Native ads

If you want your target audience to consume your content, serve it to them via their preferred channels in a format that is in keeping with those channels.

You can’t create engaging content without first having a good idea of where it’s going to be published. For example, if you’re creating content that’s going to appear in The Guardian newspaper, you can afford to be fairly liberal in your use of language. However, if you’re creating something for The Sun, you will need to be a little stricter in your choice of words.

Fairly commonsensical stuff, although you still see some brands who make posts on social media which fail to play to its strengths.

However, when it comes to native advertising, it’s all about ensuring content matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears. By creating content that sits comfortably alongside the publisher’s own content, brands can expect to generate more engagement and drive more sales from native advertising, compared to more traditional advertising.

Why go native?

We keep coming back to this particular study: TrackMaven’s 2016 report found that brands had increased their content production by more than a third (35%) per channel, but saw engagement decrease by 17%.

It suggests that return on investment (ROI) is dwindling as consumers grow tired of interruptive ads and sponsored content disrupting their online experience.

Native ads allow brands to promote their product or service in the non-interruptive way that consumers crave.

The publication in which your content is appearing will be required to make it known somehow that you’ve paid for that privilege, but this will be fairly subtle – usually it’s just labelled as ‘Sponsored’ somewhere on the page.

If you can align your native ads with the channels your target audience hold in high regard and regularly visit, you will be rewarded not only by solid engagement and ROI, but credibility, trust and brand awareness.

Examples of native ads

Native ads come in many guises – any piece of paid-for content that has been created to blend into the channel on which it is appearing can be defined as native ad. For example:

  • Promoted article on a news site
  • Sponsored social media post
  • Video made for a lifestyle website
  • Recipe created for a food website
  • Fitness tips presented in a health magazine

Doing it right

Effective native ads offer readers genuine value, rather than just make up the numbers. Therefore, the quality of the content you create needs to be high so that it can comfortably sit alongside the rest of the publication’s content.

You need to make readers feel like it’s been worthwhile taking the time to view your content, even after they’ve realised that it hasn’t been created by the hosting publisher.

If you can do that, the publication’s readers – your target audience – will be more likely to make their way to your brand website, in search of more insights.

Getting started

The final two paras should now read: With your budget in mind, search out the channels that your target audience spend their time on and see what native advertising opportunities they offer. Remember, the key to effective distribution is to align your methods with your customers’ behaviours.

Once you’ve come up with a plan on which channels to target, you’re going to need to think about creating some high-quality content to make the investment worthwhile. You know where we are!