The average click-through rate on banner ads is down to 0.06%. Ad blockers and banner blindness are on the rise. Native advertising is emerging as a win-win situation for both digital marketers and web users alike. It’s about marketing content that feels like a natural part of the content of the site you’re visiting. If done well, users will barely notice that it’s advertising at all. Great for users, great for advertisers.
Business Insider predict that by 2021, native advertising will drive 74% of all ad revenue. Native video content will drive much of this growth. Much like paid and organic content on social media, Native is going to become an increasingly competitive space. It will be harder for smaller organisations with less money in their marketing coffers to stand out. Fipp.com predict 2017 to be the year native advertising goes mainstream, like digital media did in the 2000s and social media has in the 2010s. Companies should start dipping toes in the native advertising waters now. Further down the line, experience will give them an advantage over the competition.
What is Native Advertising?
Copyblogger said it best when they defined native advertising as “paid content that matches a publication’s editorial standards while meeting the audience’s expectations.”
Native Advertising takes many forms, from newspaper advertorials to sponsored content on websites. It can also include branded content (where the brand creates the copy rather than the publication), product placement and viral videos. Facebook and Twitter advertising is mainly native, embedding posts and tweets into our feeds which look and feel almost identical to posts from our friends.
Social advertising can sometimes be so appropriately targeted to us that we’ll welcome it in our feed. Sometimes we’ll even go and follow the advertiser and engage with the ad in question. And then there are other times when we’ll scratch our heads and think, “why on earth are they targeting this at me? Why would they think I’m interested in this?” And that’s what native advertising is all about. It has to be done well, it needs to really fit in with the content around it if it’s going to work.
According to MarketingSource.com, native ads are viewed 53% more frequently than traditional ads. Brands can see as much as an 82% lift from switching to native advertising. Conversion rates can increase by up to 60% if native ads contain rich media. This year, the native advertising industry is expected to generate $4.6 billion in revenue.
Want some expert guidance as you create and launch your first Native Advertising campaign? Please contact us for a free Skype consultation.
Tired of ever-decreasing CTRs on your banner ads? Here’s how to get into Native Advertising?
The first challenge is to create the native content, the next challenge is to find a way to distribute it. You can speak with advertising teams from the publications you wish to target. Some of these publications will create the content for you. This is the more expensive option, but it might be worth the investment if you’re unsure about what to create.
As you create your native content, you should keep one main question front of mind. How can I create content that my target audience will find interesting and engaging, within the context of the site where the content will appear?
It’s not easy to get the balance right. Having external help to create the content can be a big plus. Of course, we are experienced at creating native content and we’re more than happy to help.
A few rules to keep in mind:
- Your content should be labelled as sponsored, in the interests of maintaining editorial integrity for the publisher and transparency with your prospective customers.
- Don’t do the hard sell. Subtlety is key. A fantastic example of native advertising comes from H&R Block tax agents and their partnership with satirical news site The Onion. It also doesn’t directly mention the brand in the copy, the H&R Block logo is discreetly located up top. The main message they wanted to communicate was ‘it’s almost tax time!’ and they did it in an entertaining way. Those users who read the content and loved it will most likely seek out H&R Block should they need a tax agent. There’s a clear ‘sponsored content’ label on the article too.
- Native content needs to seamlessly blend with the other editorial content on the site. Getting this right is key, and is why it is advisable to work with writers who understand the intricacies of tone of voice and editorial style.
- It needs to grab the attention of your target audience.
WHO IS VKN DIGITAL?
Christian Taylor is a writer and digital marketer and a member of the VKN Digital team. VKN Digital is a digital marketing agency in Hertfordshire, UK. We aim to help SMEs overcome marketing hurdles and create compelling digital content that drives results. Need help creating and launching a native advertising campaign? Please contact us for a free Skype consultation. We can also help with SEO, design and social media.