Native advertising refers to a form of paid media that is often used by content marketers. It involves placing paid advertising or content in a non-intrusive way within a feed; suggested Facebook posts or tweets that are promoted on Twitter, for example. This type of advertising corresponds with the function and the form of the platform that it appears on. In this article, we provide a more in-depth analysis of native advertising.
Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook newsfeed and saw a sponsored post for shoes, clothing, home décor or any other item? Have you seen this content, even though you haven’t “liked” the page that is linked to the post? If so, you have experienced native advertising.
Native advertising is a type of paid media content in which the experience of an advertisement fits in with the natural form and function of the platform the user is experiencing it on.
- Form. A native ad matches the visual layout of the platform that it is placed on, which gives it the look and feel of natural content within that platform.
- Function. A native ad acts with the same consistency as the user’s experience. In other words, it functions like any other natural content that a person would see on the platform the ad is displayed on.
Social media sites aren’t the only platforms that use native ads; the publishing industry also uses them. Some of the leading publishing companies, including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today all use native advertising on their websites. Just like the native ads that appear on social media sites, the native ads that are used on the websites of publishing companies also correspond with the form and function of their feeds.
The Goal of Native Advertising
Native advertising has two main objectives:
- Placing the image of a brand into the mind of a consumer. When consumers think about products they are interested in, native advertising brings to mind the image of a particular brand that will suit the individual’s needs.
- Leading consumers to take a specific action, such as purchasing a product.
How Does Native Advertising Work?
The process of native advertising is pretty simple and straightforward. It follows these basic steps:
- A piece of content, such as a blog post, or a URL for a piece of content, is placed into a generator that creates native ads. The ad generator creates a customized ad, which can have several variations, and those ads are designed to naturally fit into the form and function of different sites and different devices.
- An ad server than ad-serves the native ads.
- An advertiser pays a certain amount for the native advertisement. Usually, that amount is based on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis.
What are the Benefits of Native Advertising?
In a world that has become overly saturated with advertisements, consumers have become very aware. They can spot an advertisement instantly, and often, they avoid them as much as they possibly can. Add to that the fact that people often view the information that is presented in an ad with skepticism. They can’t help but wonder how factual the information presented in an ad is, as someone was paid to create the advertisement. In other words, the info in an ad may be misleading or inaccurate so as to convince a person to purchase the product or service that is being advertised.
Native advertising was specifically created to defeat both of these problems. Because native ads match the content that surrounds it, the marketing message is camouflaged to look and feel like it is actual editorial content. This, in turn, persuades people to click on the ads and complete the specified action that the ad encourages, or it allows consumers to commit a brand to memory so when they want to purchase something in the future, a particular brand comes to mind.
Here’s a more specific look at the benefits that are associated with native ads:
- They are visible. One of the biggest benefits of a native ad is that people actually see them. Unlike other forms of advertising that consumers can easily avoid, native ads are presented in a natural way on the platforms that people are already using. For example, when someone is scrolling through their newsfeed on Facebook, they will automatically see a native advertisement, which means that it is visible immediately and the user won’t overlook it.
- They’re viewed as editorial content. People look at native ads at a rate of 2 percent more than editorial content. They also spend the same amount of time viewing native ads as they spend viewing editorial content. As such, they better absorb the content that the ad presents.
- Improves mobile branding efforts. An estimated 97 percent of mobile media buyers have stated that native ads are a highly effective way to achieve their goals for branding.
- Better targeting. Since native ads are run only on platforms or newsfeeds where similar content is visible, people who are more likely to make a purchase are able to be targeted.
- Greater results. It has been found that native ads result in an 18 percent higher increase in the intent for consumers to purchase the products or services that the ads market than banner ads do. This is a notable difference that can have a direct impact on the overall success of a brand.
- It’s cost-effective. In comparison to banner ads and other types of display advertising, native ads are much more budget-friendly. This type of marketing has a lower entry barrier, which means that all types of businesses, including startups that have limited resources, can take advantage of them.
Disadvantages of Native Advertising
Despite the numerous benefits that are associated with native advertising, there are some disadvantages, too. Some of the cons of this type of advertising include:
- It can appear deceptive. A lot of people who utilize native advertising incorporate tricky and deceptive headlines. Those headlines can encourage consumers to click on the ads, as they believe that they will be lead to whatever is described, but in reality, they are directed to something completely different than they expected. This not only makes consumers unhappy, but it also makes it difficult for those who use proper headlines with their native ads to attain success with this method of marketing.
- Viewed as unethical. A lot people believe native advertising is an unethical practice. That’s because of the dishonest of some advertisers and the misleading headlines that they use. When something seems unethical, there can be a significant negative impact in terms of efficacy.
- Search engines may penalize. Some search engines, such as Google, may penalize those publishers who use native ads on their pages. These penalties can include a decrease in page ranking. However, it should be noted that search engines, including Google, are starting to understand the benefits of native advertising, especially when it is done properly.
Tips for Effective Native Advertising
If you are considering taking advantage of native advertising, you are probably wondering how to make it work for you. Here’s a look at some handy tips that will improve your success:
- Tell a story. A good narrative is a must. From books to movies, people love a good story, and this includes native advertising, too. Create a captivating story or as questions that will intrigue your audience. Shape your advertisement or content so that it relates to the story you want to tell, and then tell that story. Make sure to include a beginning, a middle and an end so that it unfolds properly.
- Find the right formula. While variety is a good thing, consistency is even better when it comes to native advertising. If you find a formula that works for your audience, stick with it. Examples of formulas that work for native advertising include top (insert number) lists and case studies. If it works for your audience, don’t feel worry about being repetitive. The bottom line is this: if it works, it works.
- Strike the right balance. Make sure there’s a nice balance between promotional and informative content. Keep your audience in mind when determining the right balance between the two.
Summing It Up
Native advertising has been proven to be a highly effective form of marketing. The key to success is remembering that you need to do it properly. Keep the tips mentioned above in mind and you should find that native advertising is an extremely beneficial tactic for your marketing efforts. This form of advertising could turn out to be one of your most effective strategies yet.