In the larger scheme of marketing, there are different tactics used by digital marketers to optimise their reach to a desired audience. One of the novel ways, which is recently gaining popularity is native marketing.
This technique basically implies putting out content on a host website like Facebook, for example, which is embedded so subtly, you would never guess it’s actually an advertisement. Posting content on a webpage, which syncs effortlessly with the layout and page structure is at the very core of native advertising.
Native marketing is a relatively new way to market online, but it received plenty of critique and buzz around its use, especially across social media. The term native marketing is synonymous with native advertising. It is a novel term, but the core concept dates back from infomercials and newspaper adverts.
Today however, it’s a bit more specialised than a mere advertisement targeting a general audience, and being too blasé with the hard sell. Native marketing is thus a great, yet subtle way to advertise.
With this, adverts can be pushed towards a specific target market based on your chosen demographics whilst the ad can visually match the organic or natural look and functionality of the hosting website.
This type of marketing is predicted to be a $4.6 billion market, considering it is still a fairly modern way to advertise, that is now nipping at the heels of the fairly long and opinionated practice of display advertising which once stood at $6.4 billion in 2015 (Moz 2016).
Cut Through the Noise
Native advertising has powerful applications and results that traditional Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising cannot contend with. Its ability to cut through the noise online allows brands to have optimal exposure directly to their target audience, at a potentially cheaper cost, yet with greater click-through rate.
Any publisher knows that the success of their digital marketing lies in good exposure and interaction between the audience and the content they offer. Yet, despite numerous warnings, publishers still come under fire from Google for carrying out the once-popular activity of high-frequency guest posting.
Therefore, native marketing now presents a solution to those looking to undertake brand and content amplification. To put it quite simply, if you want instant viewers, you can pay for them in a pro-active, but less promotional way. Chances are, you won’t receive a backlink through a paid ad promoting transactional content. However, take a native advert promoting informational content and instantly you have a way to naturally create a worthwhile backlink profile, in a short span of time versus solely organic.
The most common form of native advertising can be seen on social media. These stories and ads aren’t forced upon the user to either like or reject, rather they are embedded with the natural and organic feed of the social platform that the user is visiting.
In this way, they appear unobtrusive, when compared to conventional banner adverts, sponsored stories or ads specifically target users based on consumer metrics and/or data that social platforms have, because of their proprietary cookie tracking tools such as Facebook pixel. You may or may not have seen this in support of a company’s content or product marketing efforts.
Native advertising is a nice way to amplify your content especially if it does not push the hard sell but rather intrigues or leads your target customer to make an informed decision on your brand or product on their own terms.
Choose Your Channel
The platforms you position your ads on, should allow you to be specific enough to identify your target audience to push the message you want to convey. If you’re targeting a business consumer, chances are Linkedin might be more appropriate than Facebook.
You want to focus your budget and effort on a channel that works best for you instead of wasting it on one that doesn’t have enough potential for high number of click-throughs. Then again, multiple channels work best if you want to consider multivariate testing on different types of channels based on your theories, and the time of day your target audience would interact with those native channels.
This way, you can either rule them out completely or assign a budget to that channel without discounting it completely.
Here are some native advertising channels to consider:
- Huffington Post
Conversation Over Conversion
Although native advertising positions your brand or product directly in front of your desired target customer, the impact and opinion of the hard sell remains the same and customers just don’t like being sold to. Pushing content over conversion based advertising through native marketing is more acceptable as an advert to your web consumer.
In fact, Millennials are keen on this type of advertising over the traditional types, whereby 51% of 18 – 44 year olds prefer to see trusted branded content, be it through blog articles or infographics, instead of a traditional product advert.
Native advertising is not about the product or service but about ideas and social issues. An article with a link baiting title or one that elicits emotion, which educates or is conversational, is more likely to garner a click-through than your everyday 10% off coupon.
For young people this trend is everywhere. Rather than reading a newspaper the younger audience is more inclined to read a blog article as a way of gathering information, regardless of the intent. As such, they are naturally exposing themselves to the ways in which brands can reach them through engaging and conversational content blog articles offer. It’s in this instance that brands have the opportunity to weigh in on the discussions and educate their target consumer. It enables them to position their product or service, before the customer even considers any purchase as the solution to their information query that brought them to this content in the first place.
Native advertising allows for an opinionated expression (biased or not) on a product or topic aimed at a relevant target market.
Compare this to a pestering transactional advert and cheesy money-off slogan that aims to push price penetration marketing and quantity based sales, despite the long-term effects it can have on brand and product value.
With this, through content marketing and blogging, whatever you are trying to promote, exposes the target customer to the brand whilst allowing them to make an informed decision, develop brand trust and a perception of the product or service (sideline promotion) on their own terms.
More often than not the articles that focus on the product educate the user sufficiently, that they know enough about it to make that decision on what to do next, without ever needing to visit an e-commerce site all.