Although this form of advertising has been an underground medium for quite some time, the concept was only formally introduced at the OMMA Global Conference last September.
Native advertising is essentially integrated content marketing that seamlessly fits the mold of the user’s online experience. In other words, it’s deceiving as hell.
Whether you want to implement native advertising in your own advertising campaigns or simply bring it up at your next book club meeting, we have broken down the three main examples of native advertising to help you understand what they are and how they can benefit your business
According to an Adroll analysis, native advertisements located in a Facebook user’s news feed has a 49-times higher click-through rate than the rate of ads situated on the right sidebar.
If you want to jump on the native advertising bandwagon, the key to your campaign is quality content. If users are 52% more likely to click on your native advertising ad than a banner ad, give them the good stuff. There’s a reason why users don’t click on banner ads – they’re gimmicky and super aggravating.
If you plug in anything on Google (let’s take the term “Zac Brown Band concert tickets” for example), you will get about 1.4 million more search results than you actually need.
More often than not, the first few search results will always be paid search units (disclaimer: does not hold true for the search term “beanie babies” on the account of who in their right mind buys those anymore). These endorsed links have become so integrated in our search experience, they hardly seem like advertisements anymore.
Although Google will never sneak paid search units into its organic results, a link will have a small orange block labeled “ad” if it was a function of paid placement. Although Google users are more likely to sift through organic results in their day-to-day enterprises, users tend to find more use in sponsored links for potential product purchases.
A famous piece of controversial sponsored content was the Atlantic’s “advertorial” extolling the organization’s leader David Miscavige. Readers began to recognize that the piece was not true editorial content, but a lengthy advertisement pumping up the Church of Scientology (although I’m sure Tom Cruise loved it).
Although the publication labeled the piece as sponsored content, the Atlantic’s ultimate downfall came when the publication censored readers’ comments to portray the church in a positive manner. The Atlantic’s editorial blunder shows that the crucial components of paid inclusion are full disclosure and transparency. Sponsored content can be highly beneficial to a brand if presented in the most optimal manner.
Now that you’re probably starting to realize that you’ve been duped by various forms of native advertising more times than you’d like to admit, let’s take a look at a few more examples:
Internet users have long disdained “interruptive” advertising (i.e. your popups and your banner ads). If you can provide quality content via advertorial, then readers will begin to view your brand as a resource and not another poorly executed advertising stunt. But always remember the importance of TDT: transparency, disclosure, and trust. In the example above, the article appears to be editorial content, but the faded text located under the byline indicates otherwise.
The main components of an effective advertorial are identical formatting to other articles the publication (i.e. a headline, byline, relevant photos), a hook (just because you’re crafting an elongated advertisement does not mean you can slack on the entertainment factor!), and a subtle call-to-action. The blurb above creates a sense of urgency by encouraging readers to check out the Forza film before purchasing the associated video game.
Promoted Tweets give businesses the opportunity to promote brand recognition through primary engagement and secondary retweets. Twitter claims that Promoted Tweets will engage 3-5% of users, but certain campaigns gain a lot more notoriety. During its Valentine’s Day promotion featuring heart-shaped pies, Papa John’s had a 34% Tweet engagement!
Acme’s online ad in Elle Magazine is an example of paid inclusion. The ad acts as a natural extension of the brand and by appearing on Elle’s website, the content is extremely relevant to the user’s experience. When it comes to sponsored online ads, make sure your ad links back to your website. Although public recognition in a publication like Elle will always merit a gold star, the key is driving inbound traffic to your page.
Let us know what your take is on native advertising in the comments below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.