Why Native Advertising is a Must in 2018

May 6, 2018 Carol Forden

Why Native Advertising is a Must in 2018 – if you are not doing native advertising, you are missing out.

Native advertising is a critical element of any marketing plan today, consider the following:

615 million devices have installed ad blocker technology, and it’s across all generations.

Consumers using ad blockers want an uninterrupted, quick browsing and a streamlined user experience.

91% of total ad spend is viewed for less than a second; as a result, $38 billion in digital ad spend was wasted in 2017.

84% of consumers expect brands to create content; consumers want content from brands.

Today, a whopping 93 percent of consumers complete an online search to learn more about a company, and about 90 percent read an article about a company before they actively engage with the company.

Your marketing campaign must supplement ads that are being blocked by third-party ad blocking tools and major web browsers.

Native advertising is prime for car purchases which are high-involvement decisions and involve significant research by consumers, before purchase.

Sponsored content allows auto dealerships to engage consumers with educational and meaningful content to aid in the decision-making process.

It provides a level of depth and detail that standard pay per click (PPC, search, and banner) ad units are not capable of.

As a seller of automobiles, you are continually looking for ways to tell impactful stories to your target audience.  This is where native advertising and sponsored content converge with standard ad formats to create a more holistic narrative.

Adding video to the editorial feed will help foster dealership and brand awareness.

Whether it is in a story in the form of written content or a video, the goal is to make an ad blend inconspicuously into the user experience of the consumer.

Placing advertising in the viewer’s activity stream is a powerful way to reach audiences and when combined with video has the potential to do this effectively, and elegantly that is not disruptive to the user experience.

Native advertising allows your dealership or business the ability to amplify and extend the value from custom content. This allows the ability to tied content marketing and native amplification together throughout the consumer journey, from awareness to action to activation.

As consumers shift from desktop to tablet and mobile and decide which brands, products, and services where and how they want to spend their cash.

Custom content combined with native advertising allows brands to engage with their customers and prospects more frequently.

Marketers can now guide their target audience and prospects through the sales funnel, and map content to every stage of the sales funnel.

If you’ve been following the trends in online marketing the past few years, you are aware that Google and every marketing gurus have been saying that “Content is King” for some time now.

Over the past few years, marketers realized how to make sense of written content as a way to advertise their products that are not “interruption marketing” as Seth Godin has suggested.

The Rise of Content Marketing

The trend today and for the near future is to produce high-quality educational content that serves the needs and solves a problem for your target audience.  Content marketing is highly effective and leads to qualified leads, improved sales and brand trust.

Content marketing allows brands to engage in an ongoing relationship with prospects and existing customers, something that traditional print, radio and TV advertising cannot do.

“Content marketing is a vital part of reaching younger audiences. We know its important to authentically engage customers according to their lifestyle, especially when they are still getting to know our brand” – Andrew Fick , Group Marketing Manager, Lincoln

Native advertising allows brands a more direct way of getting their content in front of their target audience and customers to build a long-term relationship.

What is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is a form of paid advertisement; however, its function is different from PPC, search or banner ads.  Native advertising uses video or written content to tell your brand story and drive brand awareness.

Brand stories work harder for a brand when they appear on neutral platforms (YouTube, CNN, and similar) or sites owned by the advertiser.

There is some truth to this.

According to the Custom Content Council Spending Study marketers find that:

  • 72% find that branded content is more memorable and effective than magazine advertising
  • 62% believe it is more effective than TV advertising
  • 69% find that it is superior to both direct mail and public relations

What makes native advertising different is its form, it’s not a static ad or a banner, it utilizes written content or short videos to educate your target audience and current customers, on national and market-specific platforms.

The next time you are on the CNN, Money, Car, and Driver or another website, native advertising might appear as an insertion that’s written as another article on the site.  It’s an advertisement in the form of content or a video. The goal is to fit seamlessly into the stories that are around it, which is why it’s often mistaken for actual editorial content.

Native advertising is paid content that matches a publication’s editorial standards while meeting the audience’s expectations.

Think of native advertising as you would with a traditional PPC ad on the Google SERPs page one. Though they marked as an “ad,” they’re still interspersed with other “non-ads” on the page.

Marketers find that these ads are incredibly profitable and people continue to click on the articles and videos and buy these products.

Why Native Advertising is Effective

When you think of traditional PPC ads, it’s easy to ignore them and scroll past the ad.  According to Media Dynamics on an average day, a consumer is exposed to over:

  • Average number of advertisement and brand exposures per day per person: 5,000+
  • Average number of “ads only” exposures per day: 362
  • Average number of “ads only” noted per day: 153
  • Average number of “ads only” that we have some awareness of per day: 86
  • Average number of “ads only” that made an impression (engagement): 12

In 2018, If you are not doing native advertising, you are missing out

As a marketer selling a product or service or driving brand awareness, your goal is to increase engagement and break through the clutter of the hundreds of ad exposures each day.

Today, consumers  “tune out” unwanted advertisements and marketing messages.

This is where native advertising comes in.

Native advertising is proven to be effective as it provides value to its target audiences.

Native ads do not feel like advertising and consumers consume the content as they would with other content on the page.

In traditional advertising, a graphic advertisement can be ignored, as people are inundated with marketing ads throughout their day, they tune them out.

Native advertising allows brands to get their brand message through with an increased likelihood that it engaged with by the target audience.

Today, brands are embracing content marketing as a way to build a relationship with their target audience and mapping content to every stage of the sales funnel.

When you combine content marketing with native advertising, brands can have direct engagement with your target audience and customers.

What is the difference between content marketing and native advertising?

They have the same goal in mind, with the most significant difference is with content marketing the brand becomes the publisher.

Examples of great content marketers:

  • Red Bull
  • GE
  • Mint
  • GoPro

All four use native advertising to amplify their content and grow their organic audience.  Native advertising, therefore, is paid content that drives traffic to that content.

Content marketing uses blogs, podcasts, video, and social media platforms as a vehicle.  The most significant difference is native advertising is “pay to play.”

Brands pay for the ability to put their content on platforms where they believe their target audience is and will find it. Native advertising is another form of paid advertising.

The objective of content marketing focuses on owned media, placed on your website or done as a guest post on another site, versus paying for the ability to put your content on another platform. Content marketing is a long-term approach that is geared towards driving profitable customer action with owned media that educates and engages the target audience.

Content marketing is not advertising; it’s education, native advertising is distribution and amplification of your content.

What native advertising does is allow a brand to amplify its owned content and engage with their target audience on platforms (CNN, ESPN, etc.) where your audience hangs out online.

How Effective Is Native Advertising for the automotive dealer?

  1. Targeting content on sites that  feature news, arts, entertainment and sports results in 52% higher time on content
  2. Articles under 800 words have a 69% higher CTR to the dealer website
  3. Custom and amplified content has a 60% higher CTR than licensed content
  4. Showcasing vehicles accolades and reviews increased CTR by 82%
  5. Listicles incorporating video have a 7x CTR
  6. Consumers exposed to an auto dealer native ad (content) are 31% more likely to visit the dealership within 30 days.
  7. 70% of consumers want to learn about products from content rather than ads.
  8. Native content is viewed 53% more than banner ads.

In 2018, If you are not doing native advertising, you are missing outThe data suggest:

  • Consumers view native ads vs. ignoring banner ads
  • Native ads increase brand favorability
  • Native ads increase purchase intent
  • People are more likely to share  native ads (32% versus 19%)
  • People are more likely to personally identify with the advertising brand (71% versus 50%)
  • People looked at native ads the same way and for the same amount of time as they looked at original content

Types of Native advertising

You have two types of native ads.

Native ads designed exclusively for branding purposes with no expectation of immediate ROI.  The opposite is ads that are created with the intention of immediate measurable and attributable ROI.

For example would be an ad on Instagram for a car manufacturer like BMW probably isn’t going to generate immediate sales. You would measure engagement and reach as strong ROI metrics.

Native advertising is not designed to be direct response; it is more for brand building or buying/decision-making assistance. This means there is no direct intention to get an ROI-driven performance.

Nothing is being sold. Most often the call to action is to visit a landing page, website homepage or YouTube page.

How Native Advertising Works

The dealership (brand) pays for the placement of their content on content websites (platforms, e.g., CNN, ESPN, etc.) of their choice.

The brand creates content to have the same feel and look at the content on the platform that surrounds it.

The brand is “renting” the platform for amplification and distribution of their content.  The ability target the content using a  custom audience of prospects is also available.

Once the content is approved, it’s tagged with an “Advertisement” or “Paid Advertisement.”  This allows for transparency on the platform, yet the content does not disturb the user experience the way a television commercial would.  For the consumer, it’s a seamless experience.

What Native Advertising Allows Brands To Achieve

Native advertising is content distribution and amplification that allows a brand to place their content and videos in front of their target audience.

Native advertising helps eliminate that guessing game f attempting to reach your target audience; it puts your content directly where your audience is most likely to engage with it.

Examples of Native Advertising

Good native ads are content that’s about the reader or video watcher. Ultimately there’s an actionable goal for the advertiser, like opt-in to get a free report, a discount, sign up for a test drive and similar.

Below are some examples of native advertising.

Each appears to present content in a meaningful way to the target audience and reader, and are clear examples of advertising. It’s a subtle distinction, but it’s noticeable once you understand the native advertising process.

Online advertorials

For example, IBM on Atlantic:

The content is labeled as “Sponsor Content.” Other then the header and navigation bar, it is embedded among other IBM content. This is sponsored or branded content and has no clear call to action included.

In 2018, If you are not doing native advertising, you are missing out

Online video advertorials

Naturally, you can’t talk about online advertising and not talk about videos.

The video below is “sponsored” by Cricket Wireless, surprise, it’s not about Cricket Wireless.

The purpose of this video and similar like this to promote a brand image. They are created to convey your company’s personality. By aligning your brand with a cause you believe in, you are telling your audience what you stand for. These videos are raw, organic, and relatable to your audience.

Native videos are usually longer than typical video advertisements; they can be several minutes long while still engaging the consumer. Cisco’s 2016 VNI study found that “Mobile video traffic accounted for 55 percent of total mobile data traffic.” Another reason to invest in native video advertising.

Native advertising is a cost-effective way to show your brand and its values.  This type of video tells viewers that you care and make your brand appear personal and relatable.

Take advantage of the creative freedom that native advertising offers and create videos that reflect your brand.

In-feed ads

You’ve seen these widgets that recommend content from “Around the Web.”

A good example is how Slate manages their in-feed ads:

In 2018, If you are not doing native advertising, you are missing out

All these links do is push you to content on other publishing sites, with a few ads mixed in.

Advertisers only pay for the clicks on the content.

The following in-feed ad, however, is different. It has clear commercial intent.

In 2018, If you are not doing native advertising, you are missing out

The headline matches the editorial style of Slate, yet it is labeled “Sponsored.” If you click on the link, you will land on a British Airways branded page with videos that shows the evolution of the best in class airline.

Sponsored or Boosted posts (Facebook)

Below is an example fo a Facebook boosted post.

The drawback of boosted posts include the ability to check or uncheck an Instagram placement; desktop and mobile Facebook newsfeed placements are a given. Where as Facebook ads let you choose placements including Facebook newsfeeds and side ads, Instagram feeds, Instagram stories, instant articles, messenger ads, and audience network ads. You also can decide if you’d like your campaign to be shown to mobile or desktop users only.
Boosted posts can still work in your favor in specific circumstances where you want to maximize visibility of a post that you’ve published on your timeline. You may want to build social proof or brand awareness. For example, boosting a post that is shared user-generated content (UGC) that you’ve reposted, which can help win over customer trust and earn you new followers.

In 2018, If you are not doing native advertising, you are missing outMore on Sponsored posts can be found here.

Promoted Tweets

Pretty basic stuff here. Nice one from the same company who created Twitter.

In 2018, If you are not doing native advertising, you are missing out

Learn more about promoted Tweets here.

Native Advertising and SEO

Does native advertising impact search engine optimization (SEO)?

Online or digital marketing is evolving with content marketing being a valid method for generating brand exposure.  As Google and other search engines increase the use of AI and machine learning, we see a move to semantic search, and an ever so slowly move away from explicit link-building, and more towards a content marketing based approach.

Native advertising is another branch of your online marketing toolkit; it is not a be-all, end-all approach. It should be one of the tactics in your arsenal, but not the entire marketing strategy.

Native advertising is similar to guest posting, without the benefit of link building.

It gives you the ability to place your content into the hands of your target audience.

Native Advertising FAQ

Does native advertising replace content marketing?

No, native advertising has advantages, it’s not meant to replace content marketing, but to complement it. Native advertising is a great way to introduce yourself and your business to your target audience and to give them a reason to dig deeper into what is it you offer.

Content marketing is a long-term marketing plan; it is not instantaneous.

Content marketing solidifies a brand’s reputation and creates an opportunity for an ongoing relationship with customers through different media and channels including native advertising.

What are there different native advertising formats?

The different formats of native advertising include:

  • In-feed ads: sponsored content is seeded into regular content
  • Recommendation widgets: appear at the end of articles in the “sponsored content” or “recommended for you” sections
  • Promoted listings – used to encourage sponsored products and appear with other listings
  • Paid search ads – similar to promoted listings, but appear at the top of search results

Do ad blockers block native advertising?

Native ads are not blocked by ad blocking software since they’re served along with on-page regular content.

Most ads that do get caught by ad blocks are ones that have been classified as overly annoying or intrusive. However, in February 2018 Google began to block some types of ads in their Chrome browser, including some native ads.

Is there a way to measure native advertising effectiveness?

Yes, you can measure impressions, click through rate (CTR), clicks, etc. There are tools explicitly created to track your native ad analytics, two common tools used are SpyOver and Parse.ly.

Can a user tell if they’re clicking on a native ad?

Not necessarily. In fact, studies have shown that consumers often identify native ads as articles. That same study revealed some other interesting facts about native ads:

  • Consumers often are not able to  identify the brand associated with a piece of native advertising (this varies)
  • Consumers who read native ads that they identified as high quality reported a significantly higher level of trust for the sponsoring brand.
  • 48 percent have felt deceived upon realizing a piece of content was sponsored by a brand

Native Advertising in the Future

Native advertising is exploding in popularity.

I think that most brands can benefit from using native advertising as a tactic, but it shouldn’t inform your whole online marketing strategy. Anything that allows you to get your content in front of the right audience is something I think you should embrace.

Ready to get started with content marketing and native advertising?  Let’s talk about how Outsell Digital can add value to your marketing program.