native product is the number and cost of website conversions in total, and in comparison to, the two existing Native publishers, as well as ensuring the overall number of conversions increased across the three platforms.

From January 2021, when first added to the media mix, through to 30 June 2021, MSN NZ Editorial Native delivered five times the total number of conversions of the original two Native publishers in the same time frame. At just 9% of their cost per conversion. 

Additionally, audience numbers overall increased, meaning that MSN NZ is extending the reach of the campaign, helping the advertiser engage with new potential customers.

After six months of using the product, its outstanding and economical cost per conversion compared to the other native publishers have the automotive brand hooked

Looking into the website user responses that MSN NZ drove in comparison to the other two native publishers in the advertiser’s campaign, it demonstrates that the MSN NZ Editorial Native product delivered:

  • Eight times the number of test drive bookings
  • Seven times the number of brochure downloads
  • Six times the number of finance calculator interactions
  • Four times the number of “find a dealer” searches, and;
  • Twice as many contact us requests. 

Reviewing the overall performance of all digital channels for the automotive advertiser, MSN NZ Editorial Native is the number two source of conversions, second only to a global Social platform.

Indeed, MSN NZ Editorial Native has performed so well for the advertiser that ad spend has been increased.

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