Native advertising has rapidly gained popularity among both publishers and advertisers because of its ability to satisfy the needs of both sides.
Think about this: publishers are always on the hunt for the best way to monetize their content on their websites and advertisers are always seeking new, less-intrusive ways to reach their target audience. The ability of native ads to blend in seamlessly with a website’s existing editorial content makes them an attractive option for advertisers and publishers.
Visitors to the website don’t recognize native ads as an advertisement at first glance because they match the functional and visual design of the media they live in. It’s time to wake up to native advertising and utilize its benefits for your content marketing.
Before you get started, here’s a list of native ad formats you can use to create your own piece of sponsored content. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, there are six types of ad units that are most commonly used to achieve native advertising objectives:
- In-Feed Units
In-feed ad units promote sponsored content within a publication’s natural environment. The content is marked as sponsored and shows up on the website in a similar format as all other content from the publication. They are written either by the publisher or in conjunction with the sponsoring advertiser.
- Promoted Listings
These don’t have editorial content, but they are designed to fit seamlessly with the browsing experience. They are typically used by e-commerce sites to feature sponsored products and look identical to the products already listed on a given site.
- Paid Search Ads
These are similar to promoted listings except these listings appear at the top of customer search results. Depending on the publisher the terms ‘promoted listings’ and ‘paid search ads’ overlap. These ad units are also used to promote businesses depending on the searcher’s current location and his/her preferences for restaurants or certain businesses.
- Recommendation Widgets
On most websites at the end of every article if you encounter a widget with a heading like ‘Recommended for you’ or ‘You may also like’, you’re looking at a content recommendation widget.
These sponsored recommendations are paid content discovery links distributed by content amplification networks. Such networks amplify your brand’s content by having it recommended on sites with a like-minded or similar audience. Revcontent, Outbrain and Taboola are among a plethora of such networks available today. For publishers who want to increase their audience or for brands that are using content marketing for lead generation, such widgets are an ideal choice.
- Custom Ads
‘Custom ads’ is a term coined by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, as the catchall for contextual ads that don’t necessarily fit in a specific format.
- In-Ad with Native Element Units
This looks like any other ad, but it has great contextual relevancy with the publisher. For example, a cereal brand might promote its products on websites that publish user-generated content such as Martha Stewart Living.
Getting started with native advertising
Remember, native advertising doesn’t have to be a cumbersome process. Think about the types of ad formats you have the bandwidth and budget for. If you want to post sponsored blogs on your website regularly, then you need to build the right team and dedicate time for it. Let’s say you want to stick with social posts. You then need to set a budget for promoted Facebook or Twitter posts, and be willing to tweak the budget as you move forward. There are plenty of options at your fingertips. But first, you need to understand the value of native advertising and what it can do for you.