There is a new ‘ahead of the curve” form of online advertising: Native Advertising. It’s a very innovative marketing approach that top businesses are using – from media buyers to direct marketers – to get results. If you haven’t heard about this approach, let me tell you what it is and how it can benefit your online business. This information is for newbies who have never heard of Native Advertising, but who want to explore the possibilities.
Native Advertising: What It Is
Native Advertising isn’t really about the advertising form itself; It’s about how it blends into the content that delivers the ad. For instance, if you’ve ever noticed how Facebook blends in other ads to their newsfeed in a way that makes them seem like just another post, then you’ve seen an example of Native Advertising. It doesn’t look like an ad, but when a person clicks on it, they will be led into content that eventually asks them to buy a product or service. If the ad looked like an ad, odds are people in Facebook would ignore it, rather than click on it. However, it’s the fact that the ad doesn’t appear to be an ad, and blends in well with the surrounding content, that makes this approach effective for getting past the filters of consumers jaded by other online advertising methods.
An example of an indistinguishable advertorial from a UK magazine.
What are the three types of Native Advertising?
The ads in the Facebook newsfeed are just one type of Native Advertising. There are a couple more. You can discover Native Advertising, also known as Content Advertising, on other social media sites, including Twitter and Pinterest. It’s one way to monetize social networks in a way that isn’t too commercial. All in all, there are three different types of Native Advertising. They are:
Social Native Advertising
As mentioned earlier, the first type deals with adding advertisements in areas that would readers would expect to see posts, updates, or other content. However, once clicked, the ad would pop up or some other content would lead them to an ad.
Another type of Native Advertising is to embed articles of similar or related topics within blogs or big magazines that are out there online. Large online media outlets, like Forbes.com or Huffington post and even some Australian publications, always have a listing of “Related Articles” somewhere near a news article they publish. This section is perfect for Native Advertising. Some of these related articles are actually paid articles that some advertiser paid to put there to make their ad appear as part of the content of a very large news site. That’s really the best of all possible worlds for Native Advertising. You can do the same, by following two simple steps.
Step 1: Bait the Hook
When someone reads an article on a large news site online, they may decide they like the topic so much they’d like to read more. As a native advertiser, that’s your cue to create content along these lines that can easily be inserted in a listing of related articles for those readers. Once they see your juicy title and content, it’s an easy guess they’ll be clicking to read more without much prompting from you. That way, you engage a large source of traffic by offering the type of content they’re most interested in.
Step 2: Supply the Offer
The next step in this process is to include your offer within the content of the related article you’ve taken the time to write, so that it doesn’t appear to even be an advertisement! That’s what the old-fashioned print media outlets used to do all the time. It’s no different now, even though you will be doing this online. The offer should look almost exactly like the content that surrounds it. Even though this sounds like it would be counter-productive, it’s not. People have become immune to loud, flashy, ads online that they basically tune them out. If you insert your ad in content and make it appear to also be part of the message, there is less resistance to clicking that link. The reader doesn’t feel manipulated into clicking the link, instead, it’s like they make a brand new discovery under their own will power. This makes this type of advertising very effective.
Paid Native Advertising
The last type of Native Advertising is paid inclusion. It works well, but the method is more controversial than the other types because it means that the publisher or creator of the content may have nothing to do with the promotion of the offer, other than to sneak it into their content for a fee. That’s why outlets like Buzzfeed.com have tons of great content, but it typically promotes some offer that’s snuck in at the end by sponsor. An example of this is when Buzzfeed created content on how to make the perfect sub sandwich, at the request of the Publix Grocery store. That was step 1 of Native Advertising. Once the content was online, Publix added their little native advertising blurb at the end of the content in a manner directing people to come to a local Publix to get the perfect submarine sandwich. It seems more like that particular writer’s preference or suggestion, but it really was a paid native advertising spot put out by Publix. That was step 2.
The spot for Publix did not look like a paid advertisement because of the way it was inserted in copy about a topic that seemed related to the suggestion of where to find the perfect submarine sandwich. Yet, it was a paid promotion from the start. Buzzfeed may not have even thought of doing a series on how to make the perfect submarine sandwich until Publix approached them to do so. We’ll never know. We do know that they leveraged Buzzfeed’s popularity by paying them for a Native Advertising spot that was a subtle way to get an ad in front of that big audience.
The Benefits of Native Advertising
The biggest benefit of Native Advertising is that it works. By disguising your ad as a part of the content, you get by people’s automatic rejection of anything that looks and feels like a commercial ad. This creates a higher click-through rate that can lead to more conversions. That drives down the cost per sale and costs per clicks go down too. Conversions skyrocket. It’s a way of getting noticed and having people see your ad more often than not.