Native advertising is one of the hottest trends in marketing and advertising today. It has not only emerged as a new source of advertising revenue for publishers, but also an exciting new way for marketers to engage with consumers. A native ad, essentially, is paid content disguised as organic content.
Why go native?
Native ads offer a huge advantage over other forms of advertising because of the way they are presented. It’s harder for a consumer to ignore a native ad because it typically matches the form and feel of the editorial content on a website. Unlike other ads, native ads are less intrusive to users, and this is important because ad blocking by users globally is on the rise.
While marketers are trying to create more and more content cluttering the landscape, the audience isn’t growing. In fact, PageFair’s 2016 Mobile Adblocking report revealed that at least 419 million people are blocking ads on smartphones. Mobile ad-blocking has become most popular in emerging markets like India and China with 122 million Indian users actively using mobile browsers with built-in ad blocking.
Thus, consumers are actively avoiding ads and are taking charge of their online experience. They unsubscribe from emails, skip commercials, close webpages and auto-playing ads, and ignore phone calls, etc. In fact, the HubSpot Global Interruptive Ads Q4 2015 – Q1 2016 survey reveals four out of five consumers have closed a browser or exited a website because of an auto-playing ad or a pop up.
The importance of native advertising
Native advertising goes beyond traditional advertising when it comes to driving better user experiences. A 2013 Sharethrough/IPG Media labs study uncovered some interesting insights into how consumers interact with native ads versus how they engage with original editorial content. As per the study, consumers looked at native ads 53 per cent more frequently than display ads, and viewed original editorial content and native content for a similar amount of time.
As great content marketing becomes the go-to method to reach your audience, the importance of native advertising will continue to rise.
For native advertising to make an impact as well as ‘fit’ in with a publication’s content, it needs to offer the audience value. It needs to have a clear purpose; and it needs to be relevant to the customer’s journey.
What to know about creating a native ad
The perfect native ad is one that people want to see, read, share or comment on.
Native advertising requires investment: taking the time to acquire a thorough knowledge of your audience, their interests, their Internet preferences, their online behavior, and much more.
For native ads to be successful, they also have to be clearly labeled as paid-for/sponsored content. You want to avoid misleading your audience because this can reduce the publication’s credibility as well as damage the brand’s reputation in the eyes of the consumer. Transparency is of utmost importance and any piece of sponsored content should be labeled as such. Now every native ad format will not be relevant to your business or brand but the key is to recognize how to use native advertising and when to use it.
Remember, in native advertising regardless of which format you opt for, the user must always be able to distinguish paid content from editorial content. You don’t want to trick your readers into digesting sponsored content with unclear labeling. Native advertising, when done right, can be a powerful tool for both advertisers and consumers; it’s opened up exciting new opportunities to publishers and advertisers beyond what traditional display advertising can offer.