Want to extend your brand and keep customers engaged? Go native.
Marketers are always looking for new and innovative ways to get their messages out to potential customers. One of the exciting ways to do just that is a phenomenon known as native advertising, which continues to increase in popularity year over year.
Native advertising is a type of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. One type is publisher-produced brand content, oftentimes an “advertorial” or paid placement attempting to look like an article.
At UBM, we focus on content marketing, with the belief that quality content connects with people and helps to engage existing and new customers. By any measure, content marketing is a form of native advertising, placing sponsor-funded content alongside editorial content.
Camouflage Your Message
Like a chameleon changing color to adapt to its environment, the beauty of the best native advertising is that it’s sometimes indistinguishable from the environment in which it appears. As Daniel Wilkerson points out in a recent blog that appeared on the MarketingProfs site, the term “native” refers to the content’s coherence with other media on a given platform. As he points out—and we agree—the way to approach native advertising is to stop thinking about advertising and start thinking more about engagement.
Let’s face it: other than occasionally finding an advertisement humorous or entertaining, most people have a general distaste for ads. They know that more often than not the message they’re being sold is propagated by advertisers to tout their products and services. Objectivity tends to fly out the window.
But really good native advertising overcomes this potential hurdle simply by being less intrusive. If done correctly, native advertising enhances a user’s experience and engagement, making it possible for brands to be associated with positive online experiences.
Native advertisements generate sharing on social media in much the same way as well-written editorials. And because of the higher audience engagement that good native advertising provides, it creates a substantially higher click-through rate compared to other forms of digital advertising.
Quality Content Rules
Since the basis of native advertising is providing content in keeping with other content on a given website, the quality of the content you provide, and the context in which it’s delivered, is paramount.
And so our second tip is to provide additional value in a similar format as other content on a site. Sell too hard or fail to present your content in a reasonably objective, contextual manner, and you can actually harm or brand and your attempts to engage.
Misleading readers or overtly tricking them into engaging with your message can have a negative fallout. Some consumers view these advertisements as annoying instead of useful, because they recall the days of the “in-your-face” advertorial.
If the content is truly useful and provides helpful information that educates your audience, then your native advertisement can have real legs. So go native. Know your audience, know the platform you’re targeting and—above all—provide quality content that connects.