Introduction to native advertising

Native advertising is leading digital ad growth as it creates a win-win situation for all. It provides useful information to consumers, a new source of advertising revenue for publishers, and higher brand recall and engagement for advertisers. Native ads are essentially content pieces that are paid for and/or written by a brand that live on a publisher’s website. They provide value to the reader’s experience without disrupting it, as they conform to the look and feel of the websites on which they are displayed.

Why native ads work

The growth of native ads can be attributed to successfully dispensing recommended stories that educate, inform, and are relevant to readers. The key to making great native ad content: make sure it resonates with the reader. Native advertising’s popularity can be attributed to the fact that advertisers want to reach out to their audience in the most engaging and non-intrusive way possible, without disrupting the reader experience.

Elements of a great native ad

A native ad is a powerful way to have a conversation with your audience. So, an effective native ad will engage readers by being relevant and will help build trust between the brand and the consumer. A native ad headline is an important element that captures a reader’s attention first and creates engagement with him/her.

Headlines, in fact, serve as teasers; sharing what the content piece is about and why you should be compelled to read it. Sharethrough’s study on The Millennial Perspective on Native Ads 2016 revealed that 44% of consumers admitted to visiting a brand’s website or social media site after only reading a headline. So an uninteresting headline can easily drive readers away even if the topic is relevant to them.

Native advertising best practices

Here are a few best practices to adopt for native advertising:

Know your audience

The effectiveness of your native ad relies on identifying the needs of different readers on different websites, and developing interesting and relevant content that they will engage with.

Clear labeling

It’s crucial to label a native ad clearly. Readers are smart; they can see when a brand is engaged in self-promotion. So, for example, if a native ad is not labeled as ‘paid content’ or ‘promoted/sponsored by’ you’re deceiving your readers, which can cost you their trust.

Good content

Constructing an engaging, informational and interesting story, while maintaining brand relevance, isn’t an easy task. Find a unique story to tell about your brand that readers can relate to and potentially interact with it.

Match the environment

The basic premise of native ads is not to disrupt the user experience and blend in seamlessly within the page it resides in. So it’s important for the ad’s layout to be similar to the platform it’s being placed on.

Native ad formats