Native Advertising is the new buzzword these days. But what is it? Native advertising is when you create sponsored content relevant to the customer experience, in the same look and feel to the content on the page it lives on. This essentially makes the native ad appear to be a natural extension of the website instead of an invading advertising element.
Those in the digital marketing business know that native advertising is the hottest trend in content marketing. Business Insider reports that advertisers spent $7.9 billion on native ads in 2014 and project that this amount will exceed $21 billion by 2018. In fact, 63 percent of marketers surveyed plan to increase their spend on native advertising this year, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). It’s clear that native advertising is the wave of the future, but why do marketers love it so much?
Here is a look at some of the benefits of native advertising.
Native Ads Drive Engagement
One of the major challenges in digital marketing is getting your content in front of your target audience. Native ads appear in the pages and media your customers are already visiting and engaging with. By structuring paid content in the format, tone, and style of the organic content on your target site, you naturally increase the probability that your content will be read and shared.
There are a variety of types of native ads, including:
- Paid results for search queries. These are the sponsored results at the top of Google, Bing or Yahoo.
- Ads within media feeds like Facebook, Twitter or Forbes.
- A promoted product listing in an E-commerce site, such as Amazon, Etsy etc.
- Suggested reading widgets, which are usually found at the bottom of the page. These are commonly handled through platforms such as Disqus or Gravity.
- Ads made to look like native elements on a page. Platforms like Appssavvy and Onespot handle these, and they can actually retarget someone who has clicked on an ad before.
- Specialty ads for platforms like Pandora or Flipboard. These platforms have unique ways of presenting content to their audience, and native ads follow this same structure.
- Promoted content on content discovery channels like LinkedIn, Outbrain etc.
Consider that 70 percent of consumers would prefer to learn about a new product or service through content than through display ads–and an astonishing 32 percent would share native ads with others in their social sphere if the content was relevant or entertaining.
Native Advertising Campaigns Offer Seamless Integration
One of the major benefits of native advertising is that it provides a seamless experience for the reader. Ad clutter is a well-documented turn-off for most consumers; display ads detract from the information flow, while native ads are an integral part of it. In fact, customers view native ads 53 percent more often than display ads. This is because paid native content is so cohesive and carefully integrated with the page content that it doesn’t disrupt the reader’s overall experience. Over 70 percent of publishers report receiving no complaints for featuring native advertising on their pages, compared to the significant number of publishers who report complaints about display ads.
Native Ads Exploit the Power of Mobile Technology
Native advertising campaigns are uniquely suited to mobile, the platform most frequently used for content consumption. Customers are increasingly viewing their social feeds on a mobile device; in fact, in 2014, mobile accounted for 60 percent of social media consumption. Native ads offer an ideal opportunity to capitalize on the rapidly growing mobile commerce market. Of the companies that currently employ native advertising, 71 percent do so on social media sites. Business Insider reports that social native ads, such as promoted tweets and Facebook news feed ads, will drive the highest percentage of native ad revenue over the next five years.
Perhaps the best reason to love native ads, however, is because they work. GE recently launched a native advertising campaign that delivered undeniable results: 5.1 million page views with 419,000 click-throughs resulting in a click-through rate (CTR) of greater than 8 percent. Compared to a CTR of about 0.2 percent for traditional display ads, native ads outperform at significantly better rates. In addition, native advertising generates an 82 percent improvement in brand lift and a 53 percent increase in purchase intent compared to display advertising.
According to the ANA survey, only about 60 percent of companies are currently incorporating native advertising into their digital campaigns. If you’re in the 40 percent who aren’t in on the trend, now is the perfect time to take advantage of this powerful marketing tool.