If you’re looking to diversify your marketing mix, native advertising can be a perfect complement to search and social ads.

Why? Native advertising offers massive reach and higher engagement at competitive rates. While social platforms are closed, walled-in networks, native ads are distributed across the open web on premium websites and niche blogs — providing more opportunities to engage target audiences at scale. That’s part of why social ad spend is continuing to decline: In 2022, both Facebook and YouTube saw their first-ever declines in ad revenue.

Native ads in editorial contexts are also more trusted than social ads, helping to increase conversions and revenue. As IAB Europe reported, over 80% of news consumers say seeing ads alongside news content increases or maintains brand trust.

So, now that you understand the power of native, how do you actually get started? Launching ads on an entirely new channel can seem overwhelming. You have to build custom creatives, gather audience insights, set up targeting parameters, and manage your budget.

The good news is, if you’re already running social media campaigns, you don’t have to start from scratch.

Here, we’ll share practical tips and tools that you can use to adapt your social ads for native channels — so you can improve performance marketing results.

Understand the Consumer Mindset: Social Media vs. The Open Web

First, let’s look at the difference between consumers on social platforms and consumers on the open web.

On Facebook, audiences likely have this mindset: “I’m here to socialize and check up on my family.” So the organic content they engage with is user-generated — including life updates, opinions, and shared news stories from their connections. On Instagram, the mindset is: “I’m here to scroll through ads, window shop, and check up on my friends.” And over on TikTok, the mindset is: “I’m here to watch and be entertained by creators.”

Meanwhile, on the open web, consumers have this mindset: “I’m here to read editorial content.” So they’re browsing their favorite publisher sites and engaging with organic content that’s professionally produced by media outlets.

In both contexts, people likely aren’t searching for products or brands. Instead, they can discover ads and sponsored content within their feed. But, as explained here, the biggest difference is what they’re looking to consume organically. On Facebook, for example, it’s posts from friends and family. On the open web, it’s articles and videos from publishers.

Adapt Social Creatives for Native Campaigns

As tempting as it might be, you can’t just copy social creatives and slap them on a native campaign for publisher sites.

Instead, you can use these key strategies to adapt your copy, images, videos, and landing pages accordingly.

Shorten Titles, Descriptions, and CTAs

Social ads often include more text than ads on news sites. Specifically, native ads on the open web generally include three brief fields of copy: headline, description, and CTA button.

You can use these best practices to adjust your copy from social campaigns:

  • Cut down long headlines to 40-50 characters, 60 max.
  • Make your copy newsworthy, attention-grabbing, and quickly impactful.
  • Change from sales-y ad language to publisher language.
  • Set user expectations for their post-click experiences.

Take Otty, for example. The UK-based mattress company adapted their Facebook copy — over 80 characters long and packed with emojis — for successful results on publisher news sites. Their optimizations led to a 7.8x return on ad spend.

Simplify and Resize Images

Social ad images tend to be more polished and even glamorous than ad images on publisher sites. For native ads on the open web, it’s best to use images that are more authentic and relatable.

Try these tips for adjusting your social visuals:

  • Remove text and feature a singular subject, such as a face or item.
  • Resize images to native ad specs.
  • Zoom in on the primary subject, cutting down on white space.
  • Use Taboola’s Motion Ads Studio to easily turn static images into movable graphics.

Take Babbel, for example, a globally popular language learning app. Their Facebook ad included a polished, zoomed-out image and text overlay. They quickly adapted this image for news sites, with a more closely cropped portrait and no added text. As a result of this native campaign, the brand generated 100,000 new leads a month.

Adjust Videos for Increased Performance

Native video ads deliver better results than most other video ad formats, as eMarketer found. You just need the right creative strategies and specs to build those videos, including:

  • Open with a logo and include it throughout your video.
  • Add subtitles for sound-off viewing.
  • Use slow-paced and subtle movements so videos don’t look like flashy banner ads.
  • Reformat video size to be square or horizontal.
  • Include a CTA button, driving users to complete a certain action.
  • Fill the screen for a higher-impact experience.

Just look at Oral-B, the global oral hygiene brand. They created a native video with slow-moving close-up shots, simple text, a clear logo throughout, and an end slide with a CTA. The result? 10% higher viewability, 12% higher completion rate, and 23% higher CTR.

Bid Like a Pro

With native advertising, you don’t have to waste time adjusting your bids manually. Native ad platforms like Taboola can automatically optimize your bids to drive the best results.

SmartBid, Taboola’s unique bidding technology, pulls from millions of historic network data points to make automatic bid adjustments for each impression. Meaning, it increases bids for impressions that are likely to generate conversions and decreases bids for those unlikely to drive performance. So you can maximize conversions, maintain control over your bids and budget, and scale your reach with confidence.

Here’s a quick look at how SmartBid works:

  • The advertiser sets their baseline bid.
  • The advertiser chooses to deploy SmartBid for their campaign.
  • SmartBid kicks into gear, using its deep learning algorithm to make automatic adjustments, so the advertiser can harness opportunities to drive conversions and avoid overspending.

Set Targeting Parameters

On the open web, you can target audiences based on a range of factors, such as interests, behaviors, demographics, and intent.

Taboola, for example, offers extensive targeting capabilities, including:

  • Marketplace Audiences. Reach specific audiences according to their preferences and characteristics.
  • Contextual Audiences. Deliver ads in the most relevant contexts, so you can reach people when they’re already engaged with content that matches yours.
  • My Audiences. Target lookalike audiences or re-engage customers using data from your site or CRM.
  • Attentive Audiences. Retarget audiences further down the funnel to maximize conversions. Taboola has already helped advertisers reduce median CPA by 34% and increase median CVR by 87% with Attentive Audiences.

Each of these solutions can stand alone or be layered together to ensure you’re reaching the right users.

You can also use these best practices to make the most of your native ad targeting:

  • Go broad or go home. Native works better with broader targeting settings like location- and device-based targeting. The broader you start, the more insights you’ll receive.
  • Set up the Taboola Pixel. This tool helps you track website behaviors for retargeting campaigns and access advanced targeting features like Lookalike Audiences.
  • Split your campaigns by device. This can be a cheaper and more effective way to optimize your campaigns for different user behaviors.

Measure and Optimize for Success

It takes time to build effective native advertising campaigns. When you allocate a budget for Facebook ads, for example, your money is spent on that one platform alone. But when you run native ads, your budget is distributed across thousands of publisher properties.

That’s why it’s important to consistently measure native ad results, so you can see which placements perform best and optimize campaigns for future success.

Here’s our suggested timeline for doing just that:

  • 1-2 weeks: Learning phase. Don’t adjust or optimize your campaign yet. Just collect data and let the algorithm pinpoint which placements and audiences are performing best.
  • 3-4 weeks: Optimization phase. Bid higher on publications that are performing well and exclude those that aren’t delivering. Also, target specific audience segments and marketplaces to hit your CPA goal.
  • Month 2: Scaling phase. Once you reach your CPA and ROAS goals, scale your campaign to five-figure budgets a day so you can keep maximizing results.

Launching ads on new platforms can seem like a big undertaking. But with the right tools and strategies, you can rework your social campaigns for native advertising on the open web and reach entirely new audiences at scale.

These insights were brought to you by The Taboola Creative Shop, an in-house creative agency made up of strategists, data experts, copywriters, designers, video editors, translators and engagement managers who specialize in helping strategic clients reach and exceed their campaign goals.

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