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Native Advertising: Be The Signal Above The Noise

Traditional-display-ads-overwhelming - ReTargeter

In today’s advertising world, users are constantly bombarded with information. Sometimes it seems like advertisers are participating in some sort of marketplace competition where the ad that is the most disruptive wins. And ultimately, a marketplace full of loud, competing voices results in a marketplace in which everyone is shouting just to be heard.

As consumers become more and more desensitized to traditional modes of advertising, they start to ignore ads that flash products in their faces without context. According to DoubleClick, the standard 468 x 60 banner ad has a .04 percent click rate.

So, amidst the waning interest of the average consumer for conventional display advertising methods, how can you as an advertiser get yourself noticed in today’s marketplace?

The answer is native advertising.

What is native advertising?

Even if you aren’t familiar with the term, you have probably seen native advertisements before. Basically, native advertising is a type of advertising in which ads are presented in a way that is more educational, less aggressive, and more relevant to the content around which the ad appears. Unlike traditional display advertising, native ads are designed to complement the content around them. Native ads don’t really look like ads, and that’s the point. Think of an email newsletter, or a social media feed. When advertisements appear on these platforms, they often are disguised to look like real content, so as not to disrupt the user experience. When an ad doesn’t look like an ad, and instead feels like a publisher recommendation, consumers are more likely to trust it.

A native ad can appear in almost any format. For example, a native ad might appear in an email newsletter with the heading “sponsored content”, or on a social media feed as something that looks like an organic post. When reading through a page of content, the “suggested articles” at the bottom of the page are often an example of native advertisements. In audio, a native ad might appear when a podcast host tells a narrative story personally vouching for a brand or product.

One important thing to understand about native advertisements is that they must always include some sort of content that matches the environment in which they are placed. Native ads are an opportunity for a brand to educate its audience, and for this reason, a native ad must not seem like a flagrant call to the consumer to complete a conversion–this would defeat the point of native advertising. Because of this, native ads should not link to product pages or landing pages. It is better instead to link to pages of additional content.

Imagine it like this: you are reading through an article about gardening on one of your favorite online publications. When you get to the bottom of the article, you scroll down to see links to three additional, suggested articles for you. Each of these articles take you to a page of related, sponsored content–let’s say one suggested link is for an article about the best tools to use when gardening. Within this article, there are recommendations for a certain brand of tools, with a link at the end to purchase those tools. This would be an example of native advertising.  

Now imagine that you are reading through the same article about gardening, but when you get to the bottom of the article, instead of seeing links to a few suggested articles, you simply see a banner ad recommending you click to buy that same brand of gardening tools.

Below are two similar examples; the first are a row of banner ads from msn.com’s homepage, and the second is a native ad from the newsletter, Need to Know: 

Traditional-Display-advertising-example-msn.com - ReTargeter

Native-Advertising-email-newsletter-example - ReTargeter

Which ad is more likely to get you to convert and buy? Which ad feels more like a carefully constructed recommendation put together just for you?  Which feels like more of a ploy to try and pressure you into buying something? The answer is clear.

When should you use native advertising?

Equally as important as knowing how native advertising works, is knowing when to use it. Native advertising works well when brands are looking to educate customers and build a deeper relationship with them. For example, a company that sells medical devices would likely have a lot of information about their product to share with the consumer. LIkewise, the doctors and clinics who buy these devices generally conduct a lot of research before making a purchasing decision. This type of product therefore, would be a good fit for native ads.

Why should you use native advertising?

Native advertising can be very cost-effective for your business for two main reasons. In general, native ads are slightly less expensive than traditional image display advertising. In addition, since native ads are educational, you can repurpose existing marketing content to serve as the destination page for these ads.

How does bidding on native advertising work?

Typically, bidding on native advertising can be done one of two ways: as an advertiser, you can either establish direct connections with individual publishers, or you can use a 3rd party provider such as Outbrain to gain access to a network of native ad publications. The benefit of establishing direct connections is that this allows for extensive customization to complement the context in which your native ads appears. However, this can be time-consuming and expensive.

Using a third party provider gives you the ability to reach a wider network of native advertising placements, but comes at a cost of less relevant messaging. With ReTargeter’s programmatic solution however, advertisers can access a wide range of native inventory through our network of 3rd party providers, while working with their Account Managers to customize each ad to best fit the publication.

Why does native advertising matter?

Native advertising is a great way to reach your audience without bombarding them with disruptive ads in an effort to grab their attention. It can be an ideal channel to educate consumers about your brand, and a creative way to repurpose content and drive traffic to your site. Know when to use native advertising, and when to avoid it. When done right, native advertising can be a valuable component to your overall digital advertising strategy.

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