Native advertising can come in many different shapes, sizes and experiences. Paid-Search and Social ads have made up the bulk of many companies’ strategies, but more and more advertisers have begun to look to the open-web for new opportunities.
Such a wide range of native placements (which might also include in-feed, video, sponsored content and recommendation widgets) can make it tricky to stay on top of your content creation. What works on a content discovery platform like Taboola may work very differently for a social media platform or paid-search, and can therefore require a fairly large amount of effort when producing creatives that work across the board.
As an Account Manager at Taboola, I work with companies of all sizes and each has a different approach to building out creatives.
Some have teams dedicated to creating new ads, some outsource to different agencies, and then there are those that cannot put in nearly enough time that it takes to build out an effective native strategy.
Moreover, a vast majority of our agency clients represent multiple brands, and so the content strategy is constantly pivoting or evolving. I want to share my insights on how to put your best foot forward and use the open web to successfully grow your and your clients’ businesses.
Where Do I Begin?
Native advertising allows your content to fit into the form and function of the website where your ad is embedded. Thus, your strategy begins with designing eye-catching and cleverly worded headlines to draw in new customers—but when you have so many strategic elements to consider, it can be easy for content creation to take a back seat.
Adding the need to A/B test your creatives to stay ahead of the game, you can easily get lost in a sea of options for titles and thumbnails.
We recognize the time and effort that goes into building a creative strategy, and we understand the importance of these creatives as they pertain to meeting your goals and pleasing your clients.
Luckily, we have several tools and tips for advertisers looking to run new ads—these tips will save you time, while still allowing you to rely on effective strategy best practices.
How Do I Pick the Right Image?
The image is the first piece of content a new customer will see when discovering your client’s product, but finding the right image and fitting it to the right aspect ratio for different types of native ads can take a lot of your time.
To combat this, we recently partnered with Getty Images to bring a vast library of high-quality images right to your dashboard completely for free!
This is especially beneficial for when you are creating content on behalf of several clients. If you don’t have time to create a thumbnail, or need help diversifying the images you are showing, simply enter a few keywords and you will find thousands of quality images to use at the click of a button. What’s more is that these images already fit the scale of our placements so you won’t have to fiddle with aspect ratios, saturation or file size to get an ad up and running.
There are so many to choose from, which ones do I pick?
There isn’t a set rule for which images to use, but there are a few best practices to keep in mind.
- People are preferable. Users who can picture themselves utilizing your product or service are going to be more likely to engage with your ad. “If I can see it, I can be it”.
- Cut the clutter. Images that are too busy don’t allow the user to clearly grasp what you are offering. Keep the imagery simple and let your product or service speak for itself.
- Lighten up! Utilize eye-catching colors or bright shades to stand out on the page and draw the users’ eyes to you first.
- Save text for the headlines. Words and numbers in images can very often be skewed off center or cropped strangely. Let the image do enough to bring your users’ eyes to the headline and then on to your Landing Page.
But How Do I Know Which Images or Headlines to Test?
You don’t need to hire a whole team of content creators to make the right decision on behalf of your clients. Taboola Trends make it easy to parse out weekly insights as they relate to your business category.
You’ll see insights into what type of images are currently performing better than others as well as keyword and phrasing insights to drive higher click-through-rates and stay ahead of the competition.
I’m having trouble picking the right headline.
Like our images, there aren’t set rules on which headlines work best, but consider the following:
- Speak directly. For budding brands, many users on our network haven’t discovered your product or service yet; call them out directly! This will bring in a more specified pool of users, but will also lower your bounce rate.
- If it’s Important, put it first. Depending on the character limits for your headline, some words can end up being cut off. You don’t want the crux of your message to be missed for cropping issues.
- List it! Numbered lists are especially enticing when creating a headline; even more so when the list is below 10 items and is an odd number!
- Leave ‘em guessing. While you want to be direct and call out your user, you also want to create an air of mystery so that the user is intrigued and wants to find out more. “The Key to a Strong Headline May Surprise You!”
- Capitalize your headers. Just like an article headline, you should capitalize all important words, leaving only short words, conjunctions, or articles in lower case.
You might find yourself saying, “I already have my creatives, but I don’t want to spend hours uploading them.”
We’ve got you covered here as well. Instead of uploading each creative by hand, you can consider using an RSS feed to take care of the heavy lifting for you.
With an RSS feed, you can upload up to 50 URLs at once and the items will be uploaded automatically.
Okay, My Creatives are Running, But How Do I Actually Test Them?
We offer several tools to help you test your creatives effectively. You have your own creative tool built right into your dashboard under Top Campaign Content.
You can use this page to view the performance of each individual creative in any campaign that you run. From here you can also pause out creatives that aren’t meeting your desired results.
We have also recently introduced Even Traffic Allocation. With Even Traffic Allocation you are given the ability to compare your creatives as closely as possible, or you can choose to optimize towards the best performers automatically.
If you don’t feel prepared yet to run effective creatives, have no fear because Taboola has your back. We have built out tools and formed partnerships with the mindset of making it easy for anyone to have an effective creative strategy. Whether you are focusing on one product or are representing a wide range of clients, we are here to make it work for you.
Have ideas? We’re open to them! Consult with your Account Manager or reach out to our Customer Support Team for further assistance.