Native Advertising in Email – The Distribution Channel Content Marketers Need to Know About

Jun 12, 2017

Digital marketers around the world know that email is one of the best performing channels to distribute content. Engagement with email typically outperforms every other channel on the Internet. Depending on the study and the industry looked at, email open rates range between 15 and 27 percent with click-through rates between 1.5 and 3.5 percent.

There’s two ways to do native advertising using email – programmatically or one-off long-form. One-off long form is typically called “list rental.” This is when a marketer approaches a publisher or brand that owns an email list and pays them to send out an organic-looking email on their behalf.

This is not the same as buying a link or having a banner in a publisher’s email. It must match the form and feel of the media on which it appears to be considered native.

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It generally takes the form of a one-off email that endorses an ebook, webinar or some other form of content. Ideally, there’s a conversion at the end of the click-through from the email and the list itself matches the marketer’s target personas.

In the marketing industry, the average cost per lead (raw inquiry) is $32.00. I’ve done one-off native email campaigns for as little as $6.00 per lead. It was common to drive 500 or more incremental leads from one email endorsing an ebook. The below spikes in the graph represent leads from one-off long-form email native advertising.

Native Advertising Email

On the other hand, there’s also programmatic solutions that empower marketers to scale in a turnkey fashion the native distribution of their content across others’ email lists. These solutions are also a good way for publishers to drive incremental revenue using their email inventory.

I have not experimented with these solutions yet, but I’ve been told by a senior media buyer that the results from programmatic native email are fantastic. It’s not surprising, considering that its long-form cousin performs fantastically.

The below represent the programmatic native email vendors uncovered in the research for The 2017 Native Advertising Technology Landscape.

1. LiveIntent – a technology suite aimed at giving marketers access to new audiences through email. It’s mobile enabled, fraud free, and has personalization capabilities. It has access to over 160 million people by tapping into more than 2000 brands and publishers. There are strict rules around what type of content can be used – thus, maintaining a high-quality standard.

2. PowerInbox – this solution boasts a lift of 30 percent on click-through rates and a 4X on ROI. It has access to personalized widgets through video, tickers, countdown timers, sliders, forms and more. Marketers can geo-target email inboxes, too. Content published through this technology is dynamic and features in-email animation.

3. Gold Lasso – marketers can buy native email inventory directly or programmatically through a demand-side platform. Designed specifically to promote editorial content engagement and features responsive design. Native units are 100 percent customized to perfectly match the look and feel of publishers’ newsletters. Has both content recommendation blocks and in-feed custom units.

4. Powerspace – this is a direct buy platform that gives media buyers access to networks, publishers, app and email inventory. It features website analytics and custom audience targeting through a CRM upload. Also features re-targeting.

Most content marketers look at email as an owned channel and use it as such exclusively. However, email can also be a paid distribution channel. When used in a native way, like the examples given above, the results can be excellent. If you’ve never considered native email advertising, I recommend giving it a try. Your KPIs will thank you for it.

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Story by Chad Pollitt

Native Advertising Expert, CMO Influencer VP of Audience and Partner, Native Advertising Institute Indianapolis, USA

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