Native Advertising: The Future is Now

native-advertisingIf you’ve been in the marketing space for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard the term “Native Advertising.” Though the term is relatively new, the concept has been around for decades, though in years past it would’ve gone by names like “advertorial,” “branded content,” or something similar.

If you haven’t heard of native advertising, it’s probably a good idea to look into it now. According to at least one estimate, total expenses for native marketing alone is expected to approach $9 billion, making it one of the fastest rising forms of advertising in vogue today.

What is Native Advertising Exactly?

Simply put, Native Advertising is any kind of advertising that looks less like an advertisement and more like a part of the normal content that that platform produces. It’s normally tagged with something like “Sponsored Content,” but other than that, it simply blends in with the background material, providing a non-disruptive experience for the reader.

Strictly speaking, there are six types of Native Advertising: segments built into the website, paid searches, sections that promote “recommended” content, advertisements that are bid on to appear at the top of search results, in-ad units, and divisions that form tailored content. The exact way in which they are delivered may vary from ad to ad, but there’s no doubting their efficiency. In comparison to regular display ads, native ads are viewed more frequently and clicked on more often – 63% more often, to be exact.

Why are They So Efficient?

Today’s average internet user is very tech-savvy. Not only can they spot an advertisement from a mile away, but they also have filters in place to protect them specifically against any form of unwanted advertisement. Native Ads, by comparison, are so well-received that over 30% of respondents admitted they would actually share a Native Advertisement with their friends. Moreover, a whopping 97% of mobile media buyers claim that Native Advertising is at least “somewhat effective at achieving brand goals.”

There are a few reasons why Native Advertising is so much more efficient than traditional forms of digital marketing.

  • It’s User-Friendly. Few things are more frustrating than scrolling through a piece of online content only to have your entire field of vision blocked by a swarm of banner ads. Native Advertising, by contrast, flows seamlessly into the experience, so much so that many users aren’t even aware that they are present.
  • It’s More Difficult to Block. Nearly 100 million Americans have some form of ad blocker on their computer, specifically designed to keep ads from being shown to them in any form. Native Advertising, however, is able to circumvent these filters by appearing as regular content, which means more people see your ads than through just about any other medium.
  • It’s Focused. Where sites like Facebook excel is in their specificity. They are able to deliver with nearly pinpoint precision where your ideal target market is. Native Advertising operates the same way. By placing your content inside of a publication that is already sought after by your specific demographic, you’re able to place your brand right in front of prospective customers. Furthermore, since 75% of publications offer native advertising opportunities, the odds of you finding space online to reach your market is high.

Steps to Succeed With Native Advertising

In order to get started with Native Advertising, even if you’ve never explored the space before, it’s best to follow a few simple concepts, many of which you’re already familiar with:

  1. Know Your Market. The first step in any marketing venture is to know who you want to target and find the publications that cater to that core. Taco Bell, as one example, developed a Snapchat filter that turned people’s faces into a taco shell. As silly as that may sound, it resonated with their audience; It was viewed nearly 240 million times in one day.
  2. Pick an Angle. Rather than simply developing an image, find a way that you’ll be able to connect with your readers, either through an interactive portal or a how-to. Find something that they’ll actually want to engage with, even if it’s not explicitly about your product.
  3. Get Creative. Though you absolutely want to stay within the editorial standards of the publication that you’re advertising in – if it’s too outrageous, it will be noticed more as an ad – don’t be afraid to get creative. Think outside the box and be bolder in these areas than you would be in more direct and traditional forms of advertising.