9 Paid Media Experts Share Their Best Native Advertising Tips

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In the world of paid media, native advertising is often an afterthought. While search and social campaigns sit at the forefront of the conversation, native advertising is usually only discussed as part of an additional display plan. 

Paid search and social channels have a wealth of content written about them, and optimizing those channels is typically seen as high priority. 

While those channels are certainly important to focus on, native advertising has value that’s all too often left untapped. 

To help you learn how you can get the most out of your native advertising campaigns, we spoke to nine paid media experts to bring you pro tips.

The Proof is in the Planning

Daniel Gilbert  
CEO, Brainlabs

“Three tips I think every native advertising campaign manager can benefit from include…

1. Don’t underestimate the benefit of doing comprehensive research using a range of first and third party data to understand your audience and your market challenges.

2. It’s important to set targets that really tie your marketing goals to your business objectives, supported by a robust measurement method to track performance and keep optimizing. Make sure you include a series of experiments throughout your plan, in order to have data to fuel your next campaign’s research.

3. Ideally, budgets should be flexible across audiences, channels, and phasing, allowing for weekly updates to budgets splits. You might have certain assumptions before going into a new campaign, but as performance data trickles in over time you will likely need to reallocate budgets to the best-performing areas.”

Amy Bishop
Owner, Cultivate Marketing

“Content is king when it comes to native advertising! 

It’s important to know your market to help determine how best to target them, but also to ensure that the creative and the CTA are appealing. Plan out your content strategy in advance, and be sure to create ads that are eye-catching to grab the attention of your target audience! 

The combination of all of these elements are the key to a great campaign.”

Mike Rhodes
Founder & CEO, WebSavvy.com.au

“A lot of businesses get referred to our digital acquisition agency and on the first call will say a version of ‘currently, I get leads and sales for $50, but I need that to be less’. My response is typically ‘how do you know that’s the right target?’ 

The name of the game isn’t to get the cheapest leads (or highest ROAS for every sale), but to choose the right profit target based on your business objectives.

For some, that’s growing fast at breakeven. For others, that maximising the profit on the first sale because there’s little or no opportunity to sell anything to that customer again.

You must first know the objective, then pick a profit level, and then back that into a target CPA or ROAS for your ad campaigns.”

Know Your Audience

Pontus Staunstrup
Account Director, Brand Movers

“If you want to be successful in native advertising, never forget that there are three parties involved, and you have to create value for all of them. 

There’s the brand paying for the ad, the publisher providing the platform, the audience engaging with it. 

The goals of the first two⁠—recognition and remuneration—are often looked after, but if you don’t provide value for the audience, too, you will undermine the whole foundation of native advertising.” 

Jonathan A. Kagan
VP of Search & Biddable Media, Cogniscient Media

“Remember: not everyone needs to see your ad. Rather than focusing on just ad placements, emphasize the audience themselves. 

Create a demographic and behavioral profile that aligns with the ideal consumer, and only target ads to them. It’ll save on cost and efficiency.”

Always Be Optimizing 

Elad Levy
Head of Growth, Fixel

“When launching a content campaign, it can take a little time to see conversions. Trying to optimize the campaign without sufficient conversion data is inefficient, so I recommend optimizing for web engagement first, and then switching over to lead generation.

Another option is to add an implicit user engagement signal, such as viewing the pricing page, as a conversion, without including it in total conversions.” 


Gustaf Stenlund
VP of Growth, Nudge.com

“As a principle, marketers agree that not all clicks are created equal. The irony in this is that the cheapest clicks tend to quickly descend into wasted budget. Instead, adjust your native ads against the quality of those clicks and you’ll see a clear spike in performance.

So, how do you fix this? Analytics––they act as the weighing tool for your promotional spend. Imagine all your clicks being put on a scale. What would they weigh? Find out where you’re getting your best clicks from and optimize against those variables.

For example, a B2B client of ours realized that at 5am, their audience was spending 25% longer on their content, up until 10am. Knowing this, our client was able to redistribute their budget to 5-10am. They loved this, and realized that it made sense––their key clients were getting the real work done before a day of meetings.”

Mark Simon
Co-Founder, Brax.io

“My mantra for 2019 is: Creativity is a competitive advantage. We all have the same form fields, check boxes, and targeting options when setting up campaigns. So how do you win? Make your images stand out with a simple tweak that pumps up the saturation and lowers the brightness.

This works because the photo colors are deeper and more vivid, so they serve as a pattern interrupt. Typically, there are three adjustments to play with that make stock photos stand out: saturation, brightness, and tint. Canva makes this really easy, or your preferred image editor will do the trick.”

Kevin Lee
Exec. Chairman, Didit

“On a crowded page, getting a click is key, so experiment with headlines and images that are evergreen. Then, when you find a winner, you can run the ad for a while before experiencing burnout.

It’s also important to think like an editor. Headlines and copy should be written in the classic inverted pyramid style. Start off with the good stuff.

And lastly, try to get as close as possible to understanding your unit economics and marketplace elasticities. That means knowing how much each channel delivers in profitability per click and lead, and also understanding the level to which you can increase budgets while retaining that profit level.”

With these 9+ expert tips in your arsenal, you’re ready to start planning campaigns the right way, understanding your audience, and getting more out of your native advertisements. 

Create Your Campaign Today!