The various social media platforms are quite different from each other, and it might feel a bit overwhelming to try to grasp their full potential in a native ad strategy.
How to use native ads on social media platforms can seem confusing when they have different ways of creating and presenting ads, and the types of content differ in both form and function.
We are here to help
On this page, we will discuss these aspects – and more – in order to help you get the most out of your native advertising efforts on social media.
Keep in mind, not all social ads are native advertising, it is not the media platform that makes it native advertising, it is the content and the way it is presented. If the ad promotes content, not an account or an offer, and it blends in with the surrounding content, it is considered native advertising.
So much for the overall definition of native ads on social media, but before we dive into the different ways to promote your content, we will address the ‘why’: Why should you use native advertising on social media?
The best answer is actually another question:
Where is your target group?
One of the main goals of native advertising is to be present where your target group is hanging out. Native ads take advantage of an existing audience by publishing content on an established platform, which on social media could be groups and pages on Facebook and popular channels on Instagram and Twitter.
That is why the question above is one of the most important questions you are going to ask yourself when planning a marketing campaign.
The answer will be different depending on your business and the goal of your campaign, but chances are that one of the places your target group hangs out is on social media. It’s more a question of defining which social media platform they use than if they use any.
Because social media is being used to such a great degree today, your native ads could find a lot of success through social channels.
One of the most effective ways of reaching a specific audience is to collaborate with an influencer. These “gatekeepers of attention” have spent a lot of time and effort on collecting followers and subscribers you can gain access to.
What sets influencers apart from media companies and other professionals is that influencers typically have a very strong connection with their audience and the audience is usually very engaged.
This means that your content is more likely to be noticed when presented through an influencer than in a group or as a social ad.
You can find influencers on just about any social platform, though Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook might be some of the more prevalent ones. Besides the social platforms, many influencers have their own blog on a website of their own.
Instagram: Sponsored content
As we just mentioned influencers are a great way to use Instagram to reach a specific audience, but this social media platform also has a more direct way for you to use native ads: Sponsored photos and videos.
So what are sponsored photos and videos on Instagram?
They are basically advertisements that look and feels like everything else on Instagram except for the label ‘Sponsored’ which replaces the time stamp.
Like a post, only sponsored
The idea is to present the Instagram sponsored ad in a way targeted users already know and enjoy and therefore the basic format of an Instagram post is retained.
The targeted users are selected based on their activity on Instagram and the parent company Facebook. The information gathered is used to determine the users’ interests, and if they are relevant to your brand, they will see your ad.
Facebook: Sponsored post
With a sponsored post on Facebook, you pay to make sure, your followers see your content.
What this means is that you will only reach people, who already ‘Like’ your page. While this may seem ineffective, the truth is, that it can be quite necessary in order to make sure, your followers see your content.
The reason for this is that it is quite easy for your followers to miss a post if they aren’t logged in when the post is active in the news feed. Adding to this, Facebook uses an algorithm to determine, how interesting your content is to each follower, and rank it accordingly in their individual feed.
Because of this, pages on Facebook only reach about 16% of their followers on average, and this goes for all pages, not just business pages.
What is a sponsored post on Facebook?
A sponsored post is simply a post, that you pay for to show up in your followers’ news feed the next time they are active.
The post will be labeled ‘sponsored’, it is easy to spot in a typical feed, it is simple to launch and it drives better engagement from followers.
Twitter: Promoted tweets
In contrast to Facebook, promoted tweets on Twitter can help you expand the reach of your content, by presenting your best content to your followers as well as people who aren’t following you. Yet!
When creating your promoted tweet, you can select an existing tweet to promote or create a new one with a specific, promotional purpose in mind. The promoted tweet will be visible in a user’s timeline on any device if Twitter finds the tweet relevant to the user.
Again, the tweet resembles a normal tweet except for the ‘Promoted’ tag, and you can use it to drive traffic and leads as well as offer deals or promote sales.
Use the promoted tweet in whatever form that makes sense to you, but if it is a part of a native ad campaign, remember to promote content instead of offers, deals or discounts.
LinkedIn: Sponsored updates
With a sponsored update on LinkedIn, your company can easily promote any post to a targeted audience’ news feed. Like the promoted tweet, LinkedIn’s sponsored update is a way to expand your reach and connect with new followers.
The update itself looks just like a regular one except for the ‘Sponsored’ tag and it is a great way to promote your content to an audience of your choosing.
LinkedIn has a lot of information on the users’ jobs, titles, location, education level and their companies which all makes for good filtering when choosing your audience.
With a sponsored update on LinkedIn you might not get as much traffic as on other social media platforms, but you will get highly qualified traffic.
Great examples of native advertising
As you can see, there are many ways of utilizing social media in your next native advertising campaign. However, if you would like some inspiration to get you started, we recommend taking a look at some great examples of award-winning native ads.
We have created an e-book filled with case studies featuring 51 award-winning native advertising examples from 2018.
These campaigns, from around the world, showcases great use of native advertising on a variety of platforms and – spoiler alert – most of them use social media as part of their strategy.
Get inspired by how others have used influencers, live coverage on Facebook, textual content and even a scripted web series on YouTube to reach their goals in our ebook 51 Award-winning Native Advertising Examples. The e-book is available right here