It’s the talk of digital marketing conferences, at the forefront of many a blog post and fighting for the top spot in numerous digital marketing trend surveys.
Native advertising – just another buzzword of the moment or a worthwhile investment? We investigate so you don’t have to…
What is Native Advertising Anyway?
Think of native advertising as the hipster of ads. Except they’re fast becoming increasingly popular. What do I mean? Well, they’re the ‘I’m not an ad’ of ads. Huh? Native advertising means placing paid ads in front of your audience in a way that ensures they are delivered unobtrusively in your user’s social media stream – almost disguised as organic posts and yet clearly marked by brands as sponsored.
These native ads have been hailed as the perfect opportunity for digital marketers to promote their valuable content in a seamless way that doesn’t interrupt, distract or annoy fans, customers and targeted prospects.
Native Advertising Examples:
Many of the main social media channels and digital brands have adopted the native advertising model as a key component for their paid promotion platform. These include, but are not limited to:
- LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates (as shown above).
- Instagram’s Promoted Pins.
- Spotify’s Branded Playlists.
- Twitter’s Promoted Tweets
- Snapchat’s Stories.
Experts Say Native Advertising is Here to Stay:
Evidence suggests that native advertising works and will play a huge role in shaping digital marketing’s future. Some experts, including Jan Rezab, CEO of Socialbakers (a social media analytics business that works with a host of Fortune 100 companies), have even gone so far as to claim that obtrusive paid streams and push banner ads might soon become a thing of the past. Jan says,
In the future, all advertising on social media will be native in-stream ads. The right rail and banners will disappear altogether
The Case for Native Advertising (in Stats):
- 40% of social spend will go to native advertising by 2017 according to a recent BI Intelligence report.
- A native advertising campaign run by GE netted 416,000 click-throughs and reached 5.1 million people, resulting in an impressive 8% CTR.
- Native advertising generates up to an 82% increase in brand lift.
- Native ads that include rich media (like video) boost conversions by up to 60%.
The Big Benefits of Native Advertising:
Why should your brand go native? What’s in it for your business? Just how will you convince your top level management and CEO to buy into this softer advertising approach and not simply dismiss it as another passing fad?
We’ve compiled a handy list of just a few of the big benefits native advertising provides. Bring the list with you to your next board meeting for a ready-made case on why you should give native advertising a try.
1. Create a Seamless Experience:
No disruption, no distraction, no annoyance – that’s what your customers want when they’re scanning their social media feeds. Native advertising allows brands to create a seamless experience that doesn’t interrupt the flow of their social search or their daily lives.
2. It Simply Fits (Across all Channels):
Native advertising is perfect for multi-channel marketing as these non-obtrusive and natural looking ads display and function beautifully across desktop, tablets and mobile phones. Think about it – on smaller mobile screens, the stream is the experience. Native ads display across the full screen, are not platform-dependent and can be viewed in the same way normal content is consumed – after all it sits in the same stream.
3. Native Ads Perform Better than Banner Ads:
There has been much speculation about banner blindness in recent times with numerous industry experts claiming that banner ads are simply not as effective as they used to be. According to a recent report by Sharethrough consumers looked at native ads 53% more frequently than display banner ads. But it doesn’t just stop with awareness – native ads were also shown to register an 18% higher purchase intent than banner ads. Native advertising has been proven to work – it’s that simple.
A Final Thought From One of the Greatest:
Advertising legend, David Ogilvy said it best ‘It has been found that the less an advertisement looks like an advertisement, and the more it looks like an editorial, the more readers stop, look and read. Therefore, study the graphics used by editors and imitate them. Study the graphics used in advertisements, and avoid them.’
Although these words were spoken far before Facebook was invented and years ahead of the selfie revolution of late one must stop and think: why should digital be any different? People are still people and we must cater to their needs, wants and desires.
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