As the effectiveness of display ads continues to plummet, native advertising - and the ever agile native programmatic advertising - will become increasingly important. Here's how you should be dealing with it:
A successful marketing campaign consists of many various factors. While the majority of companies today appreciate the power of digital marketing, only a few are aware of the alternative way of reaching a bigger audience and converting them into loyal customers. Perhaps it’s time for you to embrace native programmatic advertising.
In recent years, brands have been focusing on adjusting their content to mobile, neglecting the importance of marketing. Some of them tried but failed miserably. So how do you launch a successful native programmatic campaign? What are the current and rising trends of this - still niche - type of advertising?
In 2015 Google conducted a consumer survey for smartphone users and it turned out that 68% of them checked their cells first thing in the morning. This trend is constantly increasing, year by year. Phones are slowly replacing computers, and that is why advertisers should focus on other ways of marketing content. So what exactly is native programmatic?
Native programmatic is a form of paid advertising (sponsored content) where ads look natural. They blend well with other published content, and they’re highly accurate. There’s nothing more annoying for users than seeing an ad that’s not relevant, not to mention pushy. One thing that tells them apart from the rest of marketing practices is that native ads provide a positive UX and are nondisruptive.
Gone are the times where ads needed purely to be seen. It’s not only about publishing content anymore, users have become more sophisticated and immuned to irrelevant ads. This year, native programmatic advertising is one of the hottest trends because it’s more targeted and better situated to build trust and brand awareness, encourage engagement, entertain, and most of all increase conversion.
Native ads are purchased via demand-side platforms (DSPs). Marketers and agencies decide which impressions are worth buying and what their budget is. On the other side of this transaction, there are publishers who use supply-side platforms (SSPs) to sell space on their website where ads can be displayed. Everything happens in real-time, which is why native programmatic advertising is highly effective, providing very thorough insights into each campaign.
While it may be stating the obvious, it must be said that every campaign needs to be discussed and well-planned. Preparing various assets, such as brand name, catchy headline, logo, and attractive visuals is the first step. The main goal of the native ad, however, should be to establish a long-term relationship, rather than sell something ASAP.
For this, you'll need a highly engaging piece of content that is cohesive with your previous campaigns. Here are some other tips we’ve gathered from native programmatic experts.
We’ve mentioned before that native ads are highly relevant and facilitate positive user experiences. But how can you ensure engagement? Well, by learning who your customers/audience are. Try to get as much information as possible, including their age, location, an average time of online activity, interests, occupation, etc. Based on this, you will be able to decide what kind of content might work best for a specific audience. It’s vital for a successful campaign.
In 2016, global food chain Taco Bell decided to run a campaign for Cinco de Mayo. They analyzed their audience and found out that an impressive number of them was using Snapchat. Taco Bell decided to create a filter that changed a user’s face into a giant taco. The result? 224 million views in one day!
If you want your audience to interact and eventually convert into loyal customers, you need to create valuable content. Your ad has to be visually attractive, but it can’t simply direct users to your landing page. Native advertising should be useful and compelling in and of itself. Native advertising is built upon the guiding principle of “providing people with relevant and useful content." Try to create something intriguing that will generate interest. It doesn’t have to be - and probably shouldn't be - strictly about your product.
Think outside the box.
A great example is a campaign launched by Netflix to encourage viewers to watch their Narcos series. They cooperated with the Wall Street Journal and created Cocainenomics - a portal containing interesting information about the Medellin cartel. Thanks to compelling content, complete with visuals and interactive elements, it attracted a lot of readers.
Native ads are highly relevant thanks to advanced targeting but they can’t be published anywhere. In fact, the content has to somehow fit in with the publisher’s page. Just because you paid for the ad to be posted, doesn’t mean your home free. The tone, voice, and form have to be matched with other content published on the same website.
Such was certainly the case when IBM published its 4-chapter article on The Atlantic's website. Not only was it highly engaging and visually attractive, but the post matched perfectly with other content, making it almost impossible to distinguish from articles posted there, apart from the sponsored label.
What’s more paramount than honesty? Content should build trust and long-term engagement, and this can only be achieved with transparency. Don’t even think about using deceptive strategies, such as clickbait because most users are too smart to be duped like this. Exaggerated, far-fetched information can only do your brand harm.
What is that you want the most from your native ad campaign? To build brand awareness, drive traffic, or increase engagement?
Whatever the reason, always remember to set your goal before you even start working on the campaign. A lot of brands embraced click-through to specific, pre-determined content. This generally entails the number of readers that ventured past the initial landing page and took a further desired action.
Measuring the performance of your native ad is crucial, but you need a point of reference if you want real insights. Always compare the results of your native ads with other ads, to be able to optimize them appropriately. If your campaign is not hitting the intended goal, try experimenting. There are various aspects that can be tweaked, including click-through destination, budget, targeting range, etc.
When a user visits a website where your ad is displayed, you get access to very insightful information. You can thank cookies for this. Analyzing and understanding the data you receive will help you retarget the same user on a different distribution platform. You may - or rather should - embrace a slightly different ad when you do so, however, as the previous one may not have been intriguing enough to prompt engagement.
Judging by its constantly increasing popularity, it is estimated that native programmatic advertising will soon be one of the major tools in digital marketing. But we all know how specific this industry is, trends are changing fast and new technologies are being developed while you’re reading this. So what’s going to be “a thing” in the next 12-18 months?
It turns out that creating content is only a tiny part of advertising. It’s displaying it to the right audience that matters the most. With native programmatic advertising, marketers are able to tweak every element of an ad and adjust it to its viewers in real-time. Come up with compelling content filled with attractive visuals but never forget about relevancy to the user and the publisher’s page. If you want to outrun your competition, you need to implement strategic thinking and native advertising should do the job.
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