Hidden in plain sight, native ads aren’t a new way to attract consumers. However, they’re becoming a more powerful force than ever in the age of digital marketing. If your company isn’t already jumping on the native advertising trend, you’ll want to leap into action soon. Otherwise, your brand could lose online visibility, lead generation potential, and sales.
As of this year, native advertising is estimated to land at around the $97 billion mark. What drives its popularity is its ability to capture viewer attention without causing friction. Because native ads are designed to blend into the aesthetic of a site, they cause no interruption in the user experience. Even though they’re clearly marked as advertisements with words like “sponsored” or “promoted”, they’re not seen as intrusions. The same can’t be said for banner ads or pop-ups.
This isn’t to suggest that users are fooled by native ads. They’re not. But they’re not irritated by them, either. They accept their presence and will “take the bait” if the ads correspond with the content around them. And user acceptance is just one of many reasons to prioritize native advertising for your business.
1. Native advertising allows your creatives to be creative.
One of the highlights of native advertising is that it can come in a variety of forms. Think stories, videos, promoted listings. The possibilities are endless and expanding, which should appeal to the creators within your marketing department.
As AI-driven native advertising platform Nativo explains, native ads can foster engagement through innovative delivery. They’re less constricted by limited formats, making them the ideal vehicles to deliver both relevant and rewarding content. With native advertising, Nativo illustrates that you can go deeper into specific subjects and align your brand with consumers’ interests.
There’s an old saying that people hate to be sold but love to buy. Native advertising gives your people the chance to apply their creativity in fresh ways without putting on the “hard sell.”
2. Native advertising lets you connect with consumers when their interest is strong.
Third-party cookies are going away. Some sites have already banned them. With native ads, you don’t need third-party data to build bonds with target audiences. You just need to develop advertising content that leads those audiences to your preferred landing pages.
For example, let’s say you sell pet products. Your job would be to construct an explainer video, infographic, or other piece of content with an eye-catching title and photo. Then, your brand could bid to have your native ad shown next to content containing specific keywords. In this case, a keyword might be “raising kittens”.
Let’s say you ended up with your ad placed under an article on how to raise kittens to be lap cats. Some readers scanning the article would be attracted by your ad thanks to its topic. When they clicked on the ad, they would move from the publishing site to your site. From there, you could offer them the valuable content you promised as well as your preferred call-to-action. It’s a seamless, effective way to move someone out of the “prospect” and into the “lead” category.
3. Native advertising is being offered by more publishers.
Your business isn’t the only beneficiary of native advertising. Publishing platforms gain a serious advantage when they offer native advertising placements, too. For this reason, you’re seeing native ads all over the Internet, including on high-ranking sites like The New York Times.
You’ll have to increase your maximum bid to nab a spot on premier media sites. Nevertheless, for the right reason, it could be a lucrative move. Even if you’re a known thought leader in your industry, you might not be able to author an article for the Wall Street Journal. Yet if WSJ readers represent your go-to audience, you can use native advertising to attract their eyes.
As a side note, don’t despair if a site doesn’t offer native advertising right now. Many publishers are getting into the native advertising scene. They’re realizing that by selling small bits of “native” space, they can increase their advertising profits without hurting their customer relations.
4. Native advertising works as part of a cohesive, robust marketing strategy.
Most companies dabble in multiple advertising strategies over the course of a year. These can include everything from podcasting to partnering with influencers. Native advertising can work well alongside any advertising strategy and become part of an overarching marketing plan.
Remember that most consumers require roughly eight touchpoints before they make a purchasing decision. Your team’s role is to identify what those touchpoints are likely to be along the journey. A native ad can be any of those touchpoints from the first to the last.
For reporting purposes, be sure to leverage data collection tools to determine how your native ads are performing as a touchpoint. Some good starting KPIs include click-through rates, cost-per-action rates, and conversion rates. You can add other metrics as desired to know which native ads are performing optimally and which may require a few tweaks.
Native advertisements are the chameleons of the digital marketing world. Though they’re branded assets for you, they appear as value-added features for online consumers. This makes them an essential tool to try as you build out your marketing plans for the next year.
Featured image provided by cottonbro studio; Pexels; Thanks!
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