While the term “native advertising” has been around for a while, its popularity has grown as people have become more aware of and worried about internet advertising practices such as clickbait, ad fraud, and ad blocking. Native advertising is one solution to these problems, offering a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between businesses and customers. As a result, native advertising offers a fantastic chance for media firms to generate additional cash.
What Is Native Advertising?
Native advertising dates back to the 1940s, when advertising was limited to print and the goal was to “fit in” with the style and feel of the publication in which it was put. Native advertising has grown from that to currently cover all types of paid content designed to blend into the form and function of the channel on which it appears.
Native advertising, as opposed to using the advertiser’s own channels, makes use of the efforts of a publisher to reach a bigger audience. Native advertisements, however, must fit within the site’s own content universe in order to reach and engage the publisher’s audience. Thus, the efficacy of native advertising is dependent on high-quality content, and it is quite similar to content marketing in this regard.
Material marketing, on the other hand, prioritizes developing material through owned channels, whereas native advertising capitalizes on an audience built by a third-party website. Of course, native advertising can and should be implemented into a content marketing strategy on a regular basis. Native advertising is another way to reach a highly focused audience through outstanding content.
Advertisers must become more creative as viewers become more savvy in their discovery and interaction with content. This is when native advertising enters the picture. According to studies, native ads have an 8.8 times greater click-through rate than regular display ads.
Here are some other top-level highlights:
- Consumers look at native ads 53% more than they do display ads
- Native ads create an 18% increase in purchase intent and generate 9% higher brand affinity than banner ads do
- Not to mention, engagement with native content is found to be on par with – or in some cases, slightly higher – than engagement with regular editorial content
Additionally, native ads are less intrusive and thus less likely to annoy or distract consumers. This results in more clicks and better engagement and conversions if the destination is compelling and speaks to the user’s needs and goals.
Native ads blend in with their surroundings, whether in a printed publication, a website, or social media. This increases the likelihood that your audience will read, click, and share them.
Native advertisements are content-based and should provide value in and of themselves. This implies that brands can concentrate on substantive involvement, such as comments and shares.
Publishers can target the correct audience for ads by using first-party data such as sign-ups or user profiles. Because the advertising are relevant to the readers, this can result in increased engagement rates. Native content is far more likely to inspire trust and loyalty than standard “spammy” advertisements.
How to Create Successful Native Advertising
As formats of content within digital platforms have grown, so has the variation in native advertisements. Here are some of the most common formats for native ads:
- Articles: Long-form content pieces that are mostly made up of written words, images, and videos.
- Images: Single photos or “Visual content” is one of the most common types of native advertisements.
- Videos: Captivating and informative “Explainer videos” are a very common form of native advertising nowadays.
- Social media: Paid posts on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are a popular form of native advertising.
Once you’ve decided on the format of your native ad, you’ll need to choose a platform where you can publish it.
For example, every brand’s own website is a potential native ad platform. However, keep in mind that publishing native advertising on your owned channels may affect the overall user experience and brand impression. Any native on a brand’s own channels should be designed to be engaging and useful.
Read Also: Why do Companies Use Native Advertising?
As mentioned before, social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms also host native ads. These in-feed ads look precisely like the other content the social media user encounters, but are clearly labeled as “sponsored” or “promoted”.
Many publishers, large and small, host native advertising and sponsored content. This can be accomplished through direct agreements with the publishers or through the several native ad networks available, such as Outbrain, Taboola, and Nativo. These networks, often known as content discovery platforms, can distribute native content across different publisher websites.
The goal is to determine which platforms, social media pages and/or groups, and media sources have the attention of the brand’s target audience, and then develop great content that fits the medium’s style and format while engaging the audience.
Below are 3 tips for creating successful native advertising:
1. Be authentic.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when creating native advertising is authenticity. Authentic content inspires trust and engagement. Authenticity is also the key to getting readers to click through to your website and make purchases. In fact, an authentic voice should be the basis for all your marketing efforts, not just native advertising.
The best native ads are those that are relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. If your ad doesn’t seem appropriate for the platform it’s hosted on, it’s unlikely to be clicked on or shared. Your ad should be tailored to where it appears: the design, tone, wording, and images should all be appropriate for the platform and should match the regular content that will surround it.
Remember, people don’t like to be sold to but they do like to buy things. Native ads that provide useful information are more likely to be clicked and shared, thus sending your audience along a potential buyer’s journey.
2. Be non-disruptive.
Native ads are designed to fit into whatever platform or site they’re on, which can encourage users to engage with the content rather than glancing over what they perceive as a more intrusive advertisement.
3. Create a plan.
Have a plan for what you want to achieve with your native advertising and measure the results. Keep track of the metrics that matter to you and use this data to improve your native campaigns.
One metric to keep an eye on while measuring the success of your native advertising is engagement. This can be defined as interactions such as clicks, comments or shares.
Another important metric is clickthrough rate (CTR), which refers to the number of times people click your ad, divided by the number of times your ad is shown.
Brands can also track the average cost per click (CPC) and the average cost per acquisition (CPA) of their native advertising. CPC refers to the amount paid for every click on the ad while CPA refers to the amount paid for every conversion, sign-up or sale that results from the ad. Another useful metric is return on investment (ROI), which refers to how much revenue the ad generates compared to how much it cost.
Media companies can use many of these same metrics and can also measure the engagement of their own editorial content as a way to better understand how native ads impact the overall audience experience. Similarly, measuring the overall time spent on the site can also provide a good indication of the performance of hosted native ads and sponsored content. Arguably the most important metric for media companies, however, is the revenue generated by the native advertising campaigns.
What Are Native Advertising Methods?
There is always more than one way to break an egg in marketing, but native advertising is especially fertile ground for inventiveness. The following are some of the most common native ad formats:
1. Sponsored content
Perhaps the format that’s most commonly associated with native advertising, sponsored posts involve creating content by an advertiser and integrating it into the publisher’s own content. This can take the form of articles, blog posts, opinion pieces, videos, podcasts, infographics, or anything else that resembles the platform’s editorial content.
These pieces are often produced by the advertiser’s own marketing team or a third-party agency. Marketers often refer to sponsored content as ‘advertorials,’ combining the words ‘advertisement’ and ‘editorial.’
2. In-feed ads
As the name suggests, in-feed ads appear in a user’s feed, be it in their social media accounts or their news feed. They’re meant to be less aggressive and more engaging than a traditional paid ad.
In-feed ads are typically placed between standalone pieces within a content feed, which makes them ideal for mobile devices with smaller screen spaces. You can easily customize ads to match the look and feel of any website’s content, using high-quality visual elements.
3. Paid-search ads
Search engines integrate paid ads into search result pages (SERPs) in a similar fashion to organic results. To what extent they fit the definition is debatable, but they do blend in with organic results and do respond to user intent. They’re also clearly marked with a ‘sponsored’ or ‘ad’ icon–the same as other sponsored native content.
Unlike traditional banners, these ads are triggered by specific keywords, and advertisers only pay when someone clicks on them, making search ads an effective and efficient way to reach audiences and drive traffic.
4. Recommendation widgets
Recommendation widgets appear on a website alongside its normal content and recommend products or link to relevant sponsored content, improving your audience’s online experience.
Recommendation widgets are particularly suitable for remarketing and retargeting campaigns, where you advertise to audiences that have already interacted with your brand, allowing for more compelling messaging and more efficient upselling.
Widgets collect data about visitors and use it to optimize suggestions. The system continually improves itself until it provides the most accurate and relevant recommendations to the users.
5. Promoted listings
Similar to how brick-and-mortar retailers provide preferential placement for high-bidding brands, ecommerce sites, travel agencies, and other listing services offer premium placement for vendors.
Promoted listings are an effective marketing strategy as they pin your listing to the top of search pages your audience is browsing–likely with a high buying intent.
This type of native advertising is often seen on e-commerce websites like Amazon and Etsy, and it’s particularly effective in combination with recommendation widgets.
6. Native ad units
Also known as in-ad units or native display ads,
Like classic display ads, these ingeniously crafted ads are essentially simple placeholders sold to advertisers–the difference is how they’re configured. When done right, in-ad units integrate perfectly into their surroundings without looking spammy. They can also contain contextually relevant content for that extra touch of personalization.
Benefits of Native Advertising for Marketers
Native strategies are increasingly popular among marketers for many reasons. Let’s have a look at some of the main ones:
1. Increased engagement and click-through rates
The very fact that it blends in with the platform’s natural content lends native advertising one of its most significant benefits. Since it’s less intrusive and more relevant to the audience than traditional forms of advertising, it creates a smoother user experience, which can lead to higher engagement and click-through rates.
According to paved.com, native ads have a 0.2% average CTR compared to the 0.05% average of display ads, making for a four times higher impact.
2. Better user experience and brand recognition
More relevant content equals higher user satisfaction–most of what we call content marketing is based on this simple principle, and native advertising is basically taking the same concept and adapting it to paid ads. Truly useful content increases the chances of user engagement, helping build brand recognition in the process.
Native strategies can help establish your brand as an authority in the field and leave a lasting impression in your audiences.
3. Integration with editorial content
Native advertising is often integrated with editorial content, which provides brands with the opportunity to tell their story in a way that is aligned with the platform’s natural content. This integration can create a more compelling and trustworthy narrative for the brand, which can help to build brand credibility and authority.
Integrating native ads with editorial content can provide a better overall user experience, as it allows the audience to see the brand’s story in context. This is beneficial for both the advertiser and the publisher.
4. Cost-effectiveness compared to traditional advertising
With more premium publishers being targeted and the added expense of more personalized, longer-format copy, the overall cost of a native ad campaign tends to be higher. However, the increased engagement and click-through rates generated by native advertising can help to improve the overall cost-effectiveness.
Despite the larger investment, the better ROI makes native advertising an attractive long-term option for brands with limited advertising budgets.
When opposed to traditional advertising, native advertising provides a variety of advantages to advertisers, including increased engagement, a better user experience, and higher conversion rates.
However, advertisers must be conscious of a variety of issues, such as preserving transparency and avoiding misleading practices, adhering to legal and ethical requirements, and assessing ROI.