Native advertising has been one of the most buzzed about marketing techniques in the past few years, and for good reason. Studies have shown marketers achieving amazing amount of success – so much so that the amount spent yearly on this type of advertising has been growing in the billions. But what exactly is native advertising, and how can you best make it work for you?
In the simplest of terms, native advertising is the paid placement of marketing material that has the look and format of the surrounding content (often editorial), allowing it to blend in seamlessly. Unlike content marketing, it is paid and exists outside of a brand’s own media. Native advertising will almost always be information based as opposed to a traditional ad in order to blend in successfully. It can be considered a subset of content marketing, and similarly, the information should be highly targeted and very useful to a specific audience. This target will, of course, be the major decider in where the ad is placed. By blending in this way, the information is delivered ‘in stream.’ This simply means that the consumer’s experience is not interrupted when switching between the surrounding content and the native advertisement. However, it is imperative that native ads are clearly labelled as such, with legal repercussions for those that fail to do so. Even with this requirement for transparency, native advertising remains uniquely effective. Their success is highest when they are placed on social media platforms, aggregated news sites and other platforms built around content.
WHY IS IT SO EFFECTIVE?
Despite the assumptions of some overzealous marketing pundits, native advertising will not be replacing content marketing or any other major marketing techniques. Rather, it possesses certain unique advantages that make it an excellent addition to any marketing strategy.
It’s An Attention Getter: As counterintuitive as it sounds, by blending in with the surrounding content native ads are more likely to get noticed. We have been programmed to tune out pushy advertising, so this content that resembles the content you are interested in is going to grab your attention as equally pertinent.
It’s Highly Shareable: Due to its presentation as valuable, authoritative content, customers are both more driven to share with their friends and influencers feel more comfortable sharing with their followers. These are both excellent amplifiers.
It’s Mobile Friendly: Whether presented as text links, promoted videos or editorial content, native advertising works well on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Sponsored social media posts are a popular form of native advertising, and become highly visible to customers on the go being featured prominently on their timelines or as new notifications. The reduce real-estate of mobile devices also lends itself well to the less obtrusive nature of native ads.
I Can Go Where Ads Can’t: As ad blockers become increasingly sophisticated, the chance that your paid conventional ad will never be seen by your audience grows. However, the nature of the native advertisement protects it from this type of filtering.
THE INDUSTRY LOVES NATIVE ADVERTISING
The numbers are clear – marketers love using this technique. Between 2013 and 2018, spending on native advertising in the U.S. is predicted to go from $4.7 billion to a staggering $21 billion. 90% of marketers that use the technique believe it can be used to build an audience, while a similar 88% say it can be used to drive action. The research seems to agree. Customers were found to be 25% more likely to look at a native ad than they were to look at a banner, while the level of engagement with native ads was noticed to be considerably superior to that of conventional advertising. Quite simply, if native advertising isn’t already part of your strategy, you should definitely make it one today!
Native advertising is an important aspect of your marketing plan. Contact a marketing consultant to fully understand how to incorporate native advertising into your strategy.
Shannon Prager is the President of Leadit Marketing. She is responsible for the daily operations and management of Leadit Marketing as well as the long term vision for the company.
A marketing leader with over 17 years of B2B demand generation and marketing experience, she understands the importance of a fully developed marketing strategy. Shannon’s background includes demand generation, marketing automation, social media and marketing operations. You can follow her on Twitter via: @LeaditMarketing