Traditional online advertising is quickly backing up and making way for content marketing distribution and native advertising. It seems that people have had enough of banner ads that disrupt their online experience. According to Business Insider, over 615 million devices worldwide are using ad-blocking technology. As this trend is going to rise in the years to come, so will genuine content marketing. Research from Point Visible shows that 89% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers are using content marketing.
What is Native Advertising
Companies use native advertising to avoid displaying ads and to provide valuable content to their audience. It allows them to place relevant content about their products and services on different kinds of platforms (platforms are usually publishers) for their customers to enjoy. When well made, the content of the advertisement blends perfectly with the surroundings, although it is paid to be published. According to Business Insider, native display ad revenue will make up 74% of total U.S. display ad revenue by the year 2021. In the year 2016 that revenue was 56%.
Since most internet users today are very skilled at spotting ads in general, subtle native advertising generates much more engagement than standard ads. It relies on the same concept of creating high-quality content and can be found across all digital marketing platforms, including websites and social media.
The Difference Between Native Advertising and Content Marketing
People generally tend to confuse native advertising with content marketing. Content marketing is a strategic initiative, and it involves creating and distributing quality content. The goal of content marketing is to offer value to consumers and drive their behavior in the process. Native advertising is a tactic to accomplish that goal and distribute content in an unobtrusive, yet promotional way.
The benefits of native advertising
Native advertising can extend your content distribution better than traditional advertising. It drives audience engagement and conversions and brings more relevancy and higher loyalty. As high as 70% of consumers read about the product they use and 92% trust user-generated content. Just by looking at these numbers, marketers around the world understand how important content marketing is, and more specifically, how important the component of native advertising is. They dedicate up to 25% of their marketing budget to creating a phenomenal user experience that will increase sharing, clicks, and comments. By expanding your reach on as many platforms as possible, you will increase the life-span of your content.
There are a handful of strategies and best practices to follow when using native advertising. Everything starts with thorough research. You have to make sure you know your customers inside and out and tailor your content according to them, but in such a way that it fits with the style, tone, theme, and overall feel of the publisher of your choice. You also need to decide on the content type you will be using. There are plenty of choices, from blog posts and podcasts to social media and videos. Whatever content type you choose, you have to make sure that it’s engaging enough to educate or entertain your readers. Once you have your readers’ attention, a well-optimized landing page with the right and strategically placed call-to-action will maximize your conversion rates.
When you can’t reach the people you are supposed to with traditional content marketing, paid native advertising can be a practical solution to:
- Promote content that is considered to be too specific to be found in the traditional way
- Reach new, highly-targeted audiences on social media or relevant websites
- Promote cornerstone content or other high-level content to drive organic sharing
- Optimize for Google and other search engines
- Generate guest-posting and content syndication
- Increase your backlink signals.
If you are thinking about using native advertising, there is one thing to keep in mind – your ads need to be genuine. Here are a couple of tips on how to ensure that your ads are genuine and will engage your audience.
Provide value to your readers
Content discovery is sometimes described as a subset of native advertising. Brands and businesses recommend their content from elsewhere on the web at the bottom of the article so users can take a gander if they find it relevant. Your content can either entertain or inform your audience, but it always needs to relate to your brand. You can include a call-to-action at the end of your native content, if you’d like to offer your customers an opportunity to try your products or services.
Make it all about them
It’s important not to focus on yourself or oversell your products, otherwise, your audience will see right through your ad. Instead, determine how you can help them. Talking about how great your product is will generally only repel your future customers. The best strategy is not to mention your brand at all, or wait until the very end of the article to mention it. Bragging won’t convince them that you’re a great company, but excellent content will.
List your name as the author
According to ClickZ and a study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 43% of newsreaders in the U.S. “have felt disappointed or deceived after reading content they didn’t realize was sponsored”. This is why the distribution platform you choose to use needs to make it known that you, after all, are the author. If that information is omitted, people will start to lose trust in the platform and consequently your company, because they will feel like you’ve tricked them into buying your product.
Need assistance with your native and content advertising efforts? Book an Alpha Efficiency native advertising strategy consultation, and let us define your project, and get your business moving towards profitability. Our experts will help you define the KPIs, content ideas, content delivery network workflows, and timelines. We look forward to hearing from you.