As a person who started his career in traditional journalism, I took a long time to understand the concept of native advertising. I bristled at the idea of paid ads posing as editorial content, violating the church-state division that I had taught.
But, like it or not, the publication rules have changed. The boundaries between media and marketing have faded and brands have more power, influence and opportunities to communicate directly with their audiences. And new tools and strategies emerged and disrupted the game.
Like any good species in a world where survival is greatest, I realized that native advertising was of considerable value, when it was executed in an intelligent and strategic way.
In short, what is native advertising?
As Robert Rose, CMI's Senior Strategy Advisor, recently explained, the classic term for aboriginal advertising is "publisher" – a newspaper or editorial advertisement. But with the dominance of digital media, the vision of the technique and how it can be applied has been broadened, as has the definition of CMI:
Native advertising is a paid / third-party advertising format that supports branding or direct response goals. Content is the form, usability, function, and quality of the media content on which it appears.
Let's take a look at the three principles that define aboriginal ads:
This is an opportunity paid directly. Native advertising pays to play. Brands pay for content placement on platforms outside of their media properties.
They are generally based on information rather than product. Ideally, the content of a native campaign should be useful, interesting and highly targeted to the audience of the multimedia channel.
They are delivered in flow. Native advertising does not disturb the user experience because it is presented in a way that does not interfere with the normal behavior of the user on that channel.
#NativeAdvertising does not disrupt the user experience, @joderama explains. Click to Tweet
Think of aboriginal advertising as a way to distribute your high-quality content to consumers who may not know enough about your brand to broadcast that content your own media.
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Types and Tips for Transparency
Although native ads can take many forms, they are most often used in content marketing:
Integrated power units appear alongside other content in a news feed or a list of contents. They are built to look and function like organic poles. (Some social channels offer additional features to business customers that normal users can not access.) A sponsored post in your Instagram feed or Facebook is a great example of this format.
Search Announcements appear in feeds and correspond to the form and function of other entries on the search engine results page ( SERP ). These highly targeted placements are most often used to generate a direct response – a sale, download, or capture of data.
Recommendation Widgets create a designated site for sponsored stories to appear on a site's pages, usually below or alongside the site's organic editorial content.
Paid blog posts are an opportunity offered by many large media companies via their blogging platform (Forbes' BrandVoice is a prime example). Published on a co-branded site page, these efforts are designed to look more like collaborative, continuous thought leadership than one-shot promotional spots. They address audiences seeking to delve into relevant topics related to current events.
Determine which units to use based on your strategic content marketing goals, as well as features of your target publication. Regardless of format, native advertising campaigns must follow the same disclosure rules as other advertising. You will find the FTC guidelines here . Pay attention to these fundamental principles:
Do not try to deceive the public or misrepresent the nature of these promoted documents.
Identify clearly and prominently any sponsored or branded content (ie, label it clearly as an advertisement).
Clearly state that #content is sponsored or tagged with #advertising, says @joderama. Click to Tweet
Disclose any clarification information in order to avoid deception (for example, the content comes from your brand and not from the publisher).
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An Indigenous Edge
Native ads are designed to give your content more visibility than it could receive on your own channels. They also offer greater relevance and authority than other digital ads. Native ads do this in two ways:
Putting your content on reliable and trustworthy sources of information has great potential to engage a wider audience. Because content is designed to share the brand's ideas and perspectives rather than to tamper with your products, it is more likely to sow the seeds of a positive perception of your business in the minds of audience members.
The implicit approval of these publishing sites helps your content to overcome the blind blindness that is occurring more and more with digital advertising.
Native advertising also offers great creative flexibility. You can embed text, videos, photos, data visualizations and even interactive features into your native advertising campaigns. You can provide a rich and engaging content experience that blends into the organic offerings of the publisher. In addition, since native ad campaigns are often managed through the publisher's versatile self-service tools, they can be developed, launched, and optimized quickly, and customized to meet almost any budget.
Unlike banner ads or custom coproduced initiatives with branded content native ads are an ideal way to edit content. You do not necessarily need to develop new assets (although you can do this, as you will see in the example of Washington College below).
Incidentally, if you want a detailed explanation of the suitability of native advertising for marketing content, discover this fantastic explanation video by Robert:
Aboriginal Advertising Success
For best results, research before casting your content on unsuspecting audiences. Many publishers use automated auction-based systems to determine where and when native campaigns appear. If you select content that does not correspond to the user's intent or do not set up your campaigns carefully, your brand may end up in the wrong place at the wrong time or Be noticed for the wrong reasons.
For example, in her presentation to Content Marketing World, founder of StoryFuel Melanie Deziel described her experience of looking for wedding dress ideas on Pinterest. During his research, a pin sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods appeared. Native advertising has copied the format of the pins that surround it. Unfortunately, the content of the advertisement – bright pink racing shorts – ran up against Melanie that day. "It left me a bad taste in the mouth," she says.
How can brands create an appealing, authentic and click-like native advertisement as appealing as the organic content experience expected by the audience from their favorite media sites? Look at some remarkable examples:
Washington College installs seeds of love on BuzzFeed
Aspiring to connect with the lives of high school students who were beginning to think about their college options, Washington College partnered with the BuzzFeed youth media site on a series of English writings on the topic . The topics covered range from life on Chesapeake Bay to incredible experiences as a rookie at the university. Native ads have been distributed on BuzzFeed's website and on multi-channel social media properties, giving them extensive reach, easy sharing and mobile access.
According to Washington College, the campaign resulted in a 77% increase in the number of page views on Facebook and 94% in the number of page views on the home page of its website one year to the next). It also generated 373 registration applications and earned the college a 2018 Content Marketing Award for its native ad / sponsored content.
Santander's indigenous efforts guide clients through their journey
In his presentation Content Marketing World Native Advertising Institute general manager Jesper Laursen presented an excellent case study of how the Santander financial services company combined Aboriginal and traditional advertising to attract new leads and meet his needs awareness through conversion.
Here are details on how the process works:
(1) Prospect sees a sponsored article on how home improvements make a home more valuable, shared by Santander on Facebook.
(2) Prospect reads a related article from Santander on how to get the best interest rates by borrowing for a home improvement project.
(3) Santander places a cookie on the reader's computer and redirects it to display ads on other sites.
(4) The prospect clicks on a graphic ad to find out more about obtaining a loan for home improvement.
(5) Prospect searches on Google. An internet search ad leads the person to the Santander website to initiate the loan application.
Abbvie Adds Authentic Aboriginal Voice to Conversation on Essential Health Care
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is not a sexy subject that elicits occasional attention or open discussion. But for those who feel isolated because of their UC symptoms, hearing from others who are managing the disease successfully can open their eyes to the benefits of treatment.
Acknowledging the value of connection with his target audience more personally than a typical commercial, Abbvie Pharmaceutical Group took up the challenge of its marketing with a series of sponsored video messages for The Los Angeles Times . Each article presents stories of patients with whom a person living with UC can probably identify. Collectively, the campaign demonstrates the brand's goal of encouraging victims to take action to achieve remission.
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10% Happier uses creativity to illustrate its value
If you're on Instagram, you'll scroll through dozens of ads every time you check your feed. But brands realize that it's harder to miss out on their promotions if they get your attention with a fun interactive activity. I recently came across a sponsored spot for the application 10% Happier, who challenged me to focus on a red dot that bounced frantically for 10 seconds in order to learn better to focus better through meditation.
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How do you intend to become Aboriginal?
These examples illustrate some ways in which native advertising can be used to help brands increase the visibility of their content, create a committed audience, and advance their marketing goals. If you have been inspired to consider this technique – or if you have questions about how to add it to your marketing mix, we would love to share your experience in the comments.
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Cover image of Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute