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Content is arguably the biggest trend to hit online marketing since the advent of social media, video and search. 

Content is everywhere. And with content comes the opportunity for new, exciting, content based advertising models.

Enter native advertising. Find out what all content marketers need to know. 

Native adverts are contextually relevant posts that combine paid, owned and earned media into a clearly labelled branded message that is user initiated.

Native placements sit seamlessly into the overall design of the host site so that they look like part of the site, rather than any external element to it.

The above is a broad definition of what you should expect to see from Native adverts.

If we are talking Native advertising, it should include these three elements:

  1. Content-led advertising. Promoted, fully branded custom content.
  2. The advert sits seamlessly in the design and layout of the host site. The ad doesn’t sit in a banner placement or as an overlay that interrupts the site, it is a part of the editorial of the host site.
  3. The advert is user initiated. The user has to click to view the ad.

What do you need to think about when setting up a native ad campaign? 

You cannot talk about native without talking about content. Many marketers forget this point. Native only works if the content you are promoting is engaging and offers value to your potential customers. So how do you do this? 

David OgilvyA great tip is to think like a publisher. Most media folk will remember the famous David Ogilvy quote from 1956;

It has been found that the less an advertisement looks like an advertisement, and the more it looks like an editorial, the more readers stop, look and read. Therefore, study the graphics used by editors and imitate them. Study the graphics used in advertisements, and avoid them.

This is essentially why native works. Put content at the centre of your native campaign.

Remember it is this content that will be used to reach your target audience, and it will largely influence whether your Native campaign is a success or a failure. So spend time getting the content right. Think first, create editorial or video content later.

If you are thinking of creating content that can be used for a Native campaign there are a few things to think about. 

Most brands, even if they are not already creating content themselves, will be surprised about how much content they actually already have. Content that can easily be transformed into native-ready content by an experienced marketer.

Content areas to think about from within your brand include:

  • Video. Whether seeding new online or TV ads, or perhaps distributing any additional video footage such as ‘the making-of’ videos, behind-the-scenes footage, company interviews, outtakes or concept packages; all can easily be promoted via Native promoted posts.
  • News / Tips. This format works very well for any native campaign based around social media or Resident Native placements such as those services offered by Outbrain and Taboola.

    Creating editorial or video that is timely and relevant can be a great way to position your brand via content as a leader and commentator in touch with your customer-base. 

  • Interviews /How-Tos/ Guides. Bespoke content that has already been created for your brand, or is about to be, can be promoted via Native to give consumers access to the content they are looking for.

    Remember, give your customers something they want and you will more often than not be rewarded.

  • Infographics. Infographics are easily promoted via native formats to generate significant reach. They are extremely shareable too, offering significant opportunities for earned media reach when promoted properly.
  • Press releases/company news. There is no reason why a company announcement that you are keen to share with a relevant engaged audience, cannot be shared via native.

    Remember; the content is clearly labelled as sponsored and can also easily be tagged to say it is a press release too. Native is just another distribution method.

Native advertising and creativity: this is just the start

These are just some examples of the types of content that can be promoted via native posts. Within specific native placements it is possible to include, when relevant, items such as user polls, looking for consumer engagement, discount vouchers for direct response, white papers or guide downloads, gamification and a whole lot more.

The creative options open to marketers with native are only just beginning. I for one cannot wait.

This is an extract from How to Win at Native: Your Definitive Guide. Download it for free now.
Dale Lovell

Published 13 November, 2013 by Dale Lovell

Dale Lovell is Content & Publishing Director at Adyoulike.com and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

11 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

Neale Gilhooley

Neale Gilhooley, MD at Evolution Design

Re David Ogilvy's quotation, this is why the ASA ruled that advertisements looking like editorial (advertorial) must have the word ADVERTISMENT clearly stated so as not to confuse the poor consumer as it was being overdone.

Google PPC text ads are marked as Ads related to... albeit in small text.

So will all native ads end up the same way?

over 2 years ago

Dale Lovell

Dale Lovell, Chief Digital Officer at Adyoulike

Good point Neale. All of the Native campaigns we run are clearly labelled as sponsored or promoted. This is clear for all to see. When we talk about the labelling I'm reminded of another well known quote actually from Howard Luck Gossage:

"The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interest them, and sometimes it's an ad."

So if the content is good, relevant and of interest they will still read/interact with it. Even if it is labelled as sponsored.

over 2 years ago

Dale Lovell

Dale Lovell, Chief Digital Officer at Adyoulike

Also, can Econsultancy change my byline at the foot of this article? My name is Dale not Dave! (though I get called Dave often!)

over 2 years ago

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Unknown

Haha check this site out im reading your article through it right now
http://www.gizoogle.net/

over 2 years ago

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