There’s no doubt that Native Advertising is the new way to grow a successful business, be it an online business or brick and mortar business.
In a report documented by Business insider, it was stated, “By 2021, Native ads will drive 74% of all ad revenue which is consistent with the findings of the Native Advertising Institute and INMA in their report.
This is contrary to the investments in banner display ads, which are dropping because of the fact that the click-through rates are dismal compared to the investment in running such ads.
However, for native advertising to work you must be armed with the right strategies and make sure you revamp your native advertising and combine different types of native advertising to get the results you want.
Let’s dive straight in into my suggestions for seven ways to revamp your native advertising.
1. Promoted videos
In-feed native videos on social media platforms like Facebook or on publisher websites creates more engagement. As much as 40% of users that click to watch an In-Feed video go on to click on the landing page, according to a report by Bidtellect.
Some companies do manage to get a lot of shares for their branded videos even though they are naturally clearly marked as ‘sponsored post’.
Back in 2015 the jewellery company ‘Pandora’ released the video ‘The Unique Connection’ which has more than 18 million views and got mentions on websites around the world such as Huffington Post.
However, branded video needs just as much thought as any other type of native advertising, if not more. You need to plan on what content you want to deliver to your target audience in cooperation with the publisher or the agency of your choice. Be aware that video content on social media platforms in general need not to be too long and that users generally watch it with the sound switched off.
The agency or publisher that you work with might be able to help you with a distribution strategy for your paid branded video. Remember that it can include much more than a publisher’s own channels. You can include programmatic, YouTube, Vimeo and Tumblr and a number of other social media platforms if it suits your campaign.
One thing is especially important to keep in mind before the production phase of your branded videos begin. The process is typically more costly than the production of text, so you need to map out your budgets and how much you will spend on each of the networks you are planning to use.
2. Promoted images
A picture is definitely worth a thousand words. Top brands maximise promoted images as a way of showcasing their products in a way that attracts their target audience. Have you seen the memes and pictures that fly across the net? They are all a means to an end for the brands who posted them.
However there’s lots of different pitfalls when it comes to promoted images. Always make sure to check out what different social media platforms such as Facebook require regarding how much text is allowed on a photo, the optimal image size etc. Or make sure that the publisher or the agency you work with is on top of this.
3. Promoted content
Let me guess, you have heard the rants about promoted content being “spammy”? And you might also have heard how companies like Outbrain which offer recommendation widgets oppose to the criticism?
This method of advertisement got popularised by the now defunct media outlet Gawker back in 2009. Promoted content which are also sometimes called sponsored posts are not different from the usual articles you might be responsible for publishing on the blog of your company as content marketing. The goal is still to create content that’s entertaining, solves a problem for the user or adds value in other ways.
In order to create scale for your native advertising rather than tying it to a single publisher, promoted content can be an efficient strategy for you. However, for the content to fit several different websites and audiences it will most likely have to be less ‘on target’ and a bit more generic.
4. Sponsored listings
Perhaps you’re not interested in creating videos, images, or sponsored posts. Then sponsored listings comes in pretty handy for you. Sponsored listings or paid ads are presented in such a way that they match the look and feel of the products or services consumers are already searching or shopping for.
For instance, if you visit Amazon to search for online business, a sponsored link offering you a discount on a guide to start and run a successful online business would appear near the search results, but this link would take you to an external website where you would buy the product.
5. Create Challenges
An awesome and original way to revamp your native advertising is to create a 30-Days Challenge – or any number of days you wish.
Of course that type of native advertising is not right for all brands. When Puma did it with Refinery29.com, an online lifestyle magazine for young women, it was a perfect example of offering value to a target audience, while promoting a brand and associating it with the right values.
But a challenge might also include how to be more knowledgeable about the subject of your company in X number of days, how to learn a new skill or how to change a habit that is in line with what your brand offers. This type of content has a long life span and can be updated or developed accordingly. Tests and quizzes have some of the same components that will trigger high engagement.
In order to get more ideas for how to create great challenges, I spoke with Vladimir Bashkin. His years of experiences and proficiency helped him to lead a fastest growing native advertising network Adnow. He suggests that you also amplify your content with images and videos to make it more engaging and shareable as content with images or videos tend to rank higher in the search engines than content without it.
6. Start a podcast
A podcast is a powerful strategy for revamping your native advertising. By now General Electric’s podcast series ‘The Message’ from 2015 has become a classic which was followed up by ‘LifeAfter’.
By means of a podcast, you can stay in contact with your audience, teach them new things or entertain them.
If you’re not up for creating a completely branded podcast series, you can choose to advertise through some of the well performing podcasts that reach your target audience. Many of the podcast hosts give very personal ‘native ad’ feel to their sponsors which might do your brand good.
I once ran a popular podcast on how to grow your business and it really helped me get my own business going. How? Well, at the end of each episode I invited my listeners to visit my Facebook page where they would get a chance to meet likeminded people and get more tips on how to grow their business. At least 10% of my listeners visit my Facebook page each week after listening to the podcast.
7. Become a thought leader
Thought Leadership involves sharing knowledge that moves people from where they are to where they ought to be. The truth about business success is that your customers do not care about you or your business. They care only about what is in it for them; “What would be my benefit if I use your product?”
In order to be viewed as a thought leader you need to create content that’s of great value to your audience and relies on original research, a think pieces or expert commentary that you promote through the right publisher or channel. You can also commission sponsored content on a subject where you know that your company can shine because of your unique insights.
Like all other types of native advertising thought leadership is not about blatantly promoting a product or a service. It’s about delivering value and insights to your target audience.
These were my seven suggestions for how to revamp your native advertising. I agree with Google that native advertising truly is the future of advertising.
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