Advertising is an age-old concept that was probably formed to force people to think about brands or products or even services that they would normally not think about. In today’s times, we have a variety of media to do this work, and digital is fast becoming number one in terms of spending and marketing budget allocations. Among digital advertising approaches, native advertising is a popular concept that brands have found to be effective and deliver better ROIs.
Simply put, a native advertisement is a paid approach that takes on the natural form and function of the page where it is displayed, unlike standard banners that tend to stand out. A very good example of a native ad would be a paid video content on YouTube. It would be difficult to make out if the video is an ad unless it is declared, or its content makes it obvious. A lot of advertisers have adopted this approach because of the merits of native advertising.
- Great opportunity for creative exposure for the brand/advertiser
- Ad can be displayed in the format that users are historically known to enjoy on the website
- It outperforms traditional or standard ads by getting more visibility and a higher rate of interaction from users
Today, one can find several types of native advertisements – content recommendation engine widgets, promoted listings used by e-commerce websites, paid search ads, in-feed units, contextual advertising, and in-ad with native elements. It is important to remember that the concept of native ads was born as a solution to ad fatigue and banner blindness. The focus of such ads is on merging with the page and delivering the brand’s message, and in this way, it increases the views and engagement with users.
As native ads have gained popularity, there are certain myths that have become associated with the concept too. Advertisers and publishers alike need to be aware of this before they make native ads a part of their overall content strategy.
Myth #1: Native Advertising is deceptive
One of the first myths that need to be busted about native advertising is that it deceives the user. This misconception stems from the fact that native ads match the format of the page they are displayed on. Native ads can be called non-invasive because they do not scream for attention on a page and subtly blend into the overall format.
However, it is important to remember that all ads are intrusive.As per the current digital legal framework,a publisher must declare every ad that it puts on the website. Also, failure to disclose an ad would also cause readers or users to lose trust in the content being published. What native ad does accomplish is, instead of bombarding consumers with irrelevant ads designed solely to drive response, native delivers high-quality creative content in a variety of formats which tells an intriguing and well-crafted brand story. If done correctly almost 86% audience will respond to it and this makes native ads worth the investment.
Myth #2: Native Advertising is Only about Branded Content
It is easy to confuse between the two concepts because fundamentally they are the same. They work on the same principle of telling a brand’s story through creative content. However, the difference between the two lies in the execution. Native advertising is a method of distributing content through a network of publishers. In content marketing, the goal is to build a defined customer audience and drive profitable customer action. The brand owns, distributes, and controls the content, which contributes to a larger overall marketing strategy. Brands also do this on their own platforms, meaning they are not “renting” ad space from publishers.
Myth #3: Native Advertising helps to achieve only Performance KPIs
The very concept of advertising and marketing for any brand is to achieve the end goal of sales. Whether they undertake a vanilla branding campaign on a social platform or with a publisher or drive a performance campaign, they want customers to ultimately make a purchase.
Most of the digital advertising’s success is based on Return on Investment. If x amount was spent on an advertising campaign, were the resulting sales enough to justify it? Although the campaign could result in clicks that ultimately lead to a sale, native advertising does more than just drive that click. Its effectiveness is best seen in the upper layers of the marketing funnel where the objectives range from creating brand awareness to building brand perception and influencing purchase decisions.
Conventional digital advertising struggles with overcoming ad fatigue, the constant barrage of in-your-face ads which ultimately results in the ad itself becoming a blind spot for the user. Native advertising breaks this fatigue and blindness by integrating with the consumer’s content experience. Moreover, it enables brands to build a narrative that takes readers and viewers on a journey, through a series of ads that tell a story. Finally, it is good to run your native advertising campaign across multiple networks. This allows you to reach wider audiences across premium publishers with better, focused targeting.
Myth #4: Native Advertising cannot be Programmatic
Digital media is constantly evolving, and we now have an approach called programmatic native. The combination of native ad units with programmatic buying on conceptual, technological, and strategic levels offers brands the ability to integrate their communications into two crucial facets of effective advertising: personalization and relevance.By leveraging machine learning and contextual signals, programmatic native ads can be tailored to both the user and the placement at scale, resulting in better performance for advertisers. You can buy Native via Google DV360 or any DSP. The additional layering of targeting can also be applied at a campaign level.
Myth #5: Native Advertising cannot be scaled
The continued advancement in advertising technology has remarkably improved native’s scaling capabilities. The rise of programmatic ad buying software means that media buyers can accurately and efficiently buy native ad placements at scale. The mass scale is also possible thanks to the availability of traffic via DV 360 on global networks like MGID. As AdTech continues to develop in conjunction with more widespread industry recognition, the scale will become more easily attainable.
As you bust myths about native advertising and consider making them a part of your digital marketing strategy, it is imperative to evaluate whether you have enough material or content for native ads. Also, when you do decide to do native ads you should seek the right partner or platform, whether it is a publisher or a content distributor.
Authored article by Pankaj Sharma, Country Head, MGID India.