The increasing use of ad blockers means online advertisers are having to find new and more creative ways to get their adverts noticed on third party websites. This has resulted in a surge in native advertising.
Unlike banner ads, native ads offer a higher lift in brand favourability and purchase intent. People are more likely to look at native ads than banners, but they also engage with native ads as much as they do with original content on a publisher’s site. As many of you know, native ads resembles the original content already in place on the publisher’s website, but is in fact paid for by an advertiser trying to either raise brand awareness and/or promote a product or service.
In addition to increasing revenue for an advertiser, native ads are also a great revenue stream for online publishers.
So, you have a great product or service. But how can you increase leads and sales with native advertising? In this post, I will discuss eight points that will help you to run a successful native advertising campaign, with the intention of increasing leads.
1. Choose the Right Native Advertising Channel
Before you start, it is essential to identify where you would like your native advertisements to appear. Research the online publications’ websites you would like to appear on and identify whether native advertising is an option and what costs are involved.
Remember to think about the site where your target audience is likely to be active, if you’re not placing your content in front of the right people, then you will see little return and your efforts will be wasted.
2. Tell a Story
You’ve decided which channels you’d like to be placed on, now you need to create your content. The main thing to remember is not to brag about who you are and what you do. Although the intention is to drive traffic to your site, native advertising content is not an extension of a press release.
Use your advertising spot to tell a story and deliver value. Leave the promotion to the end with a single, powerful call to action. This approach is more likely to generate better engagement.
A great example of how this can be done is this paid post by Netflix in The New York Times, promoting the launch of season two of Orange is the New Black. The article is actually more of an in-depth report discussing the issues women face in prison, which are reflected in the show. The call to action to watch the show itself comes at the very end of the post.
3. Include a Call to Action
This point is a given, but if you don’t include a call to action, how do you expect people to get to your website and more importantly make an enquiry, or purchase?
Your CTA could be as basic as directing people to your website. Alternatively, you could add more value by encouraging people to sign up for a free demo or download a free fact sheet, calendar, or some other giveaway.
4. Be Ready for the Traffic
Whatever your conversion goal is, whether it be a lead, sign-up or a sale, it’s vital that your webpages are working as hard as possible. You need to ensure that the design and copy on the page is optimised to attract your target user’s attention to the right places.
5. Be Consistent with Your Brand and Customer Vision
What is your brand identity and vision? What is important to your audience? Focus on these objectives by creating content that aligns with them.
Although this piece of native content that Puma has created with Refinery29 is a touch ad heavy, it aligns with their brand values of fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. The article itself includes a workout plan and step-by-step exercise guides.
The placement with Refinery29 works particularly well because they want to give their audience content that helps them live independent, stylish and informed lives. This is exactly the audience that Puma should be trying to target because they are more likely to engage with their brand.
6. Don’t Disrupt the Existing User Experience
Consumers can spot advertising a mile off, so you need to ensure that your native advertising content blends in with the organic content on the publisher’s site and doesn’t look obviously paid for.
A great example of this are the native advertising campaigns by Captain Morgan on Buzzfeed. Capitalising on Buzzfeed’s love of listicle style articles, they have created a number of listicles that subtly encourage Buzzfeed readers to subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Below are two of my favourites (click on the photo to see the full article). They show how Captain Morgan have created content that fits in with the publisher’s existing content, tells a story and keeps in line with their brand and customer vision.
You can even go beyond this by not just matching the publisher’s content, but enhancing it to make it even better.
7. Have Patience
Don’t expect results from your first post, or even your second one. Like with all online marketing activities, results can take time, so don’t expect miracles from the first piece of content that you write.
It’s important to always be testing your ad creatives and content. You should just launch some ads and wait.
Repetition is key and people need to regularly see your stuff before they start to pay attention to it. Your native advertising content could therefore be a series of videos, articles, or a list approach like Captain Morgan’s. The first few may yield little or no results, but they will eventually pay off.
With this in mind, remember these three points when creating your native advertising content:
• Keep it short
• Strong call to action
• Do it again and again
8. Find a Formula That Works… And Stick To It
You know how the saying goes – if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. And the same goes for native advertising. If you find a style of content that works for you stick with it.
To conclude, native advertising is an excellent tool, but all the digital spend in the world won’t help brands connect with consumers if it’s poorly executed. Follow the tips outlined above and you will hopefully be better placed to connect and engage with your target audiences. Don’t forget to make sure the content matches both the character of your company and the sensibilities of your consumers. If you can find that sweet spot, your native advertising spend will yield the very best results.
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Photo credit: Braden Collum/Unsplash