According to ShareThrough, the actual definition of native advertising is this:
“Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.”
So, both form and function is important when it comes to native advertising. The ad must provide a visual experience that feels natural and not forced or out of place. Additionally, the ad should function naturally just like the actual content of the page does. Quite a few of the biggest companies out there actually offer monetisation of native advertising on their sites. Some of these include Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, the Wall Street Journal, and Instagram.
With that in mind, you can see how native advertising has been picking up the pace and is certainly considered extremely important for reaching more customers. After all, it improves the user experience, and that is guaranteed to get you more attention than you would if you use non-natural, in-your-face-advertising. However, there are mistakes many marketers make when it comes to native advertising. If you want to make this work for your business, there are things you need to avoid.
Offering No True Definition
The whole purpose of native advertising is for the information to incorporate well within the user experience without feeling unnatural, jarring, or out of place. However, you do not need to confuse the reader either. Essentially, your goals with native advertising have to be twofold:
- To make your ad fit in well so that it comes naturally through both form and function.
- To clearly define that you ad is, in fact, an ad. If you lose this and confuse your potential customers, they won’t even know what to do.
In other words, don’t get so deeply embedded in content that your ad totally loses advertising status. You need to define what it is. The viewer needs to know what it is. But it doesn’t need to interrupt user experience.
Deceiving the Viewers
This is a touchy subject. After all, the sole purpose of native advertising is to ensure the ads themselves feel natural on a page. This type of marketing was specifically created in order to get more clicks than people were experiencing from banner ads.
It’s fine to make sure your ad is somewhat camouflaged among the other content, but there is a fine line between remaining native and deceiving viewers. If people feel like you tried to dupe them, then they aren’t going to be happy. So, in other words, it needs to be clear that you are advertising to them without being out of place.
A good example of this would be on Facebook when you promote a post about your page. While it will appear natively in the person’s newsfeed, it will be clearly marked as a sponsored ad. This keeps the advertising as natural as possible without deceiving the customer.
Providing Invaluable Content
When you know that your advertising will flow with the rest of the content on the page, it is quite easy to get lethargic. Instead of providing content that will actually be of some use to the viewer, some advertisers will simply throw some information out there and hope it gets attention.
What you have to remember about native advertising is that it still has to serve a purpose. Its design and content is just as important as any other form of advertising. People need to get some use out of the content. It should:
- Inform viewers of something.
- Explain something to viewers.
- Appeal to viewers’ emotions.
- Get the attention of potential customers.
- Create a need and offer a solution.
Your content needs to be of high quality, and that’s not just for your business either. Native advertising can reflect badly on the webpage where you are advertising too. After all, the content is meant to flow. If you provide something of poor quality or empty, it looks like the webpage itself is of poor quality too.
Not Getting Your Point Across
Advertising will do absolutely no good if it doesn’t bring viewers back to your business. You need to connect the two. In other words, what is the point of providing information and then not showing how your product or service will be the answer to the viewer’s needs? Essentially, you are giving yourself the perfect chance to get traffic to your website, why waste it?
No matter how carefully you have designed your native advertising to conform well on a website, it still needs to get viewers back to your page. For example, if you sponsor an ad on Facebook, that ad needs to get people to your page or your website. You should never simply state “you need a photographer in California.” Instead, you need to state “you need a photographer in California, and here I am.” There’s a big difference between the two.
Remember that any good advertisement will do several things:
- Create a need (there has to be a reason why people would require your product or service).
- Provide a solution to that need.
- Show how your product or service is that solution.
- Offer a call to action.
These are key characteristics of any type of advertising, native or not. You must always follow these things if you don’t do this, then your advertisement will be wasted.
Native advertising is growing in popularity simply because it doesn’t get in the way of user experience. Instead, it supplements the experience my remaining natural in form and function. You can use native advertising very effectively for your own business, but for it to work, you have to use it in the right way. That means avoiding these issues that many marketers find themselves dealing with. Your advertising, no matter where it may show up, should have a clear definition of what it is, never lie to viewers, get a point across, and provide quality content. If you make sure to do those things, then you can be more successful.
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