As content becomes more and more powerful and effective, the lines are becoming blurred between advertising and editorial material. Paid marketing content that looks and feels like the “real” thing, i.e. journalistic material, a feature article or a scientific report, is called native advertising because it appears “native” to the channel through which it’s delivered. It naturally follows the form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. Trickery. Well maybe, but It actually offers a range of benefits for both the publisher and the reader.
#1: Gives You Greater Control
Marketers are seldom able to determine precisely who will see their ads and when. Sure, some channels give you better audience targeting options than others, but that only means control over who the ads are served to, not who actually sees them. With native advertising, you can deliberately place content into a location where you can strongly expect it to be seen by the audience consuming that media.
#2: Generates Better Engagement Potential
Let’s face it, nobody shares advertising material. Well, almost nobody. What people do share is content of interest that is engaging, informative and relevant. Good native advertising content never looks like an advertisement, and if it’s properly targeted and delivered, the audience will be happy to treat it like standard content.
The real kicker, however, is that good native advertising is data-driven. Why you apply contextual and behavioral data to your segmentation and ad buying strategies, you increase relevance and value for your audience, which improves engagement.
#3: Is Ad-Blocker Agnostic
Internet users have been finding ways to block ads for years, from the 1990s when banners were introduced, through innumerable moving, flashing iterations. Statistics show up to 30% of users are expected to block ads on connected devices by the end of 2018, but native advertising is unobtrusive. It appears like standard content, doesn’t disrupt users’ experiences, and aims to provide information of interest about a product or service. As users grow more unforgiving of ads breaking into their viewing and browsing time, native is a great way to reach your audience without irritating them.
#4: Offers Seamless Integration
Native advertising options have become so seamless that only the experts often know where content ends and advertising begins. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) identifies several types of native ads, which each have their own formats and advantages:
- In-feed units, which are sponsored posts that turn up in users’ social media feeds, or on publishing sites like Forbes. They appear in line with related posts and articles, based on keywords.
- Recommended or related content, which appears alongside or below articles and guides readers to “take the next click.”
- Promoted listings, like the ones that show up on Amazon when you’re looking at similar products.
- Display ads with contextually-relevant native elements, placed within publisher content.
There are also custom native ad formats that, while they are paid media, fit into the user experience so smoothly the viewer is unaware that they aren’t standard content.
#5: Programmatic Makes it Easy
So native advertising sounds great, but how complex is it to manage all the nuances involved? Fortunately, programmatic advertising principles make running native ads easy. You can match your prospects’ interests to the right content and generate higher brand engagement by delivering targeted native ads in real time. The flexible format of native advertising works with a range of channels, irrespective of the type of campaign you’re running. And by managing your native ads programmatically, you have the option to scale campaigns anytime you need to, because you can work with multiple partners at one time. This gives you enormous reach via premium publishers, all from your dashboard.
Not too long ago, marketing commenters were scorning the native advertising option. Now, forecasts predict it will comprise almost a third of the entire global ad spend by 2020. A native advertising strategy isn’t an instant miracle cure, though. It requires a clear understanding of how programmatic advertising works, solid matching of your audiences with relevant data points, and a team who can produce compelling, creative content for your target segments. It also takes access to reliable data and expertise to apply it, or you’ll be less than effective and your efforts will come across as less than credible.