Here Is How You Can Create Valuable Native Ads that Result in Brand Awareness and Trust
Before we get into all the juicy details, let’s first define native advertising. While it’s often mistaken with content advertising, it’s not necessarily the same thing. Native ads need to align with the organic content of a website, mimicking the tone and providing the value that the audience of that website expects. While traditional and programmatic media buying are still widespread, ad blocking and banner blindness are increasingly becoming a problem for these types of advertising. While native ads thrive to stay indistinguishable from the website content, they are more visible to users used to ignoring banner ads.
Trust IssuesLooking at the WordStream’s list of best and worst native advertising examples, it’s clear that the ads that found a way to keep the tone and style of the publisher, while offering the value that the website usually offers, were the successful ones. The ads that blatantly aimed to sell instead of telling and did so ignoring the reader’s preferences were a disaster not only for the brand but for the publisher as well. The brand got haters, and the publisher lost credibility.
When done right, native advertising can lead to excellent brand exposure or even conversions. However, the two most significant obstacles in the way of success are the trust factor and ad blocking. On the one hand, if you’re not honest about the ad being sponsored, you’re tricking the user, on the other hand, if you’re obviously marking it as such, ad blocking will be the main issue.
So how do you avoid these problems?
Keep the Audience in MindIn our experience, the brands will often come to a publisher with an already thought out messaging and imagery for the campaign that will be applied to native ads just like any other ad. However, when going with native ads, it’s essential to learn from the publisher. The ad will need to look and feel like the content on their website. While the format might be similar across different publishers, the aim is to mimic the website to the point where it looks almost invisible among other content. It’s also important to get to know the publisher’s audience, as that will allow you to approach them in the right way and pique their interest. That means that you have to know what topics they like to discuss and which visuals are the most likely ones to get them clicking. If you’re going with a more experienced publisher, be sure to ask them to send over best practices for native ads specifically. This ad has a different format and purpose than the rest of them, so it’s crucial to find out exactly what works for a particular audience.
Once you know the users’ preferences, you’ll be able to provide value. If you’re promoting content, make sure it’s above-average and fitting for the audience you’re trying to attract. If the users come to your website and don’t find valuable content or you don’t deliver on your ad’s promise (some people still clickbait if you believe it), that will hurt the brand’s reputation and users’ trust.
Content-centric ProductionFrom the user’s perspective, the issue still is that it will be difficult to distinguish editorial content from an advertisement, but if done with the same goal, this problem ceases to exist. The idea is that if people actually enjoy reading native advertising content, they don’t mind that it’s an ad. Let’s look at some more examples. Mercedes published a native campaign in the Washington Post, called “The rise of the superhuman”. It focused on different technologies that are helping people become “superhuman”, and one of the products is the new Mercedes-Benz’s Intelligent Drive system. This way Mercedes promoted their product within engaging content, and nobody cared that they’re looking at a commercial.
Native Trends that Are Here to StayIn-feed: This is where users spend a lot of time, and this is where advertisers are trying to catch their attention. While this format started on social media, it is growing and spreading across all channels and devices. With in-feed ads, it’s essential to use the headlines that readers are used to seeing in their feed along with engaging imagery or video. In-feed ads are the best if not the only way to engage with users scrolling through miles of content in their feed on mobile.
Content and context: We already covered the importance of providing genuine content. However, it’s equally as important where that content appears. Brand safety should always be prioritized – no matter how well your native ads are written and how great the value they provide, they could appear next to brand-damaging content. IAB Gold accreditation will is one of many to come that will guarantee brand safety. On the other hand, those looking to position their brand long-term will turn to partnerships with relevant publishers where both sides want the native advertising to succeed, as that will also mean more quality content for the readers.
Personalization: While customers are still wary about how their data is being used, the Salesforce research “Trends in Customer Trust” proves that Gen Z and Millennials are more willing to share information in exchange for a personalized experience. However, this goes hand in hand with transparency. While they are willing to share personal data, they expect brands to be honest and tell them how giving information provides a better experience.