5 Native Advertising Tips for Brands Looking to Make a Change

Before working through native advertising tips, you must first understand why native advertising is so effective. According to a recent presentation at the IAB conference:

  • 60 percent of consumers have positive feelings toward native advertising.
  • 69 percent of marketers see native ads as valuable.
  • Good native ads on mobile get 3 times more attention than standard ads.

The first statistic alone should be staggering. When have you ever heard of consumers thinking fondly of any advertisements? Let alone a majority of consumers?

Native advertising has been booming. A BIA/Kelsey report claims that by 2017 spending on native advertising is slated to be $6.4 billion USD. Traditional spending? Only $4.57 billion.

If you’re not already using native ads, you should be seriously considering getting started. And here are a few native advertising tips to help you do just that.

native advertising tips brands title

Good Native Ads Tell a Story

Traditional ads tell people to buy things. Native ads provide something of value for consumers, building brand recognition and a relationship that pays off in the future. And since everyone loves a good story, why not give the people something entertaining?

native advertising tips entertained
This guy gets it. Image from makeameme.org

A good story and good native ads have a beginning, a middle and an end. A true plot. What this actually looks like depends heavily on the medium you’re using. On Facebook, you might post a sponsored article or video. On Snapchat, you might string together pictures and videos as part of your Snapchat Story. On Twitter, you might create a series of tweets. On Vine, you can enjoy the challenge of telling a story in mere seconds.

Create a Workable Formula for Your Native Ads

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed thinking of the possibilities and the requirements of so many formats and platforms. It’s true that variety is good, but consistency is even better. Look for ways to streamline and scale the native ad process.

Keep churning out that content goodness! via GIPHY

Granted, there will be some experimentation as you try out videos, infographics, articles, images and platforms. But when you find a winner, scale it. Infographics work well with your audience? Make some more! Short instructional videos highly effective? Keep it up!

As long as you are providing something interesting and useful to the consumer (and including your promotional brand message at the same time), your successful technique should be able to play over and over again with just a bit of refreshing.

Balance Entertainment and Promotion

The best native ads don’t feel like ads. Consider a native advertisement on Facebook. That ad may appear in the consumer’s feed as a “sponsored article”. That sponsored article is about the same things the consumer likes to read about. He clicks on the article and enjoys reading about his favorite topic. Because you’ve given him something he finds valuable, whether it’s entertainment or information, he doesn’t mind the promotional message.

This works with videos as well. Consider Redbull’s action-packed videos.

Redbull doesn’t show their product anywhere in the video. Instead, they showcase wild aerial stunts and exciting maneuvers…with their logo on the parachute, or the plane, or the sky-surfer’s helmet. Consumers watch for the death-defying stunts, and come away with significant brand recognition and identity.

Accept a Long-Term Approach to Native Advertising

While it’s common to see success in the short term, the complex nature of creating native advertisements means you’ll need to be patient. While you’re waiting to build up a full network of native advertisements and their rewards, use your time and budget to tweak and improve your ads. Think of it as being a great chef; you tweak and adjust the ingredients to best suit your clients’ tastes.

native advertising tips cooking
Image from howstuffworks.com

Your target audience will need time and good material to warm up to your presence. Build your presence slowly and with good material to build trust in your brand and results will build right alongside that consumer comfort.

Fortunately, most platforms that deal in native advertising include real-time feedback on the effectiveness of the advertisements. Couple that feedback with the means to make small changes and do a bit of experimentation in the CMS of your editorials and articles and you’ll have a terrific means to educate yourself and maneuver into a sweet spot of marketing.

Disclose Your Native Ads Correctly

Perhaps the most important of the native ad tips, it is imperative that you mark and disclose your native advertisements correctly. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has made it clear that they are keeping a close eye on native advertisements to ensure publishers and brands are being forthright and honest in their dealings with consumers.

Consider the nature of good native ads: They engage the consumer. They blend in with other content the consumer likes. They sell things subtly. This could be a recipe for disaster if a consumer feels deceived or tricked into buying something unethically or illegally.

So the FTC wants you to mark your native advertisements clearly.

The FTC Building. Photo by Carol Highsmith / Public Domain
The FTC Building. Photo by Carol Highsmith / Public Domain

Mary Engle, the FTC’s Associate Director of Advertising Practices, explains, “I don’t think it’s inherently deceptive any more than an infomercial is inherently deceptive.” But she goes on to warn marketers, “An ad is deceptive if it misleads a significant percentage of consumers.”

Her advice to marketers? “I would urge advertisers to think about how to communicate [disclosure] to consumers while wanting the ad to be in the flow of what consumers are seeing,”

So there you have it. A clearly legible, obviously noted disclosure of “sponsored content” or “advertisement” should go right along with your native ads to avoid falling into the sticky mire of an FTC investigation.

Putting Native Advertising Tips to Work

Now that you’re armed these valuable native advertising tips to help guide you, it’s time to go to work. Creating a native ad campaign can be daunting, but we’ll be available to walk you through every step of the campaign. Soon you too can be enjoying the fruits of native ad effectiveness. Learn more here.

If you have any questions about these tips, just ask! We’d be happy to explain in further detail.

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