What Is Native Advertising?

“Native advertising” was one of the terms we heard a lot in the digital marketing sphere last year, making the rounds as the next big thing you just have to be doing. But what is native advertising, and should every brand be getting involved?

Native advertising basically refers to the practice of creating editorial content for a publishing platform with the purpose of promoting your brand. The piece should not look outwardly promotional and should be written in the house style of the publication you’re writing for. In essence, it should offer real value to a reader and they shouldn’t know that it’s a piece of advertising until they see your logo underpinning it.

So what’s the point, and how is it any different to sponsored posts? Let us explain.

Native advertising vs sponsored posts

Sponsored content and native advertising are very similar, as both forms of editorial promote a brand while also building trust in a consumer. The only difference, as explained by Reuter’s Felix Salmon, is that the latter aims more towards going viral.

Where will I find native advertising?

Once you know what you’re looking for, native advertising is easier to spot than you’d think. LinkedIn, Forbes and Buzzfeed are just a few popular publishing platforms which regularly feature this kind of content.

The benefits of native advertising

If you’re already creating social media, blog and website content, the prospect of another content type might make you want to bang your head on the keyboard in frustration. We get it; content can be time-consuming to produce. But native advertising might just be worth your while. Here’s five reasons why:

  1. It appears “in-stream” – meaning that your native advertising messages appear in the stream of your audience’s content on their favourite social platforms and sites.
  2. You can use a programme like Outbrain to become one of the “related articles” at the bottom of popular content, driving more traffic to your piece and therefore, to your website.
  3. They’re ads, that don’t look like ads. We all know that most advertisements just get ignored. Native advertising sees consistently sees higher click through and conversion rates for this very reason.
  4. Native advertising is always created with the interests of that particular publishing platform’s audience in mind, so those who click through are likely to be highly relevant and targeted.
  5. It’s evergreen content. You can keep re-targeting a particularly strong blog post, thus expanding its lifespan.

OK, OK. How do I get started?

If you’ve decided that you want to give native advertising a go, the best place to start is by taking a good look at the content you already have. We’re all a bit stretched these days trying to keep on top of everything, so why make more work for yourself by creating something from scratch?

It’s more likely than not than an old e-book, blog post or email campaign can be converted into a piece of native advertising. Key things to look out for when sourcing a piece of content are: something which is relevant and useful to your target market, which doesn’t have a “sell-by date”, and which has done well on social media in the past, as social sharing is key to the success of native advertising.

Next, make sure your piece has a clear call to action. If you’re intending your article to be purely about brand awareness, that’s fine, but you’ll see the best return on your piece if you interweave calls to action carefully throughout. Think about what you want readers to do: sign up to an email list? Visit your website? Always include this at the end, and anywhere else it occurs naturally throughout the piece.

The next step? You can either approach publishing platforms with a pitch, or publish on Facebook and other social platforms using the “boost” function, which will ensure it reaches many more feeds. Measure how well your piece performs through metrics like shares, engagement and click throughs, and you’ll begin to realise what works and what doesn’t. You’ll soon start to see just why native advertising is an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Clever Marketing - Surrey Digital AgencyNeed help with your advertising?

Call Clever Marketing now on 01276 402 381 and we will help out in print or online.

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