Native advertising is an online advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience. Native ad formats match both the form and function of the user experience in which they are placed. See Buzzfeed.com for a shining example of native advertisements at work.
In 2014, native advertising in digital media has become a strategy akin to product placement in the motion picture industry—it‘s a subtle but persuasive tactic to showcase a brand in a highly visible manner.
Since native advertising is easily mistaken for journalistic or “organic” content, it can be highly influential. IPG Media and Sharethrough conducted a study in 2013 that concluded that consumers looked at native advertisements 52 percent more frequently than display advertising.
Native advertising can be contrasted with display advertising in terms of the location of the content. Typically a display ad will come up to the right of a news-feed and have an “eye-catching” format, while Native Advertising will come up within the news feed and bear the same or similar format as the editorial content.
To create an optimal native advertising campaign, keep these three tips in mind:
1. Study and Understand the Channel That Will Be Hosting Your Native Advertisement
While strong headlines are essential for nearly all channels, certain news channels that focus on visual content need strong, high-resolution graphics, while more text driven channels require clearly written content. However, it is not enough to have “good” content; you need to develop content that closely mirrors the style of the content that is presently represented on the site. Doing your homework and knowing the kinds of content that is typically hosted on your target site will pay off in the long run.
2. Create Content That Will Sell Your Brand
Now that you know the site where your native advertisement will be hosted, bear in mind that you still need to optimize your content for your target clientele. Just because a lot of people will click on a picture of Miley Cyrus does not mean that she will sell your brand. Keep your optimal demographic in mind when creating the content. Where do they get their online news? Are they likely to look at social media feeds? Are they readers, or do they respond more readily to visual content? What are their interests?
3. Keep Tabs on the Effectiveness of Your Advertising and Make Changes When Necessary
Make sure to view the demographics on the landing page for your native advertisement, and record the number of leads that develop from each piece. This will help you know what the cost per lead is for each native campaign that you develop. Don’t hesitate to make changes if the campaign is not getting the response that you were expecting. Oftentimes a phone call to your publisher in this case may yield valuable information on how to better target future advertisements.
Once you have experimented different outlets and content styles and have proceeded down the native advertising learning curve, you will appreciate the potential of this form of marketing.