Native advertising doesn't have to be complicated. Here are a few tips on how to make it work best for you.
We’ve talked before about the effectiveness of native advertising — a form of paid media where the advertising experience follows the natural form and function of an editorial site. Now let’s take a look at a few of the best practices associated with this discipline.
Context and Alignment
The first rule to observe in creating a native ad is to make sure that it’s contextually relevant to the surrounding editorial content in which it’s embedded. A study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealed that a whopping 96% of those surveyed viewed this issue of contextual relevance as “very important.”
Engagement is more likely if your ads are placed on sites your audience already visits and uses. You can tailor your content to fit contextually into a lot of different platforms, but some are more naturally aligned with your message and point of view. In some cases, context can outperform user targeting for campaigns.
Look The Part—And Get To The Point
The same ANA survey revealed that a significant majority of those surveyed said that it was important for native ad formats to “look” like surrounding editorial content, as well as act like that content upon engagement. Here again, contextual relevance promotes that kind of interaction.
Beyond look and context, little things such as the nature of your headlines really come into play. We’ve found that the first three words of a headline can make or break a reader’s propensity to engage with your content. Don’t bury the headline; get to the point. Be active and direct. And we’ve also discovered that “numbered list” headlines (for example: “Five Ways to Fix Your Mobile Security”) really seem to resonate with audiences.
Visuals, like infographics can generate 30 times more traffic than pure text. That said, your body text needs to engage your audience and drive users to the call-to-action. Make sure the landing page you drive users to delivers on the promise of your call-to-action.
Engage First, Sell Later
The best way to approach native advertising is to stop thinking about advertising, and start thinking about engagement. Our research at UBM has consistently revealed that IT buyers become easily turned off by an overtly sales-oriented message from the get go. But provide them with context, nurture their understanding of the technology landscape, and it becomes much easier to ultimately sell your product or solution down the road.
The quality of the content you provide—and, of course, the context—is paramount. If the content is useful and provides valuable information that educates your audience, then you’ve done your job. And remember that quality content presented in a native ad can really compel people to share it on social media.
Native ads are the perfect venue for sharing your company’s story and messages. Here’s where we can help at UBM. Partner Perspectives is a native advertising program that gives you the opportunity to inject thought leadership and insight within the context of our trusted editorial communities. And our Native Content Distribution units are assimilated into our site design to ensure that your content looks cohesive with our editorial. Check them out, and see for yourself.