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How sponsored content drives 60 percent of the Atlantic’s ad revenue

A quick look at how the Atlantic’s reader-first approach is rewarded by advertisers.

The Atlantic’s sponsored content relies on its editorial best-practice of valuing audience-centric content over revenue. The cautionary tale of breaking reader trust in this article demonstrates how team structure and strong values should inform paid content efforts.

Atlantic Re:think, the marketing group behind The Atlantic’s sponsored content, is now a team of 32 people, 25 percent up from last year. The publication is anticipating more growth this year.

This is a far cry from January 2013 when The Atlantic received much criticism for running an advertorial for the Church of Scientology to promote the institution’s growth. The publication quickly pulled that promotional article and even released a public apology: “We screwed up…We failed to update the policies that must govern the decisions we make along the way.”

“That was a quick way for us to learn that the most important thing is reader trust. Every piece of content we produced on behalf of brands should add value to the experience of The Atlantic.”