With constant changes in the digital marketing world, you could be forgiven for thinking that ‘native advertising’ is just the latest online marketing buzzword. In fact, native advertising can actually be an excellent way of using content ‘ads’ to build trust and engagement with potential customers.
So what is native advertising?
Native advertising is all about inserting high quality content into environments where potential customers are already in their comfort zone. Native advertising blends in with the platform it appears on, doesn’t negatively interfere with the user experience, and is quite different to traditional leaderboard or skyscraper-style ad units in that ads are part of the flow of editorial content.
Native advertisements can come in various formats, including recommendation widgets, article-like ads that have been embedded into websites, or in-feed ads. A native ad might be placed on a blog to capture the attention of loyal readers, on a news site like The Australian, or even on LinkedIn. It might be a promoted tweet or suggested post on Facebook.
Does native advertising work?
Native ads can be very effective. US research conducted by IPG Media Lab found that native ads are viewed for the same length of time as editorial content, and that native ads are much more likely to be shared than banner ads.
The Huffington Post and The New York Times are prime examples of native advertising success. The Wall Street Journal reported that 30% of the Huffington Post’s revenue comes from native ads and other branded content, while native ads accounted for around 10% of The New York Times’ digital ad revenue in 2014.
Advantages over other ads
Native advertising can be used on any platform or device, and can help extend your marketing reach in ways other ads simply can’t achieve. Great content in the form of ads has the potential to go viral and be shared for example, which just isn’t possible with banner ads.
Native advertising can also help combat what is known as ‘banner blindness’, which has been developed by many consumers after years of experiencing avalanches of ads as they browse the web – ads that are not relevant or targeted to them. In contrast, native advertising allows ads to be less intrusive, and useful to the audience rather than just being sales-focused.
Native ads that are informative, entertaining, relevant to the audience and sharable can boost your digital ad revenue and your marketing reach, and help you engage with your customers.