Meet The Ads Which Are Not Exactly Ads... And Perform Better Than Ads!
Instead of pushing your brand and products at customers, let them come to you as they discover your promotions online the more natural way... Discover NATIVE ADS
Native advertising is a highly effective approach to online visibility that takes advantage of the context to allow customers to flow to you according to their natural interests and motivations. Response rates are higher because prospects don't feel under pressure from a hard sell. Read on for an overview of how your business can take advantage of this new approach.
Contact Enlightenment Media for immediate comprehensive and impartial advice about managed native ads campaigns and our unique Universal Solution for your digital marketing strategy.
Native ads: you've already seen all the tactics yourself around the web, but they didn't feel like you were being sold to...
Native advertising is paid inclusion. A publisher, such as a blog network, news media, or video channel, gets paid to place your content within the normal flow or layout of their materials. The "native" aspect is that the advertising content is designed less as direct advertising and more as content that is thematically relevant and appropriate to this context.
Native adverts help your prospects discover your brand and products/services in a much more low-key way than a traditional interruptive ad. The content you develop provides value to the consumer and positionsyour brand without a hard sell.
Big brands have been engaging in various forms of native advertising for a long time, but move away from traditional TV, radio, and print media into the online space, and the rapidly changing way people use the internet, have forced big brand advertisers to become more creative, while opening up many of the tools and audiences for exploitation by ordinary-sized business as well.
Spending on native ads will reach $4.3 billion in 2015, a 34% increase over the previous year
eMarketer via IAB
Native ads are "a renaissance...more personal and natural", according to Yahoo's Patrick Albano, and at Enlightenment Media we certainly agree that native advertising - done right - is an incredible branding and audience-building opportunity for businesses to promote and advertise without being seen as intrusive or off-topic by consumers.
With native advertising there is a huge range of different automated or negotiated media buying options available, as well as a spectrum of different types of ad for different contexts and purposes. We'll help you navigate towards the best solution that matches your unique marketing needs. The important thing to bear in mind is how to connect valuable content back to your brand and commercial proposition.
The Core Native Ad Types
- In-feed units
- Paid search units
- Recommendation widgets
- Promoted listings
- Integrated ads
- Custom-negotiated placements
Native ads can be used to deliver content such as video, deliver actions such as downloads and signups, build audience in social media, or drive traffic to informational and interactive resources on your owned web properties. If you can imagine a great piece of content around your products and services, or just to establish your brand values, then there will be a matching native ad technique to get the best attention for that content.
We are firmly convinced that native ads are the logical evolution of online advertising, towards a sustainable win-win-win between consumers, advertisers, and publishers. It's important to mention that the "consumers" are consumers of content, so the tactics and networks are just as relevant for B2B marketing... where the people you need to influence are still individuals... you just need to find the ways to reach them and build trust. The emphasis on useful and authoritative/original content production for native advertising makes it perfect for B2B marketing.
Regardless of context, a reasonable consumer should be able to
distinguish between what is paid advertising vs. what is publisher editorial content.
IAB Native Advertising guidance, 2014
Get up to speed with native ads as fast as possible: As with many new forms of marketing online, native advertising is still in a state of rapid change. But it's not the time to hang back. You need to position your brand in front of the right audiences before your competition steals the limelight, and the faster you develop the content production and promotion capabilities, the faster you can adapt to new techniques and networks as they become available.
Your targeting options in native ad systems allow you to concentrate on which audiences are likely to be interested in your content. In other words, it's not a one-size-fits-all promotional blast, but a matter ofmatching the interests of the viewers with the content and your brand message.
Here are the main types of targeting... which you should consider when designing your campaign:
- Operating system and device
- Telecom / carrier
- Placement / sites / apps
- Time of day and day of week delivery
- Audience demographics
- Audience affinities or lists
- Behavior groups
- Topic category
It's important to plan ahead and design different content (variations) that appeal to people who are targeted in your campaign. Enlightenment Media will give you suggestions about how to strike a balance between audience size, and specificity that leads to better engagement rates.
Native ads and disclosure
Although the strength of native ad placements is that they receive attention closer to ordinary content on a web page, it is still necessary in almost all cases to disclose - i.e. flag up reasonably clearly - that the ad is an ad.
A July 2014 study by the IAB noted that less than half of consumers recognized that Native Ad material was in fact advertising. To some degree, this explains the effectiveness of the approach, but you shouldn't aim to disguise the identity of ads unfairly, and you shouldn't bank on your content working by essentially tricking consumers about the source of the information.
At the most discreet, reasonable disclosure can be in a resource box under an article or in the notes about the author (byline) appearing at the top or to the side of the content. In video, promoted content that is mixed into a show or segment is usually prefaced with a short statement or visual message such as "from our sponsor".
Here are some more common disclosure wording examples - by becoming more aware of these as you browse the web, you'll see how pervasive native advertising has become!
- AD / Ads related to [keyword]
(Google and YouTube)
- Sponsored Content
- Sponsored Products
- Presented by [brand]
(BuzzFeed, Huffington Post)
- Suggested Post / Sponsored
- Recommended by Outbrain
Sponsored content by Taboola
Ethics in our best interests - The creative possibilities are endless for cooperation between an advertiser and publisher, but it's important to bear in mind that consumers have rights, which are often legally encoded in the US and Europe. Regardless of the letter of the law, it is best to play safe with clear disclosure, relevance, and transparent "about these ads" type information. What is good for the consumer will be good in the long term for publishers and brands. The contrary is also true: the marketing industry has to make sure that native ads retain a sense of quality and don't train users to filter them out by being overly spammy!
Native ad performance boosts your whole content marketing efficacy
The better you get at native advertising, the more you will be able to derive marketing benefit from your content marketing and social media. In turn, this means you have more confidence to build authority and following in these places, and your traction increases over time.
Consider these benefits of native advertising:
- every valuable piece of content you work on will get a valid audience
- your audience for valuable content will become social media followers and recognize your brand
- followers and customers are more likely to engage with and share your content promotions
- your content will become more viral and increase SEO power as people share links to it
- the value of the ongoing growth of audience and brand awareness will improve your confidence to build bigger and better native ad promotions for your content
If you are already active in blogging, social media, or producing business content resources, then you'll recognize the benefits that will come from being able to attract relevant attention to your materials on demand. Enlightenment Media will work with you to ensure we consistently increase visibility of and engagement with the content and social media assets you have already begun building.
Nearly two thirds of marketers plan to increase native ad spending
Ad Age (January 2015)
Native advertising strategy
Native ads are probably the area in which your creativity will take off most. Providing interest, entertainment, and value to your prospects and customers seems more interesting than standard display or paid search advertising. It is great to think creatively, but the key is to keep an eye on the commercial strategy and make sure what you are doing has a real reason and connection to your overall business aims.
At Enlightenment Media we don't believe in doing any one part of digital marketing in isolation. Nowhere is this more true than in native advertising. You need to stay aware of PPC and SEO in selection of topics, placements, and ad costs. You need to be working with customer support and sales to figure out what content will be most interesting and useful to your audience. You need good technology to ensure your site runs well and analytics to watch the results of your ads. You need expert designers, writers, and editors to put together the best possible creative... As you can see, a Universal approach to marketing is the right way to get everything done in context, in quality, and on time.
What's the purpose of your native ads?
It's an important strategic question to ask right at the beginning of your campaign planning: what is the main purpose of these ads? Having an accurate definition leads you to the secondary question "how are we going to measure this?"
How you measure your native ads depends on how you judge the advertising to be successful.Generally, brands look at the product, buying cycle, audience, and promotion and settle on one of the two:
- Branding metrics
- Performance metrics
Campaigns focusing on branding are more like conventional display advertising and sponsorship. You want maximum eyeballs and awareness of your brand and product, but due to the message and context you may not be expecting everyone to take immediate action.
Performance-focused native ad campaigns are designed more like pay-per-click, where you want a direct response from the web traffic coming to your pages, and you are measuring conversions such as lead capture or product purchases.
Enlightenment Media will discuss your native advertising strategy within the whole context of your brand aims, so that we understand your objectives and can help you track the performance of your campaigns.
The Quality Content Chain
Native ads only work well if all the parts of the user experience are joined up and well put together.From the ad through the main content and onwards to the next steps prospects can take, your branding must be consistent and the quality of the content and creatives give out the best impression.
A simple native ad campaign can consist of boosting visibility for a new piece of content such as a blog post, how-to guide, or business white paper. But even in the most straightforward approach, the headlines and graphics you present will be highly important in the performance of the ad. Since you can't "bait and switch" by having a very clickable ad but unrelated or boring content, this means your content itself has to be designed with the native ad boost in mind.
Here are some things we'll work on in your content chain:
- Careful ad design, including headlines and graphics, and including testing of what gets views/clicks
- Watching the integration of the advertising where it appears to the consumer
- Developing variations of the content presentation, length, and topic mix according to the purpose and audience -- this is particularly important if you have introductory or landing pages from your ads
- Crafting and testing the calls to action and commercial messages residing within your main content
- Getting qualitative and quantitative feedback about what content worked well and got results
There is a lot involved in getting everything joined up together. Enlightenment Media will help you stay productive and get your promoted content campaigns out on time, as well as in high quality.
Recommendation widgets are a great way to drive traffic to your content, boosting your social media and SEO. Considering how hard it is to get audience attention in a cluttered digital space, it's critical that your content marketing strategy contains this kind of boosting tactic.
Successful Native Ad campaigns are ones which are strategically conceived and professionally executed.Contact Enlightenment Media today to get digital advertising strategy support from the only agency that always ensures a Universal Solution.