Native Advertising 101

Native Advertising 101

“A classic race car, Vanity Fair and Hennessy Cognac. None of those three things seem out of place with each other, and that’s the point of the native ads that the classic magazine has rolled out on its website.” Jason Abbruzzese,

Native Advertising 101

If you don’t know what Native Advertising is, chances are you’ve already seen these types of ads online, like the one described by Mr. Abbruzzese.  And you may have seen them years ago as sponsored spreads in print magazines.  “Native” advertising is a buzzword right now, but the concept has been around for a while.

So in the “digital” here and now, native ads are paid online media placements in which the actual ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience – basically advertising complements the website it’s running on, or the content it’s displayed beside.  That is why it can be very easy to confuse a well-written story with an actual ad.  I happen to not mind coming across these ads as long as I am entertained, or don’t feel like my time has been wasted.

Native Advertising 101

Twitter offers multiple native units, including Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends directly into the Twitter Stream.

Where can you see Native Ads?

  • Across social networks, as in-feed ads and recommended content widgets
  • In search and promoted listings (have you searched for something on Yelp, Amazon or Yahoo lately?)
  • Custom-made ads – Ex. Custom ads are placed on Pandora’s branded stations where advertisers attach their brand to songs that fit a particular theme)
  • Publisher and brand produced ads (you’ve seen stories and videos on your favorite news sites like WSJ, Forbes and the New York Times that were actually made to work as advertisements).

The smart brands know just how to pull you in and engage you.

Nivea’s “Just Face It” is a great example of an engaging native ads campaign.  Six webisodes were featured on starring actor Damon Wayans Jr.  Wayans encounters six irritating life situations and he is “soothed” at the end of each one.  Those webisodes were featured on a microsite where consumers found Nivea-branded editorial content like “Groom to Get the Job Done.”  The webisodes and microsites were heavily promoted through banner ads and home page placement on from May 7 – June 7, 2013.  The webisodes focused more on daily irritants and less on products.  There were more than 3 million total video views, 25,000+ Facebook likes, 5,200 Twitter mentions, 740,000 total user interactions (shares, “likes”, comments) with the videos across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and more than 270,000 visitors to the Nivea branded hub.  Users spent an average of three minutes on the site.

So as a small business owner, how can you take part?

Consider creating a Native Mobile Ad if you have a significant amount of traffic coming to your site from mobile devices.  How can you do this?  If you sell women’s clothing, feature your ads on a popular fashion blogger’s site.  You might have a better chance of interaction, warm leads and better click-through rates.  Native advertising is great for mobile conversions because of the format’s ability to fit with any type of website.

Inbound Marketing – Partner up with a native ad publisher and create a feature that speaks to your specific audience.  Maybe you have a local nursery?  Publish “10 Tricks to Gardening This Spring” with a call to action to sign up for an email newsletter or a 15% discount off items from your store.

Social Ads – Is your content on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube?  Facebook ads in the News Feed achieve 49-times higher click-through rates and a 54% lower cost-per-click than traditional placements in the right-rail sidebar, according to an AdRoll analysis of ad impressions traded through FBX, Facebook’s ad exchange.  In-stream native social ads are a great strategy to target anyone that uses multiple devices.  They function seamlessly across mobile and PCs and have a more natural look and feel. If you are targeting Generation Z, keep in mind this generation not only uses multiple devices, they also use them simultaneously.  A study commissioned by Time, Inc. reported that eighty-four percent of Gen Z multitasks while watching TV with an average of 1.5 other Internet-connected devices like laptops and cell phones.
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