Ads are everywhere. People see them in search results, on websites, in apps, on social media platforms, and on just about any digital channel out there. So, ads are often seen as an annoyance and ignored or even blocked. In fact, in 2019, 25.8% of internet users were blocking advertising on their devices, a figure that is expected to keep growing every year.
A solution to this problem is a much more non-intrusive kind of advertising, called native advertising. Native advertising is gaining popularity among businesses. In fact, a recent eMarketer report expected US native display ad spend to grow 20.2%, to $52.75 billion, in 2020. This large increase in spending indicates that this form of advertising has shown promise.
But what is native advertising and why should you use it? How can you get started with native advertising? Let's take a closer look.
Native advertising is a form of paid media that supports either brand or direct-response goals in which the ads are cohesive with the page content and consistent with the platform behavior. The content of native advertising matches the form, feel, function, and quality of the platform on which it is placed. Popular examples of native ads include promoted search results, sponsored social media posts, or sponsored editorial content on websites. They are a direct-paid opportunity, meaning that brands pay for the placement of the content on platforms they do not own.
Native advertising is quite different from other forms of advertising. The characteristics that differentiate it from typical digital advertising are as follows.
• They are typically information-based rather than product-focused. The content in a native ad campaign is ideally useful, interesting, and highly relevant to the audience.
• They are non-intrusive. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don't disrupt the user experience because they look like part of the page's flow.
The key to native advertising is that it does not impede the user's experience on the platform, thus showing the reader advertising content while still providing value.
Native ads can take many forms, but the most commonly used ones in content marketing include in-feed ads, such as sponsored posts on social media, search ads, which match the form and function of the other results on a search page, and paid blog posts.
Native advertising offers several benefits. Here are some of them:
When using ads, marketers are not usually in control of who will see the ads or when they will be displayed. With native advertising, though, you can purposefully place content into an environment where it'll be seen by an audience you choose.
Customers usually go online looking for either entertainment or a solution to their problems. However, if a product or service might solve a problem they're facing, they might just take a look, especially if they don't feel compelled to buy something. They are also more likely to look if the information about the product or service doesn't interrupt their browsing experience. Native ads are designed to be useful rather than irritating. Proof of this is seen in recent research, which shows that people look at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads, and 2X more than regular editorial content.
If done right, native ads provide useful, relevant content to the audience, which fits right in with the page or social media newsfeed the user is viewing. This is a soft approach in comparison to more disruptive methods like banner ads and pop-ups, which makes native advertising much more likely to effectively attract the audience's attention.
People tend to engage with and share content they like or find useful. Since native ad content is ideally engaging, informative, and relevant to the audience, audiences are more likely to engage with it as they do with standard, organic content. This gives native ads a great chance of going viral, providing free promotion that helps improve brand awareness across channels.
Finally, and most importantly, native advertising is extremely effective. It drives higher engagements than traditional advertising and has higher acceptance rates, click-through rates, and purchase intent. According to research by Sharethrough, native ads registered an 18% higher increase in purchase intent and a 9% higher lift for brand affinity than banner ads. Similarly, a study by Content Marketing Institute reports that 70% of users would rather discover products through content than traditional ads. All this data proves the immense efficacy of native advertising.
Like any other type of content, native advertising is not very effective if it's not done right. Here are a few best practices to help you make the most out of your native ads.
Native ads are highly targeted. They need to be relevant to the people reading the content, or you risk not meeting the goals of your advertising campaign. To get targeting right, it is first important to understand your audience. Find out what problems your target audience is trying to solve, what they're looking for, and anything else that would enable you to create content that is relevant to them. This will help you choose the right publishers to target with your content.
Unlike traditional advertising where audience targeting is enough, in native advertising, content targeting is, perhaps, more important than audience targeting. While it is important that your content reaches the right audience, it is equally critical that your content matches the content in its environment. That being said, you should also make sure your ad appears in quality publications. No matter how good your content is, your brand is unlikely to be viewed in a positive light if your ad appears alongside questionable content.
As with all advertising media, the content of your ads is of utmost importance in native advertising. You need to create the right content that will fit in with the website or platform the ad is placed on, so that it engages the user and encourages them to take the action you want. Since customers are usually looking to read something insightful or useful on the websites they visit, make sure your native ads give them what they want. Highly promotional native ads stick out like a sore thumb and only serve to irritate your audience. Adding value without pushing for conversion might not yield immediate results, but the credibility you build through useful native ads will pay off in the long run.
Regardless of the format, since native ads are ultimately advertisements, they must follow the same disclosure rules that govern traditional advertising. Make sure your ads are transparent. Don't try to deceive the audience or misrepresent the nature of your promotions. You can do this by prominently identifying any sponsored or branded content. This is important for more than just compliance, as your audience will not take kindly to being deceived in any way.
Depending on your needs, it is important to choose the right platform for your native advertising needs. Two of the most popular native ad platforms are Taboola and Outbrain. You can choose one of these or others, depending on your campaign goals. For example, if your goal is a high volume of clicks or high traffic, Taboola is a good option because it gets a lot of traffic. If you have a lower budget, Outbrain, with its daily budget, might be a better option for you.
If you're new to native advertising, getting started can be overwhelming. You need to figure out your campaign goals, determine your audience, find a native advertising platform, select the right publishers for your goals, and build a relationship with those publishers. If your team doesn't have the expertise or the resources to deal with such work, you can outsource it to one or more freelancers. Fiverr's native advertising freelancers can help you with every step of the process, from setting up a campaign to creating the right native ad content for your target audience. Visit the "Native Advertising" section on Fiverr to find the perfect freelancer to suit your needs.