Native Advertising

Since there has been a lot of buzz around native advertising, we thought of writing about it. Whether you realize it or not, you actually see native advertising examples every day. It’s that streamlined version of online advertising that most consumers are familiar with. Brands are increasingly making use of native advertising for business. It has become an ideal option for marketing channels and platforms.

So how can you utilize the concept of native advertising for business? Let’s start with a basic overview of what native ads really are.

What is Native Advertising?

Native advertising refers to the pieces of sponsored content that you see on websites. Native ads look the same as the non-sponsored content that surrounds them. They are usually displayed among the other regular content on the web page. The exact format of native ads varies among different websites, though.

Native advertising should ideally be a seamless addition to a website’s content. It should not interrupt or block the reader from viewing or reading the rest of the content. On news portals or news websites, native ads appear in suggested articles or recommended additional readings at the bottom of the web page.

In some cases, they even appear as entirely sponsored articles.

An example of native advertising is Ford’s sponsorship of the Cities Project by GOOD Magazine. None of the letters posted on websites mention Ford specifically, but each site does have a small box above the ad’s title that states “Presented by Ford”. This is a fantastic way for Ford to get its brand name on multiple platforms across the internet, without making the ads appear like the traditional forms of advertisements or interrupting the audience’s experience in any way.

Native advertising is also done on social media. Native ads on Twitter, for instance, appear as promoted tweets. On Facebook and Instagram, they appear as sponsored posts. On Youtube, native advertising shows up as featured videos. On most social media platforms, native ads are distinguished by words like “sponsored” or “promoted”, but appear right in the users’ newsfeed.

Why Should You Use Native Advertising for Business?

Native advertising has a unique nature. It has benefits for both businesses and their customers. It gives website visitors and social media users a natural way to read marketing content that they may relate to. Native ads also allow businesses to target large audiences and engage their potential customers.

Benefits of Native Ads for Customers

One of the most significant benefits of native advertising is that native ads are well-received by viewers. They are integrated in a way that feels natural to website visitors. They are not disruptive in nature like traditional banner ads or pop-up ads. They do not give the cluttered feeling that other forms of advertising might create.

Internet users appreciate this approach of native advertising and do not get annoyed by it. A survey conducted by HubShout revealed that 85% of users said native ads did not hinder their internet browsing experience. 66% of the survey respondents said they found links in native ads to suggested content that they found helpful. They said the sponsored content complemented the non-sponsored content and provided value.

Benefits of Native Advertising for Businesses

Businesses can target their marketing campaigns to the right users through native advertising. Native ads can be easily formatted to feel and look natural. This means they can be highly effective in driving engagement from internet users. In the same survey by Hubshout as mentioned above, 67% of participants said they were more likely to click and view a sponsored post than a banner ad. This means native ads have the potential to increase your campaign’s click-through rate, thus driving more leads for your business.

This is probably because through native advertising, you can reach a very specific and targeted audience that can highly relate to the content you are promoting. People like to engage with content that they can resonate with. That’s why using native advertising for business helps you save time and money that you would otherwise consume in advertising to audiences that are not really interested in your product or service. Native advertising allows you to spend your resources to attract people who have a high possibility of converting to your customers.

Native advertising is also an incredible way of connecting with the audience on the mobile internet. More people browse websites and social media apps on their phones than on desktop computers or laptops these days. Social media content is often consumed in the news feed of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn apps. By placing native ads on these platforms, businesses have a chance to connect with the widespread users of these apps.

Tips to Use Native Advertising for Business

If you run native advertising campaigns in the right manner, you can engage your audience with your brand in a way that does not make them feel like they are viewing paid ads. Here are a few practical ways of using native advertising for business and marketing.

1. Choose the Correct Platform

The first thing you need to select is the most suitable platform to do native advertising for business. The platform, app, or website that you choose must have content on it that’s relevant to your business. For example, if you are selling clothing and accessories, running native ads on LinkedIn would pretty much be irrelevant. But if you are promoting human resource and recruitment-related services, you can run a native advertising campaign on LinkedIn to attract traffic to your landing page.

 Instagram feed of a clothing line business embedded on website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

2. Post Content That Your Audience Will Like

You would probably have an idea about the kind of content your audience likes to see. If you don’t, try to put yourself in the mind of your buyer persona. Browse the internet pretending to be your ideal customer. What kind of pages will they visit? What kind of content will they like to read? What kind of videos will they prefer to watch? Answer these questions in your mind as you browse through. If you create native ads keeping these answers in mind, your native advertising strategy will be more successful.

mobile screenshot of a native ad on a website

Image taken from Strikingly

3. Be Clear That the Native Ads are Sponsored

Native advertising could be misleading. Do not try to post native ads as unsponsored content. Even though you will be unobtrusively displaying your native ads, you should make it clear to the audience that they are paid ads. When you disclose that your content is a paid ad, users will feel the freedom whether to click on it or not. They will not feel betrayed like they would if they found out later that they clicked on a sponsored piece of content that was not labeled as “sponsored”, “paid” or “promoted”.

a native ad in a user's Facebook app newsfeed

Image taken from Facebook

When people are aware that the content they are clicking on and viewing is sponsored, they form a positive impression about your brand.

4. Always Start Small

If the concept of native advertising is new to you, it is best to start small with it. Don’t run too many native ads all of a sudden to the point that you get overwhelmed. Do not try to launch a big campaign overnight either. Take your time to familiarize yourself with the concept. Set up your native ads carefully. Continue building your organic traffic in the meantime. Provide value to your followers and subscribers through regular posts on social media.

Instagram feed of a food and catering business embedded on its website

Image taken from Strikingly user's website

When you start using native advertising for business, you will notice that your native ads can reach huge audiences. In your first couple of campaigns, you will realize the worth and effectiveness of this technique. Take things slow and try to evaluate your campaigns thoroughly. Then design new native advertising campaigns to drive more traffic and engagement towards your brand.

The ideal way is to begin with one or two sponsored posts. Monitor the reach and engagement brought about by these initial ads. Compare the results to your organic posts. This way, you can get a sense and estimate of what native advertising can help you achieve for your business.

5. Run Native Ads on Your Own Website

The best way to evaluate native advertising campaigns is to run native ads on your own brand website. Let’s say you have a website built on Strikingly.

Strikingly landing page

Image taken from Strikingly

Strikingly is a website-building platform that allows you to create attractive, professional web pages in minutes. If you run native ads on your Strikingly website, you can track the impact of these ads on your website traffic.

From the Strikingly dashboard, click ‘Stats’ right below your website’s name. Here you can see how many people visit your website each day.

Strikingly user's website stats

Image taken from Strikingly

By comparing the number of visitors before and after posting the native ads, you can analyze the difference and effectiveness of these ads in driving traffic to your site.

However, to properly evaluate these ads’ effectiveness, you must analyze how many people actually click on them to visit the page they are meant to be directed to. This can be checked in your ad analytics, which you can access on the platform to set the ads. For example, if you run Google Ads, you can view the results in Google Analytics. If you use Facebook for native advertising, you can see the results in Facebook Ad Analytics.

Either way, you will notice that native advertising is much more effective than the other traditional means of digital advertising. That’s why we recommend that, if you haven’t already, you should start using native advertising for business.