I’m not naming names, but let’s just say there are some ‘full-service’ agencies out there that don’t live up to that claim.
They promise to handle all of your marketing and advertising needs, but their list of services doesn’t include one of the most important offerings today: native advertising.
As Alex Jones wrote for Native Advertising Institute:
“You’d expect [agencies] to adapt to this trend quickly, but for some reason, native advertising appears to be an overwhelming concept.”
They’re not sure how to dive in and they’re afraid to make the leap, but native advertising needn’t be overwhelming. You must jump at the chance to add it to your services.
Demand for this service is hotter than ever. Reports have shown that e-commerce companies are flocking to native advertising. Over half of publishers now offer native-advertising services and native advertising will only continue to grow in 2019 — it’s expected to drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021.
Help your clients embrace and execute this strategy.
That’s where this blog post comes in. By the end of it you’ll have the tools you need to add native advertising to your services list, so you can get ahead of the game and start winning new clients.
Step 1: Learn how to build native campaigns.
Ok, this is an obvious one. You need to know how to create and run native campaigns before you can offer them to brands. And there’s a wealth of resources you can use to get up to speed.
To start, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Native Advertising. This lays out the basic definition of native advertising — a form of advertising where the ad matches the format and context of the surrounding content — the big players in the field, and the terminology you need.
But before you get wrapped up in that, let’s break down the different stages of running a native-advertising campaign:
Choose your platform.
First, you need to choose where to launch your native ads. These are the major distribution channels:
- Social: In-feed ads and sponsored content that look like regular social posts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — and don’t disrupt the user’s scrolling experience.
- Search: Pay-per-click ads that show up within organic search results on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, etc.
- Open web: Digital display ads that show up on a publisher’s website, such as through recommendation widgets that suggest relevant articles to read on third-party sites.
These are all valid options for distribution channels, but keep in mind that social and search operate in walled gardens. They limit your reach to users on their networks, and each platform has its own unique metrics and audience data. Conversely, on the open web, you can use a content discovery platform like Taboola to reach readers across millions of publishers’ sites and collect unified data from all of those touch points.
Pick your content format.
Your ads will take different forms depending on the platform(s) you choose. On a social platform, such as Instagram for instance, you can choose from landscape or portrait photos, 60-second videos, carousel photos or videos series, and Instagram Stories ads.
Target, for example, launched this in-feed Instagram ad with a carousel of videos.
On an open web platform, such as Taboola, you can offer links to recommended articles or videos that display with a thumbnail and headline. And these are distributed below articles on premium publisher sites where you know your target audience is already reading and engaged. These ads put you in the perfect position to drive traffic to your website, generate leads, and spread brand awareness.
Just look at these technology ad placements on NBC News:
When choosing your content format, you may want to consult the IAB’s recognized types of native ad units. If you’re looking to jump between platforms, you can also use helpful hacks — like this one for converting Facebook ads to open web ads.
Target your audience.
Most platforms — social, search, and open web or native — let you target audiences with categories such as location, device, age, gender, and interest. Consult each platform’s offerings and your client’s goals before choosing your specific audience.
On social, for instance, you’ll probably work with audience data from one specific platform. So you might run a Facebook ad that targets Facebook users who are women aged 18-35 with an interest in fashion. Meanwhile, on native platforms like Taboola, you can use your own data along with audience data from millions of top publications, casting the widest and most engaging net possible.
Remember also to pair your audience’s interests with your ad content. The more relevant your messaging is, the more likely you’ll be to drive engagement.
Step 2: Motivate clients to try new channels.
There are plenty of reasons for brands to venture into new advertising channels, but sometimes you need to lead them in the right direction.
You can tell clients that consumers have become ‘adlergic‘, for instance.
Ok, you don’t have to use that term, but you can make it clear that people are getting tired of in-your-face, disruptive ads, and will be more receptive to native ads that seamlessly blend into the user experience.
26% of US internet users have ad blockers in place, meaning those traditional banner and display ads won’t even cross their paths.
Clients may also be frustrated by saturated markets and decreased organic reach on social media. Consumers are also losing trust in social platforms and their ads, especially after recent data breaches and privacy concerns have come to light.
Open web native ads, on the other hand, exist outside of those tainted arenas. They open up opportunities to build trust and engagement among audiences fed up with traditional and social advertising.
Step 3: Have examples at the ready.
Your client will take comfort in knowing they’re not the first to try — and succeed — at native advertising. Many have come before them and led the way with standout campaigns.
That’s why you’ll want to have a list of examples to show them. Take our Taboola case studies page, it’s full of real-life stories about how agencies, publishers, and advertisers drove tangible results from their native-advertising campaigns.
One agency, for instance, was helping a major US finance brand expand its reach and find new placements for its content. Taboola provided access to exactly what they were looking for: high-quality publisher sites where they could promote their educational video series and engage new customers.
As a result, the agency achieved an 80% viewability rate, a 70% completion rate, and a 15% decrease in CPM for the video campaign.
Step 4: Incorporate native ads into the funnel.
Native ads don’t exist in a vacuum. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re forcing them into your offerings or your client’s marketing funnel.
The good news is that native advertising fits into any stage of the funnel. Here’s how:
- Brand awareness: Expand your audience reach by sharing photos, videos, and articles to millions of social users, Google searchers, and readers across the web. It’s important to note that all three native ad platforms — search, social, and open web — can help you generate brand awareness.
- Consideration: Build brand recognition and remain top-of-mind by retargeting customers who’ve already interacted with your brand and reach them with content that’s relevant to their interests. You can use retargeting tools on social, search, and open web platforms to help you reach people again.
- Decision: Generate leads via email signups and product page visits by linking people back to your website. This way, you get prospects one step closer to finishing the sale. When it comes to driving customers to the bottom of the funnel, search and open web ads are your best bet.
- Purchase: Drive those conversions with specific calls to action, reach people with the right message at the right time — when they’re ready to buy.
By harnessing the power of native advertising, your agency can build robust strategies for any stage of your client’s marketing funnel.
Step 5: Know the resources you’ll need.
You and your client must collect and choose the resources you need to build your native ads.
These are the three main types of resources you’ll want to get a hold of:
- Images: These can include product images, stock images, or thumbnails from articles and videos that catch the user’s eye. For guidance, check out this post: How to Find Images and Media for Your Digital Ad Campaigns.
- Articles: Native advertising provides a great opportunity to promote specific articles to new audiences. Which articles perform best among niche communities? Which are best for building brand awareness, educating prospects, or entertaining readers? Use this data to select and target your articles most effectively.
- Videos: Video is the talk of the marketing industry. Eighty-one percent of marketers used video in 2018 and 87% of consumers say they’d like to see more video from brands this year. With video, you can break down complex ideas into visually engaging content, tell stories quickly, and build dynamic viewing experiences for your audience. Taboola even provides video customization services to help you drive ROI using creative best practices.
When considering which content to use, remember always to provide value to your target audience. Keep in mind which products they’re interested in, which devices they use, and how they prefer to consume content. For more, head to this post: How to Create Genuine Native Advertising Content.
Time to update that website…
Armed with the information you need to set up your native advertising operation, you can start thinking about updating that website. Since native advertising should exceed $41 billion this year, trust me, it’ll feel good to add it to your list of services.
Once you’ve done this, there’s only one thing left to do: get the word out. We’ve got you there, too. Just head on over to our piece about positioning your agency as a native-advertising expert and winning new clients.
Now’s the time; as more agencies jump on board competition will only get more fierce.