What Is Native Advertising? Your Guide

Did you know that consumers are 20% to 60% more likely to interact with a native ad than a standard banner? Furthermore, native ad headlines get 308 times more consumer attention than an image or banner. By all marketing measures, native advertising is the future. Companies not doing it are leaving themselves at a big disadvantage. 

Are you considering native ads for your next campaign? We’ve compiled this guide to native advertising that should answer all of your questions about what it is and how it can help your company. 

What Is Native Advertising?

It’s possible you’ve scrolled past native advertising and never realized it. Native advertising is branded content in an editorial format that focuses on the educational, informative, or media value for an audience. 

Simply put, this type of advertising matches the rest of the editorial content on digital or printed publications.  

Many internet users have started ignoring the flashier banner ads or pop-ups being used by websites. Native advertising is a solution to this issue because it doesn’t disrupt natural content consumption. It also focuses more on storytelling. 

The concept of native advertising actually started in the early 1900s where companies could expand on a news story with advertorial content. Over the next century, many companies produced radio programs or infomercials to advertise products. 

Although the idea of native advertising isn’t new, the internet has made it easier than ever to have your native content appear on multiple websites. 

Does Native Advertising Work?

Native advertising is effective because it draws on the credibility and authority of the publication. Consumers are already reading a publication because they trust it and enjoy it. And trust is everything in advertising. 

This type of advertising is not a passing fad. In fact, native advertising now makes up 60% of the market and is valued at $32.9 billion. Why is it so popular? Because it works.

In one 2015 marketing study, a large majority of participants identified native ads as news articles. Around 80% of The Wall Street Journal readers couldn’t tell the difference, as well as 71% of The New York Times readers and 65% of Forbes readers. Keep in mind that these readers are well-educated professionals.

Large newspapers have taken advertising hits over the last two decades. Staff and editorial content have been cut. Professional journalists are wary of native advertising, but it’s an effective way to engage readers and increase ad revenue. 

The only caveat to using native advertising is that you need to make sure you’re doing it responsibly to avoid tricking readers. Making them angry is a guaranteed way to stop them from learning more about your products or services. Or, worse yet, making a purchase. But we’ll discuss more on how to do native advertising below. 

Where Can Native Advertising Appear?

New technology has made it possible for native advertising to appear in a variety of places. There are six distinct markets for your native ads:

  1. In-feed units: These are paid placements appearing in your social media feed or on a publisher’s website
  2. Paid search units: Native ads at the top of search results and resemble organic search results 
  3. Recommendation widgets: Small ads seen at the side of a web page or end of an article that recommend other content you may like 
  4. Promoted listings: Products or services that are promoted on websites when you’re online shopping 
  5. Display ad with native elements: This is a hybrid between native ad and display ad, where the design matches the publishing website
  6. Custom: New types of native ads like Snapchat filters are pushing the boundaries of what can be done with new technology

Native advertising has come a long way since the advertorial content of the last century. It will continue to evolve into the future as people find new methods for consuming information. 

Expect to see more native advertising opportunities on social media, mobile devices, and across video advertisements. 

Native Advertising Tips for First-Timers 

Now that you understand the types of advertising, let’s discuss how to use native advertising. We want to provide some tips for companies taking their first leap. 

As with any advertising campaign, you want to determine your key performance indicators (KPI) in the beginning. Rather than just creating nice content, decide if you want it to increase traffic, improve brand awareness, or increase sales. 

Research the audience you’re trying to reach by finding their interests, age, location, gender, or devices used. This can all be used to optimize native advertising. Don’t forget to include a strong call-to-action (CTA) and test out all of your content before going live. 

The holidays are a great time to launch new advertising campaigns. Most people are shopping online for gifts. Unroll your holiday ads around Black Friday and keep them going strong throughout the season. Trillions of dollars will be spent this season and you don’t want to be left out. 

One point we mentioned earlier is about not tricking your consumers. When running native ads you want to be as transparent as possible. Most publishers will run a “submitted by” or “paid for by” tag in place of a traditional by-line. Your messaging should also be honest and consistent. 

You’ll still get the attention you’re looking for by being transparent, you just won’t risk the possibility of angering someone who feels tricked. This could be damaging to your overall brand. 

Ready To Start Using Native Ads?

If you’ve never done native advertising before, now is a great time to start. As you can see in this article it’s highly effective in getting your message across without jarring consumers. It also provides you with unique ways to reach people with new technology. 

Before beginning a campaign make sure you determine KPI, research your audience, and upload high-quality content that is honest and transparent. Follow these tips and your digital marketing will soar through the new year. 

Need help setting up your first native advertising campaign? Sign up for RevContent to get started. We’re the #1 fastest growing native network in the world. We can help you generate more revenue, faster. 

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