If you have no idea what native advertising is, it may be the final proof that it works.
Advertising is so conventional in our lives that we probably do not see it anymore. Native advertising is a kind of ad that borns as paid content, but you do not perceive it as a commercial.
It is subtle, yet compelling. Let’s see what is and how native advertising works.
If so, just keep reading!
What Is Native Advertising And Why It Works
The term “native” identifies something that is not extraneous from the context. In the case of native adv, accordong to Dan Greenbourg, Founder and CEO of Sharethrough, its definition is:
“A type of paid media that fits the form and function of the user experience on the site or app in which they’re placed. In short, they’re ads that fit in.”
Long story short, you can define native as paid content. The scheme is pretty simple – someone can create a piece of content; a brand can buy it and promote it through different kinds of platforms.
Usually, the first question people may ask is in which this kind of advertising is different from a classic advertorial, a type of advertising which has nothing disruptive or innovative.
The two kinds of advertising are structurally different because the advertorial does not blend into the context as well as the native does. Simply put, you can easily spot an advertorial, while being native is a bit more complicated.
The real native advertising is seamlessly aligned and incorporated with the style of the medium – and with the medium itself – that hosts it. It is an immersive experience that does not make the user distracted from what he is looking at.
The product, the way of sponsoring it, the type of content it is, and how it is placed on the website do not interfere with the viewer’s experience. It is contextual. It does not scream on your face, it is way more discrete and, for some people, more enjoyable.
It provides valuable information that the audience expects, and that makes them feel interested, which does not always happen with traditional advertising.
Now, you may believe that content marketing and native advertising are pretty much the same. Content marketing, too, provides exciting pieces of content and bits of knowledge to make the audience feel engaged and create the awareness – and possibly conversions – grow. So, what’s the difference?
Content marketing embraces a broader project, with long-term goals, and it does not only want to create conversions.
In content marketing, you can have several goals; for instance, brand awareness, customer engagement, lead. It is only a part of a long, complicated process in which content is a gear – an important one, but still not the main focus of the plan.
Moreover, another crucial difference is the owner of the pieces of content. In the case of native advertising, the medium or the author are not necessarily the owner of the piece of content. In content marketing, a brand decides which material to select, how to plan it, and how to distribute it, but it all is about the brand itself.
This kind of advertising works like a charm because it does not bother the users. It does not break the flow of the experience with banners or poorly targeted announcements – or worse, pop-ups. Reports say that native have higher CTR when confronted with other kinds of advertising.
Native Advertising – A Useful Yet Controversial Tool
It may all seem incredibly cool and immersive, and it is, but there is the other side of the coin to consider.
Native advertising works because of its utility and subtlety, but these elements are also two of the most criticized characteristics of it.
Some marketers believe that native advertising, because of its immersive aspects, is not entirely transparent with customers.
They claim that native is vague advertising that does not allow customers to understand they are facing an actual commercial instead of a classic piece of content. For instance, with advertorials, magazines and brands say clearly that this is a sponsored content.
Many publishers are worried that native advertising could damage users’ trust, and not all consumers are conquered by its flow, too:
“The Federal Trade Commission is considering implementing regulatory measures on brands using native ads to promote their products, and the FTC has also indicated it may monitor the market closely to ensure that native advertising is being used in a manner that benefits consumers. The American Society of Magazine Editors has also called for greater transparency and oversight when it comes to native advertising.”
So, where does the truth lie? Probably, in just knowing that, like every communication tool, what makes them good or bad is the kind of use people make of it. If you are honest with your audience, it will not matter so much which type of tool you are using to tell them about you.
Some Ways To Integrate Native Advertising In Your Strategy
Now that we know what Native Advertising is and why it is so powerful, it is time to understand how to integrate it into our marketing strategies.
Of course, you can not use it as you do with your content marketing plan – it is a new tool, so you need new rules.
Let’s see together some of the most common ways of introducing native advertising in digital strategies. You may use all of them or just a couple but, if you are going to personalize them and craft the messages the right way, they can be a revolution for your marketing department.
Moreover, each of these ways to do native is adaptable to several platforms, from social media to blog posts, and each of them has its unique way of hosting native ads. We are going to see some examples in a minute.
- In-Feed. These are the insertions that you can find on the feed of your favorite websites, from social media to online magazines.
You can spot them because they are tagged as a promoted post, even if the content they provide is virtually the same as the other posts, and they blend without any particular issue. An example of them is sponsored posts by Facebook and Twitter.
- Paid search. It is the classic one that has to do with SERP. Native has become quite fashionable to be first on the query.
Brands yearn to be in the first position on Google, and they can pair it with native advertising.
- Promoted listing. Do you remember the last time you bought something from Amazon, and you received several pieces of advice about similar articles on the bottom of the page? It is an example of a promoted listing in native advertising.
You can use this feature even with editorial content, for example, with recommendation widgets that suggest similar reader articles to the one he just finished reading.
- In-ad. This kind of native marketing is the most similar to the old banners that none of us like anymore. The main difference with classic banners is that in-ads are coherent with the themes and the topics of the platform, which makes it informative and less annoying than out of context ones.
- Personalized content. It is probably the most known type of native ad. It is here that we find sponsored posts, according to our research history and interests.
However, there is so much more – have you ever used a filter by a brand on your IG stories? Here you go.
- Display. Are you surprised? Even traditional advertising can be reused for native ads. Again, what makes them unique is that they are “contextually relevant to the site they appear on and the content they appear next to.”
4 Examples Of Native Advertising By Popular Brands
After some tips and ideas on which channels to use, it is time for our favorite part – see what other brands did with native advertising.
We selected four examples of some of the most exciting brands worldwide to see how they acted and, who knows, maybe to look for some new tips!
- Netflix on the Wall Street Journal. Let’s begin with one brand that always surprises with its way of advertising. There is almost no campaign by Netflix that is not a case history. The example has to do with the airing of the show Narcos. Netflix collaborated with the Wall Street Journal “to create an interactive portal exploring the history of the international drug trade”.
The project featured several elements, such as interactive maps, articles, and a quiz. In this way, the two brands took the best from each other and developed a new and informative portal to create a hype around the show.
- Ikea on The Telegraph. As we were saying, native advertising is a great way to increase even more a brand’s awareness, also if you are Ikea – one of the most beloved brands worldwide.
The brand developed a quiz on The Telegraph that gave readers some tips on how to get a good night’s sleep. In this way, they used an accessible format as a quiz to provide useful bits of information, with the formula of the alphabet – from A to Z, 26 pieces of advice on how to sleep better.
- Taco Bell on Snapchat. This one is an excellent example of how to use also social media for native advertising. In this case, Taco Bell decided to sponsor Snapchat Lens for Cinco De Mayo 2016.
The result was a filter with the image of a Taco Bell that people could use for their snaps. In this way, people were able to make a video of themselves with their faces like a giant Taco Bell – with the brand’s name well visible on the left corner, of course.
- Oreo on YouTube and Facebook. About a year ago, the world was waiting with bated breath for the end of one of the most popular shows of the decade. Game of Thrones has been an incredibly huge phenomenon, and it is evident that brands wanted to take advantage of it.
The show decided to collaborate with several brands to launch different kinds of campaigns. In particular, Oreo decided to “re-create the Game of Thrones opening using 2,750 pieces of cookies to promote the limited edition Game of Thrones title sequence.” The video aired on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, collecting more than 4 million views in total.
Have you implemented native advertising in your digital strategy? How did it go?
Native advertising is a kind of paid media that fits the form and function of the format in which marketers place them.
It is different from advertorial because this one does not blend into the context as well as the native does
It is controversial, but many brands already use it successfully and there are several campaigns in which it worked very well.