You’ve probably heard the term “native advertising” thrown about lately. Before your mind starts to conjure images from Indiana Jones, we wanted to explain the differences between native advertising and the more traditional banner/sidebar ads. Native advertising has been deemed as one of the latest breakthroughs in online advertising, because of the particular way it interacts with the customer and how successful it can be at getting your message across.
So what is it?
Native advertising is advertising on a social media platform that fits seamlessly within the content feed of that platform instead of being relegated to top, bottom, or side, as has been done traditionally. For example, think of the Facebook feed ads that have sprung up over the past year. As you’re scrolling down your feed, it is easy to mistake one of these ads for the post of a friend. Another example, if you’re a magazine reader, is the new batch of ads that have sprung up, which feature interesting content or tips in the ad itself, making it hard to distinguish between what is the actual magazine content and what is an ad. In either case, you might start to read an interesting story, get to the bottom, and realize that it’s related to a product that is being advertised to you.
It Boosts Engagement
Because of its format, native advertising boosts engagement dramatically. This is because online users have been conditioned to ignore ads when they appear separately from content – our eyes find the content and ignore the rest. If the advertisement is disguised as content, users don’t have this automatic dismissal. With their guard down, users can process the advertising without discrimination, judging it on its own merits. Some users find native advertising intrusive, but the problem can be overcome by making sure the content is targeted to the platform’s user base correctly.
It Encourages Interaction
Along with boosting engagement, native advertising also encourages interaction. Because it appears in the interactive part of the content platform, where they are used to communicating with their friend, users will be more likely to respond to native advertising. This could constitute anything from a “Like” of the ad, to becoming a fan of the brand’s page, to going to the actual company website for more information, to ordering a product. Think of it this way: because of the way native advertising is set up, the user is engaged and willing to participate – where you take him/her from there depends on your marketing skill.
It’s Still Content Marketing
The most important thing we want to stress is that native advertising is still content marketing. In fact, having interesting, unique content is the crucial part (aside from mere positioning on the page) of making advertising appear native, because it adds a human component to something that is supposed to be human. So, while native is a new form of advertising, you’ll derive the most benefit from it by integrating it in your current content marketing strategy.