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Native Uncovered

Written by Jemma | 14-Jun-2016 14:51:00

There is a lot of noise around native advertising, but what does it all mean? Should you consider native for your next digital campaign? equimedia have been running native for a while, for various industries and brands. Here we aim to uncover the facts for you.

What is native advertising?

The term ‘native advertising’ refers to an ad that looks and feels like it belongs in its surroundings. These ads are the chameleon of the advertising world and everyone will likely have seen a native ad; these ads are distinguishable by a subtle comment, such as ‘sponsored by…’ or ‘paid for promotion’.

You may have heard native being referred to by a number of names such as ‘content marketing’, ‘advertorial’ and ‘in-feed ads’. In its simplest form, a sponsored post in your Facebook newsfeed is a native ad. 
Native ads don’t just look and feel like the content you are digesting, if done right, they should be relevant to the content you are looking at.

These ads are mixed in with information that the user is actively digesting, during their leisure or research time.

Native advertising can refer to a number of formats:

  • Sponsored content – content that has been paid for by an advertiser in order to increase engagement and readership on content relating to their brand message or promotion. This will often include a call to action directing a user to a conversion landing page, so that the user can make a converting action such as buying a product or signing up to a newsletter.

  • In-feed ad units – these are adverts that again fit into their surroundings. Instead of taking you to content hosted on a publishers site, unlike sponsored content, you are directed immediately to a landing page of the advertiser when you click on the ad, in the same way you would if you were to click on a display banner. Facebook ads, boosted posts, promoted tweets and buyable pins etc. are all examples of in-feed ads.

  • Paid search units – effectively PPC ads can be classified as native ads due to way that the ad fits into the SERP (search engine results page). Some search engines have created other versions of native ads that look more like in-feed ad units and include images.

  • Recommended widgets – these are the ads that you will most likely to have noticed. The often are a series of images and headlines that fit under the title ‘recommended for you’, ‘from around the web’ and ‘what you have missed’. These are commonly seen on news sites. 

  • Promoted listings – Generally you will notice these on shopping sites and in shopping search engines, these are products that should be relevant to items that you have purchased, shown on sites that you are able to purchase from. Google shopping is an example of this type of ad.

Screenshot example of Google shopping results page

Why should I consider native advertising?

Typically banner adverts are positioned to be inconspicuous, so to not interrupt and annoy the user. I am a true believer that by using a native ad you are reaching a user in their down time, at a point that they are ready to be influenced and consume information.

Native advertising doesn’t mean that your creative budget needs to increase, often you require an image or video of a specific size and a few lines on copy or content that you want to promote. All forms of native advertising, no matter where they are published, must include a clear label that tells the user that this ad has been paid for, giving full transparency.

One preconception is that a user will feel misled or conned into reading content that has been paid for, however only 
33% of users have claimed to feel disappointed or deceived if they later discover that content has been sponsored by a company or a brand. Younger users are less likely to feel duped by sponsored content as they regularly consume content on sites that are full of this type of thing, such as BuzzFeed, and are more open to native advertising on news brands. In the UK, 13% of 18–24 year olds say they feel more positive towards the brand after seeing this type of ad.

Is native for me?

Even on a small budget you can test native advertising to see how it will work for you. Traditional banner ads are dimly viewed by some consumers and can be seen as invasive as they can break the flow of a user’s online experience; resulting in the growth of ad blocking. Native ads are not immune to the effects of ad blocking; however 65% of the UK base that were surveyed, 
claim to have seen sponsored content.

As the creative ad needed is easy to build and the low test budgets needed, this marketing tactic is open for all to test to see how it can work for your brand.

But does Native produce results?

We have vast experience running brand awareness and direct response campaigns for a range of our clients spanning the charity, financial services and FMCG sectors. These campaigns have incorporated a range of formats from video to those that are more written content orientated, all of which have driven strong results, exceeding forecast.

One particular charity campaign aimed at driving information downloads surpassed the client’s expectations, delivering over 3,000 downloads at a cost per download of just £1.42. So therefore my answer would be yes, native does deliver strong results and with ad-blocking increasing, well planned native campaigns are likely to continue to grow in popularity. You may be reading this thinking “but what if my KPI is brand awareness, measured via front end metrics such as clicks, impressions and video views?” That is not a problem as like other display channels, there are a range of ways in which we can buy the media, whether that is a cost per click (CPC), cost per 1000 impressions (CPM) or a cost per video view (CPV) and we can optimise campaigns based on these metrics to ensure client targets are met or exceeded.

So what are you waiting for?

To find out how we can help you reach your targets via Native 
please get in touch.