Navigating the Lure of Native Advertising

True confessions time. How many of you have been drawn in by native advertising, and would you know if you were? While many disagree on the true definition of native advertising, some might sum it up as what was previously known as an advertorial.

If you recall the advertorial, you’ll probably also remember that the content was often sales-driven and its effect anything but subtle. In contrast, native advertising could be called the ultimate camouflage for advertorial, being miles away from the canned sales content of before.

Today’s native advertising regularly blurs the lines between real and promoted with content that looks and reads like other content on the page. In fact, its effects blend so well with existing content that readers often finish reading before they realize it’s not real copy. To be fair, these native ads are labeled as promotional but the fun factor typically negates any promotional feel.

Considered More Effective than the Banner Ad

If you are a fan of the BuzzFeed format of bulleted lists and quizzical “did you know” posts, there’s a good chance that you’ve been unintentionally drawn in by a native ad. Really, who can resist posts such as the Top 8 Things you didn’t know about Star Wars or 80s Child Stars: Where are they now? When done well, the promoted copy and graphics of the native ads not only welcome you in but also provide an element of fun.

The acceptance of native ads also continues to grow. What was once considered as one of the more low-brow forms of sales has now become one of its hottest. The use of native ads can be regularly seen from social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to more “reputable” business publications including Time, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.

Be Subtle and Blend In

The effectiveness of a native ad relies on having the same look as the platform it’s used on. For instance, the native ad will feature the same template format, font, and colors as the existing natural content of the blog, article, or post. It’s also a great way to improve branding.

The medium is considered to be so effective that Search Engine Journal is calling it one of the top three digital marketing trends of the year. For most, the enjoyment from the content of a native ad far outweighs the fact that it’s promoted copy. But when done poorly, the practice evokes the consumer scorn and many of the previous arguments against using advertorials. In cases such as this, it’s a tricky balance requiring content and images that blend seamlessly with the existing page content and quality of presentation that’s never manipulative or sounds like a sales pitch.

Uses for Native Ads

  • • In-feed native ads
  • • Content recommendation widgets
  • • Custom content
  • • Search
  • • Promoted listings

As you’ve heard many times before, the content remains king, but don’t limit your business’ content to only words. Keep ahead of the curve with various forms of content that speak to your audience through copy, video, mobile, and search engine optimization. Talk to the search engine marketing specialists at Rank Fuse Digital Marketing about creating an optimized marketing plan.