Traditional online advertising is quickly falling to the wayside. Content marketing distribution in conjunction with native advertising, on the other hand, is exploding. There’s only one caveat—your content has to be genuine.
People are simply sick of seeing banner ads, especially ones that disrupt their online experience or are not relevant to their lives. According to Business Insider, ad blocker usage increased by 30 percent in 2016, and now 615 million devices worldwide are utilizing ad-blocking technology.
On the other hand, content marketing is growing, and will only continue its meteoric rise in the years to come as more and more people adopt ad blockers.
According to an infographic from Point Visible, as of 2017, 89 percent of B2B marketers and 86 percent of B2C marketers are now using content marketing.
So what are companies supposed to do if they want to advertise their products and services on various content distribution platforms, but don’t want to turn off their potential customers? They can use native advertising to combine their content marketing efforts with the powerful audience they receive on publisher sites.
What is native advertising?
Native advertising allows companies to place relevant content about their products and services on platforms where their audiences live. Typically, these platforms are publishers. Native advertising is a way to avoid display ad blindness and provide value to audiences at the same time.
According to Business Insider, by 2021, native display ad revenue will make up 74 percent of total U.S. display ad revenue. In 2016, that number was at 56 percent. Native ads are appearing on social media sites, blogs and online newspapers.
If you want to utilize native advertising, you need to keep one key principle in mind: make sure your ads are genuine.
Here are a few ways you can ensure your native ads are genuine and will draw in your target audience.
Aim to provide real value to readers.
Content discovery is sometimes described as a subset of native advertising—a unit that sits at the bottom of the article to recommend content from elsewhere on the web that people may like. Brands and businesses are using content discovery to so users can find their content when it is relevant to them, and can improve their lives.
Figure out if you want to entertain your audience or inform them. For example, maybe you provide them with a few life hacks that will make their work lives easier, or provide them with ideas for hosting a dinner party.
The content, of course, needs to relate to your brand. At the end of your native ad, you can include a call-to-action (CTA) that will persuade the consumer to hopefully click through and try out your products and services.
Check out RXBAR’s native ad on BuzzFeed for some inspiration.
Here, RXBAR is educating their target audience, millennials, on what protein is and why it is important for their diet and health. RXBAR includes interesting and funny gifs to compliment the piece, and then promotes their products at the very end of the article.
Do not oversell or focus on yourself.
Your audience will be able to sniff out your ad if you only focus on yourself and your products and services. When you create your native advertising campaign, determine what you can do for your audience, not what your audience can do for you.
Instead of sprinkling content with references about your brand, do not mention it at all, or at least wait until the very end of the piece like RXBAR did. If you say, “Our products and services are great,” that proves nothing. You will only convince your audience that you are an awesome company if you show it by producing excellent content. Offer up something to your audience, and they may just purchase from you in return.
Make it known that you are the author.
When audiences are using content discovery, they may be dismayed to find out that a great piece of content came from a company. According to ClickZ and a study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 43 percent of newsreaders in the U.S., “have felt disappointed or deceived after reading content they didn’t realize was sponsored.”
The content distribution platform you’re using needs to list your name as the author. Otherwise, customers will not trust you or the platform anymore. They will feel like you tried to trick them into buying your products, and your company will suffer.
Take a look at Mashable to see how some publishers attribute your native ads.
Getting started with genuine native ads.
Native advertising can help you get the word out there about your company and boost your sales. As long as you do it correctly, you will attract new and loyal customers and contribute to the success of your brand.