Native Advertising: What You Need to Know
Native advertising is one of the fastest growing forms of advertising and projected to be a $4-billion-dollar market in 2016.* For those new to native, here is some background and six best practices to receive optimal results.
Native advertising is a type of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the site’s user experience. The ad is placed so it looks and feels like natural content. In terms of function, native ads behave consistently with the user experience and function just like natural content.
Content-based native ads are placed to provide valuable information to target audiences when they are in buying mode and showing intent. Native ads are successful because they line up the objectives of the buyer, site publisher, and advertisers. Native ads produce higher engagement levels, which produce better results for all parties.
Sharethrough/IPG Media labs did a survey of consumers and used eye tracking technology to determine some native metrics.
- Consumers looked at native ads 52% more frequently than standard banners.
- Native ads registered an 18% higher lift in purchase intent and a 9% lift in brand affinity responses than standard banner ads.
Six Tips for Integrating Native into Your Marketing Strategy:
- Brand Alignment: Native content needs to be in tune with your brand’s voice and should be part of a comprehensive content marketing program. It should sound like it came from your company.
- Don’t Sell: As with content marketing, don’t be overly promotional or sell your products directly. A good guideline to follow is “helping is selling.” Focus on thought leadership in your market and remember that IT decision-makers are looking for educational content.
- Build a Promotion Plan: You need to treat it like other forms of paid advertising with a strong targeting strategy and media plan to reach your audience at a time when they are thinking about your product category. Editorial environment matters too, so be sure to select high quality content sites for your native ads and content.
- Think Multi-Platform: Native on mobile is very popular as is the use of video for native ads. As we know, IT buyers like to consume content in different formats and across multiple devices so make sure you factor that into your native game plan.
- Transparency: Full disclosure is very important in the native world as it fosters trust in your messages. Ad and content need to be properly labeled as promotion. The FTC is watching and is concerned about consumers being misled. They just came down on Lord and Taylor for not disclosing they were running paid promotions and not organic social posts.
- Measure, Test and Optimize: It is important to set your overall objectives and KPIs to gauge success. You can measure page views, engagement, time on page, referrals, impressions, links out, and overall response to the ads. Keeping an eye on results will help you optimize placements and give you the opportunity to A/B test various types of ad elements (headlines, copy, links, images) and content themes.
I hope this information is valuable as you explore native advertising or for those looking to brush up on optimization techniques. If you’re looking for ways IDG Enterprise can help you with your native goals, take a look at the product library for native options.
Source: BIA/Kelsey, *Annual US Local Media Forecast: Social Local Media 2012-2017,* April 10, 2013