Your Actionable Guide to Native Ads
You can now make use of native ads to display your product on top websites’ pages in a less intrusive way. And furthermore, compared to regular display ads, native ads are way more subtle, with an average CTR almost 3x higher.
Therefore, you can access a tool that can drive more quality traffic to your website without worrying that you are spamming your audience.
What is Native Advertising? (and how does it work?)
Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad mimics the design of the website it gets displayed on, blending in with the rest of the content.
Basically, a native ad copies the design of the website and makes it look like the ad is just regular content. They are by far the most non-intrusive ad format, which is one of the main reasons they work so well.
At first, that might seem like a true nightmare. Businesses could run native ads and trick users into believing that they’re reading a regular piece of content when in fact, they’re reading a sponsored post.
If the ad copies the design of the website, how can a user tell them apart?
Actually, it’s not that difficult.
A section of native ads will always be labeled as “Sponsored” or “Recommended by [advertising platform].
Native ads as Content Recommendations
We can technically include social media ads (from Facebook and Instagram Ads) and search ads (from Google Ads) in the large spectrum of native ads. That’s because, by definition, these types of ads do usually integrate with the page.
However, when referring to native ads, we usually refer to content recommendations – to ads encountered on the sites of publishers, usually in a sidebar or separate box labeled “Recommended stories” or “Recommended From The Web.”
Why is Native Advertising gaining popularity?
The digital advertising market is constantly increasing every year. Publications such as eMarketer, BusinessInsider, and AppNexus have been expecting the native ad spend to grow exponentially since 2017 at the latest. And they did.
From $25 billion in 2017, the native ad spend has grown to $85.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to increase by 372% until 2025
But why do advertisers like native ads so much?
The answer is rather simple.
Because most of the time, they don’t feel like ads.
Native ads are non-intrusive.
They don’t pop up on your screen on a huge banner that promotes a 20% discount on pool cleaning supplies when you’re trying to do research for that course you’re taking, when you don’t even own a pool.
Tips to improve your Native Ads
Use power words
What is Native Advertising and why should you care?
Your Actionable Guide to Native Ads
I think you would all agree when I say – the second title sounds way better than the first. And part of the reason has to do with power words.
Power words can have a great impact on the way people interact with your ad by appealing to their emotions.
There are 3 main types of power words:
- Persuasive – new, free, imagine, because, instant, how to;
- Emotional – proven, jaw-dropping, little-known, trustworthy, outrageous;
- Sensory – sparkling, enormous, deafening, loud, hurry.
However, don’t just pick a random power word and throw it in your copy.
You must craft your title carefully and make sure that your choice of power words fits into the content you are promoting.
Start off by answering the following questions:
- What problem am I solving for the people who will see this ad?
- What makes my content unique?
Once you know your Unique-Selling Point (USP), you’ll be able to properly present your audience with a much more attractive offer.
The copy of your ad does 80% of the work. So you should invest most of your time in crafting it, as it has the power to make or break the success of your native advertising campaign.
Use the curiosity gap
There’s probably not a single soul on the internet who didn’t click on a BuzzFeed article.
27 Things Everyone Has Done But Would Never Admit
And while we may occasionally feel tricked by them, they’re not exactly clickbait. They just pique our curiosity.
In fact, there’s a whole topic of discussion about this strategy, and it’s called the curiosity gap.
The Curiosity gap is a psychological effect that manifests when an individual is aware that new and valuable information might be available and is motivated to learn it without having any certainty of what to expect.
Check out this research paper for more details on curiosity.
While using the curiosity gap might get you a higher CTR, it’s also a dangerous path to take. That’s why honesty is your best ally.
Just like in the cases of articles with an overpromising title and underdelivering content, you may encounter higher bounce rates without honesty.
Make sure that your audience knows they’re viewing paid content. Otherwise, they might feel tricked, and this will result in a negative brand reputation.
Clearly display your brand logo on your image, and make sure that the section in which your ad is placed is labeled as “Sponsored content” or “Recommended by [Brand Name].”
In the early stages of your business, brand reputation is one of the most important aspects that you must manage. Once people see that you are a legit business that wants to provide value to its customers, they will become fiercely loyal.
Don’t make it ugly
This sounds like a no-brainer but bear with me.
Throughout my life on the internet, I’ve seen some pretty horrendous native ads. And I couldn’t just ignore them. They made me cringe and scroll away from that section or close the website altogether.
And 9 times out of 10, that was because of the image.
While the media you use in your native ad isn’t that important, it does have its purpose. You should design it to fit beautifully with your copy and catch the attention of your audience.
But that doesn’t mean you should throw in as many colors as possible to “make it pop.”
Keep it simple.
Use your brand colors, or design it to resemble the landing page that you direct your audience to. If your whole website is designed in shades of blue and violet, don’t use a black and green palette for your ad.
Set correct expectations using Display URL
When a user decides to click your ad, he has certain expectations regarding what will happen after he clicks it.
And your job is to make sure that those expectations are set correctly.
The Display URL will help your audience get a better idea of the page they’ll reach after they click your ad.
Are you sending your users to a registration form? Then set the Display URL to https://example.com/registration/.
Are you directing users to a landing page created for your special spring promotion? Then set it to https://example.com/spring-promotion/.
The landing URL is the page where a user lands after clicking on your ad. Setting this up incorrectly will result in your ad getting rejected or in your audience landing on a 404 page.
We can only expect native advertising to increase in popularity as the widespread usage of programmatic advertising accelerates the marketing industry.
And thanks to the fast technological advancement in the advertising industry, we may soon see that more sophisticated technologies will appear, which will take the online advertising industry to new levels.
But it’s not all about technology.
Crafting a successful native ad requires work and effort. But it’s definitely worth it.