Native advertising is a form of paid advertisement where the ads are kept alongside the other published contents in a site but making those blend uniformly with the environment. Native ads mix with the visual elements and overall content to promote a certain product without disrupting the user experience. Traditional and invasive advertising formats, like banners or pop-ups, interrupt the user’s navigation whereas native advertising has the ability to attract much more attention from the readers as it is less noticeable. It contains relevant & productive information so are shared more by people in the social media platforms increasing the customer reach. Native ad formats complement the user experience, the publisher’s website and advertiser’s ROI. On programmatic SSP and DSP platforms, native advertising format can target more people. Native advertising examples can be suggested posts on Facebook, a sponsored tweet on Twitter, or one of the videos recommended to you when you start browsing YouTube. Advertisers, nowadays invest in native ads of the following social media platforms:
- Facebook – These ads are available on Facebook’s NewsFeed. This type of Branded content on Facebook accounted for between 5% to 10 %, which is almost 60% of the total annual revenue of a company. This proves the popularity of Facebook ads.
- Google: Google being the most popular search engine in the world, introduced a new type of native ads namely search-ads. Through this many of its advertisers were able to overcome the 4% ratio of CTR.
- Twitter: Twitter was the first social network platform to introduce native messages. The advertising brand was able to hire three different kinds of advertisements; Promoted Trends, Tweet Cards and Lead Cards.
- Linkedin: Since July 2013, Linkedin started to include native messages which were created to boost individual users professional profiles.
- Pinterest: In Pinterest, advertisers sponsor famous pins as a form of native ad. Pinterest included native messages on the network in this way and circulates them within all its users.
Native Ad Formats
- Open – Open platforms are defined by promoting the same branded content on multiple platforms or pages that share the same topic within the native ad format. The benefits of an open native ad is it is much less resource intensive as the content is to be created only once. The use of automation makes a campaign easier to manage and measure engagement.
- Closed – This form of native advertising is the one which is published by a specific page or environment. It is formatted according to the environment itself, for instance, a post on a specific blog, or an advertising message on a social network. Examples include Promoted Tweets on Twitter, Sponsored Stories on Facebook and TrueView Video Ads on YouTube. A closed platform gives a clear structure of the advertising and also the ability to tailor the advertising closely to individual audience type.
- Editorial content advertisement – These are part of a publisher’s normal content where ads are in a story format. The content was developed and written in conjunction with a publisher’s team and appears on a page within the site. These are all content which includes a sponsored message and are perfectly integrated into the environment following its format and style. Content mainly created by the advertisers and the editors themselves. They appear in-stream, match page function and mirror content behavior. These types of messages blend in perfectly like a piece of content of the website which allows them to go unnoticed. These ads allow users to interact with them without interruption or leaving the page and are more narrowly targeted placements that generate brand engagement.
- Search engines advertisement – Search engine marketing is a basic form of native advertising. The most popular search engines amongst users such as Google or Yahoo allow users to highlight their links in the results obtained by the users’ search. These sponsored links which come with a disclaimer identifying the brand or page appear at the top of the page of results. They’re considered a form of native advertising because they fit the form and function of the page. They are only marked as ads by their small yellow tags. SEM is great for location-based targeting and finding users at the same moment they are searching for your product or service. Google Adwords is the key player in paid search, but Bing also offers a paid search ad platform.
- Recommendation Widgets – Recommendation widgets are sponsored stories in which the paid content links appear in the form of a widget alongside the content. Though these ads are integrated into a publisher’s environment, the widgets do not have the same appearance as an editorial content feed, they introduce new behavior. They are in-stream but don’t match the page’s function. These ads are sold without guarantees hence have a broad target spectrum of audience. Widgets are typically measured by brand engagement metrics such as views, likes, shares or time spent on a page. It contains something that sets them apart, such as “don’t miss this” or “we recommend”. With the recommended widgets, sites can easily achieve their KPI goals and monetize the traffic by recommending content to viewers. Advertisers position themselves in front of this target audience by paying to have their content featured on the widgets.
- Promoted lists – These advertising messages are presented identically like the other products in the publishers content that can be found on the page. These ads are promotional and direct away from the site to a brand’s editorial content or a landing page. They are sold with guaranteed placements, and appear in-stream but don’t match a site’s function. Introducing a new behavioral pattern, these still narrowly targeted placements but elicit a direct response. Amazon would be the best example of a page that uses the promoted lists to include objects with links which direct to the brand’s page.
- Standard advertisements – These ads present themselves similar to display, even though they are set apart from the rest of the page by an identifying label. These types of announcements are found outside the editorial area of the page and do not share the format of the rest of the content. They are generally linked and redirected to a page external to the advertiser itself.
- In-Game native Ads – In this case, the ads seamlessly blend into the gameplay environment. The game assets are usually branded or replaced with branded assets. Incorporation of native ads includes replacement of the in-game assets character apparel, background elements, etc. with branded assets.
- Tailored – The most creative form of branded content. This one is agreed on and created by the editorial team of the environment and the advertiser. It can take on many creative shapes and types allowing for total creative freedom.
The most popular native ad formats are discussed in this native advertising guide though there are few other types too. Native advertising enables a brand to customize their branded experience to a great extent to suit the product or service they are marketing. It offers high quality, useful and updated information to the end user. In addition to that, it carries the added advantages of digital advertising which include cost-effectiveness, the broad spectrum of audience and the ability to precisely target viewers based on various factors which may include demographics, psychographics, behavioral targeting. Native advertising types have far exceeded the expectations of digital marketers and are fully future-ready.