Great content is the foundation of any successful native advertisement. The material you promote needs to be interesting, pertinent to your audience, and authentic to your brand, regardless of the goals you’re trying to achieve (sales, signups, app installs, or simply brand awareness).
Your material is an excellent fit for native if it satisfies all of these criteria. But you need to understand campaign optimization if you want to achieve really high conversion rates at affordable CPAs.
You must ascertain which ads are working, which aren’t, and why as soon as your campaigns start delivering initial performance statistics. Then, in order to maximize delivery and performance while minimizing expense, you must pull the appropriate optimization levers. Five different optimization techniques that are essential for long-term success with native advertising will be covered below.
How To Optimize Your Native Advertising Campaign
1. Test ad unit creative
The majority of programmatic native and content recommendation ads are made up of two types of creative: copy and visuals (visuals can be either images or video, depending on the ad/network). Controlled creative tests are a great way of measuring which combinations of text + imagery resonate most with your target audience. By optimizing both of these over the duration of a campaign, you ensure that only the most engaging ads are being served on publisher sites. A few things to consider:
- Are there any common keywords in your top-performing headlines? Be sure to include emotionally charged descriptive and action words when developing ad copy.
- In addition to keywords, pay attention to headline length. Shorter headlines tend to outperform longer ones.
- Do your top-performing images feature a common color or composition type (e.g. faces/people vs. product shots)?
2. Split placement at the campaign level
How to control your delivery costs by device:
The majority of native networks only allow you to set CPC/CPV bids at the campaign level. What this means is, if you want to serve ads on three different device types (desktop, tablet, mobile) and you build them all under the same campaign, you’re only able to adjust one bid (instead of three). Save yourself time and, potentially, wasted spend by building separate campaigns for each targeted device.
Read Also: What is The Principle of Native Advertising?
For example: if a high-converting desktop campaign is under-delivering, you’ll be able to bump your desktop CPC bid up to improve delivery without making unnecessary changes to other campaign/device settings.
3. Adjust bids
Not seeing delivery for a particular campaign? Try increasing your CPC/CPV bids. The more you’re willing to spend per user action, the more likely your ad will be served to those users.
Building a campaign and not sure what starting bids to set? Here are a few tips:
- Brand awareness/editorial-focused campaigns tend to drive cheaper traffic than advertorial campaigns. Start with bids between $0.40 – $0.60 and optimize from there. Native networks with smaller publisher lists are capable of achieving CPCs < $0.30.
- Advertorial campaign bids will usually need to be slightly higher in order to achieve high-volume delivery. Start at $0.50 – $0.70 CPCs and optimize as you start to see the performance.
- Sequential remarketing campaigns (direct response content served to users who have already engaged with brand awareness content) will drive the best performance at CPCs > $0.70. Depending on the network, sequential campaign CPC costs can be upwards of $1.00 – $1.20, but you will see much higher CVRs and low CPAs.
4. Conversion-optimize landing pages
Before you launch a native advertising campaign, be sure all destination pages are optimized for view/readability and for the action(s) you want visitors to take. A few things to consider:
- What is your campaign’s objective? Brand awareness campaigns typically perform well driving traffic to blog posts, earned media pieces and other types of longer-form content. More DR-focused campaigns should leverage splash or content-focused product pages.
- Are your campaign’s landing pages optimized for the device types you’re targeting?
- Are there multiple opportunities for users to convert on each landing page? If not, place CTAs within and around on-page content. Also make sure you’re leveraging different on-page elements to drive conversions, as some users may be more inclined to click a button vs. a hyperlink (or vice versa).
5. Test performance on multiple ad networks
As native advertising continues to outperform display and command more digital spending, an increasing number of ad networks are developing unique value props for brands to leverage, such as:
- Exclusive relationships with premium and/or niche publishers
- Advanced targeting segments
- Innovative native technology solutions (interactive ad units, advanced reporting metrics, etc.)
The bigger players (Taboola, Outbrain, Yahoo) are generally a good place to start, as all of these platforms offer easy-to-navigate campaign creation/optimization, a number of targeting options, and access to thousands of publishers (with the exception of Yahoo Gemini, which only serves native ads on its own digital properties).
However testing content performance on smaller networks can allow you to achieve lower CPCs and CPAs at higher conversion rates if your campaigns are targeted, built, and optimized correctly. Take advantage of the many unique native solutions available to brands in 2016 – your engaging content deserves exposure!
How Can I Improve my Native Ads?
Native advertisements closely resemble the look and feel of the websites and apps where they are used. They can be found on many websites, but they are particularly common on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. They give consumers information at a time when their curiosity is peaking and present it in an understandable way. They are less disturbing because they are much more subdued than banner ads.
There are several figures and facts that demonstrate the advantages of native ads, which have been shown in numerous studies to be more effective than display ads.
For instance, did you know that native advertisements boost the likelihood that a customer would make a purchase by 18% and that native ads are viewed 53% more frequently than display ads by consumers? Or the fact that 70% of people say they would rather read about things than watch traditional advertising?
Although the benefits are overwhelmingly positive, choosing to employ native ads is just the first step. The next stage is to make commercials that actually stand out from the competition in order to encourage people to pay attention to what you have to say. The way that native advertisements are created is just as crucial to their success as their placement and budget.
You’ll be well on your way to converting your audience and soaring your earnings if you stick to these easy native advertising tips.
1. Understand the end goal
When producing any advertising or marketing copy, start by thinking about the end goal. Without knowing what you’d like your work to achieve, it’ll be very difficult to structure and produce copy that can make a significant impact. Each native ad will have a specific objective, such as encouraging your audience to sign up for a newsletter or offering them a free trial. This call to action (CTA) will largely determine the ad creation process.
2. Make it valuable
This should really go without saying, but it’s crucial to keep in mind the idea that your content should always provide value to your audience – this is one of the most important native advertising best practices. It can be tempting to go for the hard sell in ads, but including useful information will be far more successful in the long term. You will have a limited number of characters to play with in your ad, so make every word count. Consider the action you’d like the consumer to take and the type of content that would be most appealing, and you’ll have the foundations in place for a stellar ad.
3. Keep it personal
Ad copy that directly solves a consumer’s problems, and provides them with information that is pertinent to their situation, will connect and entice. Even simple things such as adding the word “you” or “feel” will work to increase engagement. Commit to figuring out the key challenges your audience faces, and then focus your ad copy on them.
4. Write as you would speak
Ad copy that sounds natural is the most persuasive. You can still enhance it with metaphors and flourishes, but it should read as if it’s being spoken. This links to the above point about keeping the content personal; if people feel as though the content is aimed directly at them, they’ll be far more likely to engage with it.
5. Always use the brand name
Consumers continue to make associations with a brand over time, so using the brand name in headlines and descriptions will ultimately lead to more interactions. Even if they don’t click on an ad the first time they come across one, they will still learn what your brand does and what solutions it offers. Should they require services that you provide further down the line, they will recall your brand.
6. Ensure things are simple
Don’t include any words, phrases, or images that could potentially alienate consumers. Use short, snappy sentences, incorporate bullet points if possible, and break up the text with relevant videos and images. The easier it is to read your ad, and the less abrasive it is, the more likely it is the consumer will engage with your content and commit to an action.
7. Include a CTA
This is key. Once you’ve hooked the consumer with your ad, you need to keep them engaged with valuable content that speaks to them. Then, you must encourage your consumers to perform an action. What will they be missing out on if they don’t respond to your CTA? What can you provide that other businesses can’t? How can they find other pieces of content that will appeal? The rest of your native ad has been created to lead people to the CTA, so make this bit count.
How Much do You Need For Native Ads?
Paid advertising known as “native advertising” fits in nicely with the appearance, feel, and purpose of the media medium in which it appears. Because native advertisements don’t abruptly pull readers away from material they are already enjoying, many marketers prefer them to standard social ads.
In an ideal world, you would want to know how much it will cost to operate a new native advertising campaign before you start it. You might be astonished to learn that there is currently no accepted pricing structure. There are three different ways to calculate the cost of native advertising, but each one allows for the possibility of hiding some extra expenses, which we’ll go over in more detail later.
Native ads = creation + distribution
One of the pricing models for native advertising content is based on a mix of creation and distribution. Thus a simple way to make out native ads’ costs is to think of them as a sum of two services creation and distribution.
Many publishers are involved in the creation of native ad content. They are either charging a separate production cost or putting it into the media spend, i.e. distribution.
Scalable pricing models
The second model is the display ads pricing model when your payment depends on the results of the ad performance (for instance, views, impressions, engagement rate).
You could choose the cost-per-view (CPV) model, the cost-per-thousand impressions model (CPM), or the cost-per-day model (CPD). With the CPM model, the advertiser is charged a CPM based on the promotional impressions received.
Over time, you can start increasing your CPV, CPM, or CPD expenses. Find what is right for you and your publication, and let data be your guide. Also, you can choose a pricing model on cost-per-engagement (CPE), measured as page views to the native ad content.
The last one is tricky because page views depend heavily on the quality of the website, headline, and/or thumbnail that appears in the promotional units used to drive traffic to the native ad content.
The final pricing model is the time-based model. With the time-based model, advertisers’ payments are based on how long their ads are staying published on the website.
Among all pricing models, the time-based model is the hardest to scale.
Generally, a native advertising campaign costs media outlets between $100 to $1,000,000. The cost is defined by several factors: publishers’ catalog, their domain authority, target audience, and the level of competition for traffic in the proper target geo.
Compared to conventional display advertising, native ads offer a number of significant advantages: Native marketing is more interesting. A native advertisement gets more interesting by being more well-founded and pertinent to the platform’s users. The most interesting format of native video ads can outperform other ad formats in terms of effectiveness and return on investment. Native display advertising converts more frequently.
Native advertising converts prospects in addition to engaging the audience and boosting brand awareness. Because these advertisements draw in a more engaged audience, it happens. Native ads boost credibility. After being exposed to so much advertising online, consumers are understandably increasingly wary of it, but native advertising can actually foster trust.