It’s not something new that while we are browsing on the internet, we will have to come across at least a few advertisements and in most cases, we are not really happy about it. The reason? Simply because it disrupts our concentration.
Now imagine what if there would be a specific type of ad that would appear on your screen while surfing online but didn’t interrupt your flow of attention? Of course that would be more preferable, and for your information, it actually happens in real life. We don’t recognize these kinds of advertisements mostly though.
Native marketing or native advertising is this very type of marketing strategy, for which, advertisement is done in such a way that it appears maintaining the editorial flow of a page on the internet, so it’s hard to differentiate it from the actual page that we are reading. Below, it has been discussed in detail, let’s move there now.
What is Native Marketing?
Native marketing or native advertising is the way in which paid ads appear in several types of medias maintaining the format of those medias, that is, the ads will match with the look, feel and function of the medias.
Native ads in most cases don’t really look like ads, they are not like traditional display or banner ads, which we can easily identify as advertisements. What’s really interesting about native ads is that it’s non-disruptive, and doesn’t mess with our concentration. It won’t stick out like a sore thumb, but will expose the reader to advertising content anyway.
Often in the times of browsing social media platforms or publication websites, posts with titles such as “Sponsored Posts”, “Recommended for You”, “Promoted Stories” appears in front of us, which are nothing but a daily life example of native marketing or advertising. However, it’s kind of hard to recognize these ads as actual ads since they will camouflage themselves into the media format in which they will appear.
Why Native Marketing is Getting Such a Buzz?
With time, it has been observed that users are getting more used to traditional advertising strategies day by day, making the banner/display ads far less effective. People are actually showing banner blindness and advertisement fatigue, and that’s the reason native marketing and advertising came into existence.
There’s no denying that user behavior is changing greatly and so native advertising is actually a necessity, that allows the marketeers to accommodate the changing behavior and show ads that look less like an ad, rather than just a typical type of banner ad that might just disrupt the UX.
Nowadays, most brands and publishers are considering native marketing and advertising for the following reasons:
- Native advertisements were seen 53% more than display ads.
- Native advertisements camouflage well with the ad container (websites/platforms where they appear), allowing the ad to be less disruptive and so people are less likely to be ignorant about these ads.
- Till date, two-third of original digital video (ODV) marketers have explored native marketing strategies.
- Native advertising can contribute to increase brand lift by as much as 82%.
- When consumers click on native ads instead of traditional ads, at that moment purchase intent gets upward upto 53%.
- Conversion can be boosted as much as 60% by native ads containing rich media.
Types of Native Marketing
Native advertising options are classified into six distinctive categories by the Interactive Advertising Board. They are:
- Content recommendation engine widgets
- Promoted listings
- Paid search ads
- In-feed units
- In-ad with native elements
- Custom ads
1. Content Recommendation Engine Widgets
When you are done reading an article online, sometimes you might have to encounter widgets with headings like “You May Also Like..” or “Recommended for You”, these widgets are what we call content recommendation engines and they contribute to allowing brands to leverage the audiences of notable publishers to drive traffic back to their own websites and contents.
The publishers who want to expand their audience and also the brands who want to use content marketing for lead generation-these two groups might think about native marketing advertising for meeting their purposes. But, as advertisers, you always have to keep in mind that the significant thing here is whether you are being able to make relationships with those specific publishers who can actually drive traffic back to your websites.
Revcontent, for example, operates a content recommendation engine for publishers’ networks, that includes- NBC NEWS, CBS Local, and Barstool Sports. CEO John Lemp says that if you want to have success by doing native marketing, you have got to create real partnerships between publishers and brands.
2. Promoted Listings
Basically the e-commerce sites are the top users of promoted listings, what they do for it is featuring sponsored products first, generally on a category page. Of course promoted listings will enable brands to get themselves in front of the line than the other competitors and another great thing about it is that, this type of native advertising is getting far costlier than it was before, day by day. Even sellers like eBay don’t even charge their customers for the promoted listing stuff unless they generate a sale.
3. Paid search Ads
There’s a great similarity between promoted listing and paid search ads. However, even though promoted listing lets the sponsored contents appear in the first line, paid search ads will do that for the listings in this case at the top of customer search results.
Foursquare’s promoted listing, for instance, will put advertisers’ ads at the top of a customer’s search results. In addition, they will analyze the searcher’s current location and previous preferences for certain businesses or restaurants, and promote businesses based on them.
4. In-Feed Units
In-feed units refers to the idea of the promotion of sponsored contents within a publication’s natural index of articles. In this case, readers will be able to see sponsored contents from the advertisers in addition to seeing original content being a part of a stream or gallery.
Even though the contents might be marked as sponsored contents, it will be blending into the publisher’s native experience.
5. In-ad with Native Elements
When brands will do this type of native marketing, the advertisements will be looking like a standard ad, however, there will be significant contextual relevance with the publisher itself. For example, we can think about a food brand that is currently promoting its own proprietary recipes on websites, publishing user-generated recipes as well.
6. Custom Ads
These types of native advertisements are hard to put in a particular category. Let’s try to explain it with an example. For instance, imagine creating a Pandora playlist for workout music. Now, Pandora might serve up ads for sports products or sports drinks in front of you, which you can call custom ads.
Components of Native Marketing
In a more generic way, a digital ad will be consisting of the following elements;
- Ad creative (image, video etc.)
- Body copy
- Landing page URL
- Branding (name, colours, logo etc.)
Native ads, being a variety of digital ads, will be having these elements within them for sure. But apart from these components laid out by by the IAB, native ads, taking the function and form of the container, will have another four, which are:
While designing the native advertisement, you must do it in such a way that the ad looks like a part of the website of its own, fits well within the overall interface and doesn’t look like standing out from the rest of the content.
Just to make sure that the ad blends well within the media format, you might want to ask a few questions to yourself like should it be positioned as a part of in-feed content ads, should it be placed in the content recommendation widget or should it be in a dedicated ad slot?
3. Ad Behavior
Don’t forget to analyze the ad behavior as well. When people click on the ads, some ads might take them on a different page of the website, while some will take them to a third-party site altogether.
Take a moment to evaluate how much the ad mentions its nature or if the publisher disclosed the fact if that’s an actual ad.
Native Marketing-Best Practices
Here are 5 best native advertising practices from the specialists:
1. Focusing on User Experience
When users are going to agree that their needs are being met and they are satisfied without doing any kind of extra hassle or trouble, only then it can be said that those users are having excellent user experience.
You will always have to remember that when people are visiting a content site, they don’t really want to see anything else other than content themselves. If your advertising is creating disruption for them, it’s not obviously going to provide a better user experience at all.
That’s why Mike Germano, Chief Digital Officer of VICE says that nativeads should be incorporated as a part of the reading experience of the platform user. Apart from being blended well with the site’s content, it should also be contextually related and relevant.
2. Transparent and Clear Disclosure
Native ads should always be distinguished from the rest of the content in the site. There must be ad labels included, like, Promoted, Sponsored, advertisements, Ad etc.
The Federal Trade Commission encourages publishers to clearly differentiate native ads from the editorial contents. You need to keep in mind that native ads are not only about being blended within the platform, but also complementing the content consumption experience.
3. Targeting Specific Audiences
Try to get close to your audience as much as possible. Unless you know what types of ad strategies fit best for them and how to craft the ads according to it, the users are not going to feel that you actually care for them. As a publisher, you would highly recommend using tools and analytics available to you, so that you can gather user data to determine your audience.
4. Partnering with Great Ad Networks
To drive higher engagement on the websites, you might want to think partnering with the following native marketing networks:
5. Thinking Mobile-First
While doing native marketing, don’t forget about your mobile audiences. You should ask yourself these questions:
- Is the content easily consumable on a mobile device?
- Can the content be easily shared across different social media sites?
- Is the content always on the go and handy as well?
- What is the load time of the content?
The way you do native advertising or native marketing might be creative as you want but it’s better to keep it away from legal issues and arguments. Just make sure that your audiences don’t feel like they are being fooled in this native marketing strategy and you are good to go.