You know native advertising is important, but it can still be incredibly tough to master.
We get it. The native ad world is complex. You have to nail down the right target audiences, creative formats, and real-time bids — not to mention carefully choose sites for distribution based on context, relevance, and brand safety. All these factors can make native advertising tough to scale and not exactly intuitive.
Still, once you figure out the nuances of native, the rewards can be extraordinary. By delivering more seamless customer experiences, you can increase engagement and revenue across the open web.
So, how do you go about maximizing your native ad results?
We tapped our Taboola agency partners to find out. Spread across the world in countries like France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, and the US, our agency partners are chosen for their expertise with native advertising and their ability to help you grow your business.
Here are four tips on how to scale your native advertising — straight from the experts.
1. Adjust bids by site to increase performance.
You’re probably focused on optimizing bids by overall cost-per-acquisition (CPA), like you would do on other channels. While this might work on platforms like Facebook and Google, native ads are a different beast.
Since native ads are meant to match their surroundings, site distribution and placement play a big part in their performance. That’s why UK-based agency Version Two recommends adjusting your native ad bids on a site-by-site basis — and not by CPA.
Specifically, here’s how beginner, intermediate, and advanced advertisers might approach the bidding process:
- Beginner bidding: Set a cost-per-click (CPC) that’s lower than your revenue-per-click (RPC) across the board. Yes, you’ll turn a profit at first but you’ll also waste money paying for low-quality traffic. That brings us to the intermediate bidding option…
- Intermediate bidding: Wait for each site to reach 2x your CPA goal. So if your target CPA goal is $1 per customer, wait until you reach $2 per customer. That’s a good indicator that it will begin trending down in the right direction. Then set a CPC that’s lower than your RPC on a site-by-site basis. This way, you can scale your reach on top-performing sites and pull back on low-performing ones.
- Advanced bidding: To be truly advanced, adjust bids on a site-by-site basis. Instead of waiting for each site to reach 2x CPA spend, use a proxy performance metric like landing page clickthrough rate (CTR), bounce rate, or add-to-cart rate. This will help you massively reduce your testing budgets and quickly learn about which sites and campaigns are working.
According to Version Two, most advertisers get stuck in the beginner and intermediate stages, and they don’t end up achieving their goal ROAS. The advanced bidding strategy, on the other hand, can help you drive the results you’re looking for with Taboola. While native can be intimidating at first, if you are diligent and monitor your bidding with this advanced tactic, it can produce positive results for your company’s KPIs.
2. Build a full-funnel strategy.
If you’re just using native ads to build brand awareness, you’re missing out on important opportunities to drive leads and conversions. That’s why 6H Media, an agency based in Germany and the U.S., suggests using native advertising to fuel a full-funnel strategy. This way, you can use native campaigns to reach and nurture customers along their path to purchase.
Language learning platform Babbel, for example, used Taboola’s native discovery platform to reach new audiences and convert them into paying customers. The brand distributed existing content from their online magazine to target readers across Taboola’s network of premium publisher sites. These native ads not only drove brand awareness and discovery, but also contributed to over 20% of Babbel’s content marketing leads.
3. Retarget native audiences with search ads.
You’re probably already running search ads to reach audiences at the bottom of the funnel. But those campaigns can get expensive if they don’t produce any leads for you to nurture and shepherd along the buyer journey.
That’s why Italian agency BidBerry uses native ad data to inform their search campaigns. Specifically, they gather click data, gauge user interests, and then package relevant audiences for search campaigns. They also take the opportunity to sell those valuable audience segments to data providers for even more revenue.
4. A/B test key elements of your campaigns.
A/B testing will always be a marketer’s best friend according to US-based agency Stringo Media. Whether you have a tight budget or nearly unlimited resources, strategic testing will help you optimize your investments and maximize revenue.
Five major native ad elements you should A/B test include:
- Ad creatives. Test images, headlines, descriptions, ad sizes, and CTAs to see which options resonate most with your audience. You can use Taboola to test creatives before you launch and see which images, videos, headlines, and keywords are driving the most engagement on the open web.
- Audiences. From third-party audiences to lookalike audiences and whitelists, split up campaigns by audience segment so you can compare their effectiveness.
- Site placements. Don’t give up on a traffic source if it doesn’t deliver immediate results. Before you abandon a site, take the time to test a new page placement. You may start seeing increased visibility and engagement.
- Offers. Test product offers and CTAs to identify and confirm your top-selling items. If you don’t, you risk leaving money on the table and missing valuable promotional opportunities.
- Landing pages. Use your KPIs and a heat mapping tool to test a range of elements, such as titles, images, videos, colors, content length, CTA buttons, opt-in forms, and pop-ups. You can also see if ads perform best on your homepage, mid-article, or at the bottom of your site.
German agency GVD also stresses the importance of A/B testing and experimenting. Because you may have assumptions about which creatives will work, but the data can help you know for sure.
In fact, even native ads that you think are fully optimized can usually be tested further. As GVD suggests, “Throw your polished ads into the rubbish bin.”
Take your native ad campaigns to the next level.
That’s all easier said than done, right? Well, the good news is, you don’t have to manage your native ad campaigns alone. Especially as the native landscape grows, you’ll need the right resources to help you reshape your strategies and drive results.
That’s where Taboola’s agency partners come in. Chosen for their expertise with Taboola native advertising, these certified partners can help you scale and optimize your native ad operation — so you can increase revenue and grow your business.
Ready to meet your match? Click here to find the right agency partner for you.