A Guide To Native Advertising

Native Advertising

If you’re completely new to native advertising, you may want to view our basic native advertising guide slideshow first.

What Is Native Advertising?

Native advertising has been around for many years, but the advance of social media platforms, blogs, and other media platforms has seen more and more businesses embark on native ad campaigns.

Many of those businesses may not even realise that their sponsored posts and advertorials are indeed native ads (more here), but if you pay to have your media included on another site, and that media fits in with the existing, native content of the site, then you are almost certainly trying your hand at native advertising.

Types Of Native Ad

Any form of media can be converted into native advertising, whether it is text like blog posts or articles, or whether it is other forms of media such as video, audio, or images. Advertorials will typically include two or more forms of media to provide the richest experience possible; the type of experience that readers or viewers will genuinely love.

  • Advertorials – advertorial blends the words advertisement and editorial. Rather than being pure or hard sales copy, an advertorial will provide information and guidance on a particular topic. These are written in the house style of the site that will publish the piece. Readers will recognise the piece as being an advert, of sorts, and you shouldn’t try to hide this fact but provide lots of good quality information, tips, guides, and, of course, a couple of links to your website.
  • Sponsored Content – Sponsored content can take many different forms, but among some of the best known and widely regarded are sponsored blog posts and sponsored videos. Typically, these may appear as part of a sponsored content list, sometimes given a title like “More from around the web…”. The content should follow house style and some publishers may offer a bio section.
  • Product Placement – Product placement isn’t that common on the web, but you can view some forms of blogger outreach as such. A company sends out a product to an authoritative blogger, who then uses the product and writes a review that they publish on their own blog. This takes native advertising one step further, in some respects, and you will need to have absolute faith in the product or service that you send, because most reviewers will provide and publish an honest assessment.
  • In-Feed Ads – Many a social media platform offers updates and relevant news to its users in the shape of a feed. Facebook offers news from a user’s network, and Twitter offers a timeline of Tweets. In-feed ads are native advertisements that are labelled as sponsored and then placed in a given position within peoples’ feeds. You can typically determine the demographics and preferences of who will, and who will not see these ads.

Is It Successful?

Different companies have enjoyed differing levels of success with this type of advertising, and it is true that some experimentation and optimisation may well be required in order to ensure that you enjoy positive results. However, there is no doubting that the potential for success certainly exists.

A report by Sharethrough and IPG Media Lab, conducted in May 2013, showed that 25% of consumers saw native ads, comparing favourably to 20% that saw banner advertisements. This means that native advertising could prove more effective than displaying your visual ads on the Google network.

Native Advertising GuideBenefits Of Native Ads

There are some that view native advertising as evil. They believe that those partaking in the practice are essentially attempting to hoodwink and fool the user into reading their adverts. However, on the whole, native advertising is seen as being less invasive and offensive than other forms of advertising, such as the pre-roll video ad or the pop-up ad.

Whether you view this particular form of advertising as evil or not, the fact remains that native advertising can enable you to build your brand, increase engagement with your target market, and expose your business to a market that would not otherwise have seen it. What’s more, despite what critics say, many people trust the websites that they bookmark and even though they probably recognise native ads as ads, they still place more trust in the content because a site that they trust has linked to it.

7 Tips For Better Native Advertising

As with any form of advertising or marketing, technique is key to the level of success that you will enjoy. If you can create beneficial, useful, informative, shareable, and engaging content that fits perfectly with the voice of the site that will publish it, and if that content is targeted to the readers of that site, then you are likely to enjoy success from your native ad campaign.

  1. Choose Your Platform Wisely – Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, Forbes, and even the New York Times offer some form of native advertising to their users, and there are many, many other platforms, as well as independent blogs and websites that offer something similar. There is a lot of difference between some of these sites, so the first step is to ensure that you choose your platform wisely. If you own an ecommerce site, then a sponsored Pinterest campaign is likely to be more effective than a LinkedIn campaign. Don’t be afraid to diversify a little, but bear in mind that you do have a targeted buyer persona, and you should be identifying the places that that persona is most likely to frequent.
  2. Master The Voice – Once you’ve chosen the platform or site on which you intend to place your content, it’s important that you master the voice of that site. Native advertising needs to seem native to work well. More importantly, readers of the site in question obviously like the type of narrative that is provided on the site. Read a few posts, watch some videos, and really get to grips with the house style.
  3. Native Advertising Isn’t A Press Release Or Directory Listing – Native advertising should not be viewed as a means of publishing a press release about your company, especially when you are looking to publish advertorials. The voice should fit with the narrative style of the site that you publish to, and it should provide information, answer a question, or offer insight, rather than act as a page of sales copy.
  4. Tell A Story – The more engaged the reader, or viewer, becomes, the greater the benefits you will enjoy from your ads. Get as involved as possible, and really tell a story to help set the scene, paint a picture, and build a background. The more a person can relate to the information you provide, the more likely they will be to follow any link or remember your brand and your name.
  5. Repeat… Again – Sponsored content is often used as a means of building a brand, and not always to directly drive visitors. As such, a single post, no matter how well composed and no matter how authoritative the site on which it appears, is unlikely to give you the best possible results. Consider native advertising a form of ongoing marketing and repeat the process regularly to get the best possible returns for your investment of time and money.
  6. Brand – As a branding tool, it is obviously important that you include branding within the content that you produce. Whether you create a video, a blog post, or any other form of content, do ensure that you include brief details about your brand, while being careful not to step over the fine line between branding and sales copy. If following a site’s house style requires that you step too far away from your own brand style, then look elsewhere for somewhere to publish your content.
  7. Don’t Try And Fool Readers – For the most part, readers aren’t stupid, so don’t assume that they are. The majority of people will know fairly quickly that your advertorial or sponsored content piece is sponsored, and the vast majority won’t mind as long as you are providing decent quality. Don’t attempt to fool potential readers into thinking that your content was created by the site on which it appears, especially because most will include tags like Sponsored Content next to your ad.

Your Native Advertising Campaign

Pretty much all of the major social media platforms offer sponsored advertising features, and a very broad definition of native ads would also include the PPC ad blocks that appear at the top and side of search engine listings. Popular blogs, news sites, video feeds, and countless other websites also offer a sponsored content feature, so there is certainly no shortage of places to publish your sponsored content. The key is to find the most relevant, most targeted, and best quality sites on which to publish your top notch content.

Professional writers from Branding Media will study the tone and house style of the site on which you want to publish, and we ill create a high quality post, article, or other piece of content. We will even take over discussions with the publisher to ensure that we provide a piece that exactly meets their needs, your needs, and the desires of your potential clients. Contact us today to discuss how we can help transform your native advertising campaigns.

NATIVE ADVERTISING FAQ

Matt Jackson

Matt Jackson is a professional content, article, and news writer with nearly 10 years' experience writing for individual websites and agencies. Enjoy high quality content for your site or follow his work at brandingmedia.co.uk.

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