Digital advertising is a fundamental marketing tool for reaching and engaging target audiences. However, with the emergence of new and diverse ways of discovering and engaging with content, native advertising provides brands with new avenues to promote their message. A good digital marketing agency would emphasise upon native advertising, as it is an important means of achieving marketing goals.
What Is Native Advertising?
Native ads can be defined as “a type of paid media that fits the form and function of the user experience on the site or app, in which they are placed”. Native ads can be found everywhere, from prominent publisher sites to social media channels. In comparison with display and banner ads, native advertisements fit seamlessly into the user experience and are more contextual than other forms of digital advertising. Instead of appearing on the periphery of web pages, native ads simulate the look, feel, and function of a medium’s content, gaining audience trust in convincing ways.
Types of Native Ads
Just like other forms of advertising, native ads have several formats. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), there are six identifiable types of native advertising:
1. In-Feed Units
The simplest way to understand in-feed units is to have a look at the sponsored posts that appear on your social media or on publisher’s websites. They are paid placements that appear directly in-line with usual posts, articles or editorial content.
2. Paid Search Units
A popular advertising method for search engines, paid search units are the top-of-the-page ad placements that we encounter every time we search for something on the internet. Essentially, they are native ad placements that are made to look like organic search results.
3. Recommendation Widgets
You will also find native ads on publisher sites, social media, and search engine pages in the form of recommendation widgets. These widgets are ads attached at the side of a web page or the end of an article, to recommend additional content that might sync with your preferences.
4. Promoted Listings
Promoted listings are common on online shopping websites, in the form of a sponsored listing, for instance, on Amazon.com. While publishers pay for these specific media placements that reflect your preferences, they are made to look just like organic listings.
5. Display Ad With Native Elements
Similar to the regular ads you see online, they can even be found in ad containers and banners. How do they differ from regular ads? They are contextually relevant to the site they appear on and the content they appear next to.
Owing to the degree of technological innovations and the escalating potential for publisher partnerships, custom native advertising facilitates a range of possibilities. An example would be mobile app advertising, wherein one can create a new Snapchat filter to promote a certain brand. While it is a form of paid media, it fits seamlessly within the app’s user interface and regular Snapchat filters.
Why Native Advertising?
Content is an integral part of the digital realm. With dynamic forms of content to consume and little time for the same, consumers tend to ignore ads and there has been a considerable rise in the use of ad blocking software. Native advertising is specifically designed to not appear as an obvious ad, making it harder to ignore. According to statistical data, consumers interact more with native ads than with traditional ads by a margin of 60%. Also, native ads have the potential to increase conversions, generating an 18% hike in purchase intent when compared to display ads.
The Future of Native Advertising
It is crucial to note that native advertising is still in its nascent stage, and is currently undergoing a process of evolution. The following native advertising trends have the potential to mould the future of digital advertising as we know it:
We see hordes of native ads on search engines, publisher sites, retail sites, and social media platforms. However, if we take a closer look, the native ad budget for publishers is on the decline, and it is being picked up by social media. Instead of purchasing ad placements on websites such as Forbes and Huffington Post, brands are investing more into Instagram in-feed adverts and Snapchat filters among other ad types on social media.
As per a 2018 survey, 52.2% of all web traffic originates from mobile devices. On average, mobile digital advertising is expected to rise to 26.5% by the end of 2020. Considering the advantages that native advertising presents on mobile devices, native mobile ads might evolve into a key investment in the future.
Consumers crave authenticity. User-generated content helps build brand authenticity and creates deeper connections with your audience. Polls, surveys, and social media posts that appear in native ad placements drive audience interaction and build trust.
Now that it is established that native advertising gets more attention and helps brands promote their message better, it is time to tap into its boundless potential.