Native advertising, also known as sponsored content, blends into the natural editorial style or content on websites and news platforms. In a digital world where everyone is looking for new ways to communicate, brands are finding that native advertising offers a way to connect with consumers and spread their messages faster than ever.

According to recent data from Outbrain, consumers trust content on publisher sites 24.4% more than content they see on social platforms. They also look at native ads 53% more of the time than display ads.

Native ads are a creative way to offer fresh and exciting user experiences beyond the traditional banner ad. Native advertising allows you to talk directly to your target audience without being intrusive as other types of ads may be.

These advertisements appear organic instead of forced. Compare that with traditional banner ads, which are often ignored or blocked by visitors after their first use.

“It’s a great time to be in native advertising. There are more publishers, advertisers, and platforms than ever before all fighting to get their share of the pie. The opportunity is huge, but so is the competition. To succeed you need to be smart about your approach and play by the rules…”

What makes great native ads? Here are nine keys to implementing a successful native advertising campaign: 

  1. Use the right native advertising platform
  2. Make your business goals clear
  3. Be consistent with branding and product images
  4. Create relevant content that the audience wants
  5. Make your ads interactive
  6. Use video content to build your brand
  7. Invest in mobile advertising
  8. Test your audiences – and then test them again
  9. Keep track of results and make adjustments
  10. Bonus: Interesting facts and information about native advertising

1. Use the right native advertising platform

The placement and the automatic ad creation suggestions are critical to its success.

Make sure you choose the right native advertising platform for your audience and then capture them with content that resonates.

A native advertising platform that works with a large number of publishers will provide the most exposure for your brand. Some small networks may be better suited to certain industries or regions, however. Determine who your potential customers are and then advertise on sites that they frequent.

Remember that native ads need to feel like any other piece of content so they don’t stick out as much. If you engage them in ways that invigorate their experiences, you’ll be more likely to capture their interest.

Here at Sierra Research Partners, we can help you look at each native advertising platform available and make sure the ad placement is in line with your branded content and intentions.

2. Make your business goals clear

You must be clear about your goals and objectives before you create the content for your native ads. This can be challenging because you want to blend content into the environment without being obvious about selling the product or service.

If the goal is to make sales, then your content should clearly highlight why they should buy what you’re offering and how it will solve their problem.

However, if the goal is to build brand awareness, then marketing messages may be more subtle and simply highlight the features of your offerings.

3. Be consistent with branding and product images

Visually appealing native ads that are well branded will be far more successful than one that doesn’t have these important components in place, regardless of whether the advertisement contains a link to your website or not.

Examine your native advertising campaigns on an ongoing basis to ensure they are relevant, engaging, and visually appealing. Don’t let the campaign run its entire course before you take another look.

Keep your content relevant, consistent in appearance, and geared toward the business’s goals to produce results that correspond with your objectives for your native ads.

4. Create relevant content that the audience wants

Native ads are successful when they are relevant to what the reader is already interested in.

The first step is crafting engaging content that people want to read about or watch. If your story is interesting and valuable enough to earn readers’ attention, then they’ll be far more likely to continue reading the native ad without a negative reaction.

This increased trust and engagement leads to more views, clicks, shares, conversions, and brand loyalty.

It’s important to know what content your audience wants and needs prior to developing the native advertising campaign. If you can create that type of engaging story, then it’ll be far more interesting than a typical advertisement that isn’t relevant to their interests.

5. Make your ads interactive

An interactive and visually compelling advertisement will consistently outperform ads that are purely informational. Be authentic and don’t be afraid to let your brand personality shine through.

The best native advertising provides value to the consumer through useful information or an exciting offer that encourages them to click-through, share, or comment on the ad. The more you share, the more people will know about your products.

Adding a call-to-action can increase the number of time readers spend on your website, as well as improve the likelihood that they’ll click through to your site from a native ad.

Adding interactive elements such as videos, polls, quizzes, and calculators will keep your audience engaged for longer periods of time. This will help you better engage with your target audience and increase the likelihood that they’ll convert.

6. Use video content to build your brand

The number of internet users who watch online videos each day is growing rapidly. Native advertising using video content can help you get in front of these viewers and communicate with them directly.

Once you take the time to develop a quality video ad, there are several opportunities for more brand exposure.

If you’re looking to build upon the success of your video advertisement, then consider investing in a brand campaign.

By funding a brand campaign you’ll be able to define your positioning within a specific niche and leverage that attention for other advertising efforts. A branded campaign will help create buzz around your products or services, which can lead to a larger increase in sales and awareness of your brand.

Look out for a series of blog posts coming up soon about how to use video content effectively in your advertising campaigns.

7. Invest in mobile advertising

The percentage of total internet usage that comes from mobile devices continues to rise. Nearly half of U.S. consumers look at smartphone screens more than 150 times a day – and almost as many check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up each morning.

By investing in mobile native advertising units, your brand will have greater access to the growing number of internet users who use their mobile devices to access the internet.

Your target audience is constantly connected, so it’s important to make it easy for them to find you wherever they go online. Mobile native advertising allows you to monetize a specific audience within an ever-growing digital platform.

Mobile native advertising has also been found to perform better than traditional digital advertising. You can customize native ad content for smaller screens and offer visuals that are easier for mobile users to engage with. Investing in a mobile advertising campaign can help you reach new customers while keeping your brand top-of-mind among current customers.

8. Test your audiences – and then test them again

While you’re figuring out your ideal audience, it’s essential to test and retest their preferences.

Audiences are becoming more sophisticated by utilizing new technology to plan their day from start to finish. Experiment with new ways to reach audiences in real-time based on the specific interests and behaviors that you observe within your existing groups of customers.

A customized experience tailored to the moments that hold the most significant potential for engagement will bring your brand closer to consumers by enriching their routines with relevant and updated content.

Don’t forget to re-engage your audiences. It can take an average of 8 contacts for customers to convert, and that can vary by industry. The more of your content you put out there, the closer you get to a conversion.

9. Keep track of results and make adjustments

With so many tactics available for advertising, it’s crucial to track your campaigns data and adjust accordingly. In native advertising, the most significant indicator of success is audience response – whether or not they engage with the content. 

Be it an infographic, video blog post, or article, make sure you’re posting native ads that are fresh and relevant. Optimize your native ads for engagement and conversion, not just audience reach. The more engaged users are, the better the campaign will perform.

If your native advertising campaign isn’t converting well, then adjust your strategy and try again. By testing ad variations, you’ll be able to determine which elements are driving the most engagement and conversions.

10. Bonus: Interesting facts and information about native advertising

To round up this post, here are some interesting facts and information about native advertising and the digital world:

  • There are over 4.66 billion global internet users, and the number using mobile devices is increasing.
    • As of January 2021 there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide – 59.5% of the global population. Of this total, 92.6% (4.32 billion) accessed the internet via mobile devices, compared to 1.9 billion in 2014. [Source: Statista]
  • Native advertising will only become more popular on a global scale.
    • Native ads are 62% easier to understand than display ads, and 31% easier to understand than social ads according to a study in 2019. (Source: Outbrain/Lumen)
    • Native advertising spend globally is predicted to be worth $400 billion by 2025. [Source: The Drum]
    • During a late 2019 analysis of 50 content-focused Alexa sites using display advertising it was found that native or sponsored content ads were used by 42% of studied sites. [Source: Statista]

Native advertising blurs the line between editorial and sponsored content, offering advertisers more flexibility when it comes to reaching customers who will be willing to listen to their messages.

So what do you think about native advertising? If you’re ready to begin your native advertising journey, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you!