5 winning arguments: How to convince the sales people that native advertising rules

By Stine F. Mathiasen, Head of Content & Creative at Benjamin_Creative
Jul 10, 2015

Maybe you have started doing native advertising in your company. You have read all the reports. The one from Hexagram and Spada saying that 84 percent of content publishers believe that native advertising represents a new and viable revenue stream. And also the one from Sharethrough and IPG saying that native ads drive more attention and brand lift than traditional displays. You are in charge of the native action in your company and you are very excited about the revenue you see it could bring to your company. Also, you have completely understood that native advertising is all about giving your audience some relevant and useful knowledge. Not to push sales talk down their throat. So yeah, you are ready to go. One, two, native action.

But... then you walk down the aisle to the sales people in the company and they go ballistic when they hear that you want to do marketing in which you don't mention your products with one single word. They have disbelief and pure fear in their eyes. They demand changes. They demand that you write offers and sale promotional stuff in your nice little native piece. You are back to square one!

This might be a hypothetical example, but we have heard it so many times in our work with native advertising here at the Native Advertising Institute that we know it is the truth out there. And you can't really blame those sales people. What is their job? Well, to sell. Not to write nice articles about something that just nearly touches on what your company's products are all about. But we, native advertising enthusiasts know better, right? We know that it works. But how do we convince those sales people? We give you 5 winning arguments right here:

1. Just look at the numbers

Let's get back to those reports from the beginning of the post. After all, sales people looooove numbers. And there is a bunch of reports that you can lean on to convince your sales people colleagues. As mentioned above, Hexagram and Spada's State of Native Advertising 2014 reveals that the vast majority of publishers (84 percent), agencies (81 percent) and brands (78 percent) believe that native advertising adds value for the consumers. Another convincing study from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions states that 70 percent of individuals want to learn about products through content rather than through traditional advertising. You can also show the sales people the Native Ad Research from Sharethrough and IPG that reveals that consumers looked at native ads 53 percent more frequently that banner ads. Now, that's some tough numbers for the sales people to respond to...

2. Native ads engage our costumers

You can also tell your disbelieving sales people that native advertising gets consumers to engage – and that is worth a whole lot of money for your company. Great native advertising provides an active experience for the customer and it relates to the feelings and emotions. If we go back to the Sharethrough and IPG study, it shows that native ads are more visually engaging than traditional display ads. The study used latest eye-tracking technology to assess the attention of 200 consumers and it showed – as mentioned above – that consumers looked at native ads 53 percent more frequently than banner ads and that 25 percent more consumers were measured to look at in-feed native ad placements (the most common editorial native ad format) than display ad units. Furthermore, the study shows that consumers are more likely to share a native ad with a friend or a family member (32 percent) than they are to share a traditional banner ad (19 percent).

3. We don't disturb with native ads

Banner blindness. Both you and your sales team probably already know this term. And our best guess is that your sales team is already fighting to find a way around this issue. And now you can give them the answer and yes, you guessed it; the answer is native advertising. Just a few weeks ago, The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2015 was published and it showed that consumers for real are losing patience with traditional forms of online advertising. In the UK, 39 percent of consumers have installed ad-blocking software on their desktop computer, mobile or tablet. It’s 47 percent in the US. For consumers in the age group 18-24, the percentages are even higher with 56 percent in the UK and 55 percent in the US, respectively. But since native advertising is in-feed content you will still get in touch with your audience even if they are banner blind! And at the same time, you avoid leaving a bad impression on people by distracting them as traditional banner ads do.

4. Native ads bring value to our customers

You could also say: 'Dear sales people, with native advertising we get a great opportunity to bring value to our customers and that will be returned to us in the form of loyalty.' Great native advertising is anything but sales talk. It is relevant and useful content for the customers and we get that it might feel a bit scary to use your marketing money on content that doesn't mention your products, but it all makes sense. Let's get back to that LinkedIn Marketing Study that states that 70 percent of individuals want to learn about products through content rather than through traditional advertising. Or how about the Sharethrough and IPG research that showed that native ads drove higher brand lift for all campaigns. The numbers to give the sales people are: native advertisements registered a 9 percent higher lift for brand affinity and 18 percent higher lift for purchase intent responses than traditional banner ads.

5. We will get to know our audience even better with native advertising

There are a lot of ways to do native advertising and all of them imply their own technologies, which again offer great targeting options that can bring you – and your sales eager colleagues – even closer to your audience. Already back in 2013, Neil Hiltz, head of global marketing for financial services at Facebook, said at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference in San Antonio: 'Facebook is 90 percent accurate with our native targeting products – using geo, demo, interests, smartphone, etc. as variables'. As a comparison, traditional online ads can target users with an accuracy of about 50 percent on average.

And with these 5 winning arguments, garnished with convincing studies and reports, we rest our case... And hope that your sales people now look at you with a little less fear and disbelief in their eyes when you mention native advertising the next time. Go get 'em!

In her position as Head of Content & Creative, Stine is responsible for every piece of quality content the bureau creates. Starting out as a journalist, Stine worked for years at various interior magazines, as well as editing the home and design sections of some of Denmark’s most-read daily papers. Because of her strong will to develop and nurture projects from scratch, she has been on board Aller Media’s office of innovation. Here, she helped develop a lifestyle magazine for the Japanese market. In recent years, Stine helped initiate the Native Advertising Institute’s blog. Today, in her position at the fast-growing content marketing bureau Benjamin_Creative, she produces content and native ads for a large and diverse group of clients — from big shopping malls to even bigger design brands.

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