Native advertising is one of the hottest and the most controversial digital trends, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). While reports predict native advertising spend to touch USD 21 billion by 2018, a vast majority of marketers remain unsure about the best practices of native ad campaigns.
Here, we debunk five of the most common myths to help marketers understand what native advertising is all about and why it scores over other forms of advertising with consumers.
Myth #1: Native advertising is content marketing
Fact: Most marketers tend to think of native advertising as content marketing. Fact is, while content marketing relates to creating and distributing valuable content on owned media, native advertising is a method of content distribution. It involves placing an ad on a third party distribution platform such that it blends with the content the user consumes on that platform, without interrupting user experience. Native advertising takes various forms such as in-feed ads, paid search ads, promoted listings, custom, and recommendation widgets.
Myth #2: Native advertisements are difficult to deploy on mobile
Fact: Given the long-standing dominance of traditional banner ads, mobile application publishers are reluctant to accommodate anything beyond the standard 320×50 rectangle banners. So much so that it has led to the infamous banner blindness – a phenomenon where visitors consciously or subconsciously ignore banners or even banner-like information. Innovative mobile ad platforms such as Facebook’s Audience Network have been quick to recognize this gap and move beyond banners – giving developers the freedom to choose from a variety of native ad templates and play with the look and feel, location, font and color, and size of advertisements. The result is a less disruptive and more engaging and seamless user experience.
Myth #3: Native content is platform exclusive
Fact: Native content can be promoted anywhere on the web or mobile,as long as it remains contextually relevant, user-centric, and unobtrusive. For instance, a car manufacturer who uploads a branded video on YouTube can embed the same in the Facebook feed of its audience; put it up on Snapchat stories or other live streaming platforms, and even on the video page of a mobile or web publisher covering any aspect of the automobile industry.
Myth #4: Working with a publisher is imperative to run a native ad campaign
Fact: A native ad campaign’s success depends on the quality and relevance of content and there is no reason why marketers cannot generate the same on their own, without help from publishers. Content that a brand produces on its own is often far superior, informative, and carries the authenticity that consumers look for today, compared to publisher developed content. Royal Dutch airlines is doing a great job of creating their own publications. The company works with residents in some of the world’s most exotic places to offer readers a sneak peek into ‘up-close-and-personal tours’ of these destinations through its iFly KLM magazine. These ‘tours’ are posted on third party sites and linked to flight booking pages on the airline’s website for traffic and conversion.
Myth #5: Consumers hate native ads and don’t want them
Fact: According to an IAB research, 86% of consumers believe online advertising is necessary and one of the easiest ways to access free online content. Furthermore, the research reveals that 60% of consumers like ads that tell a story versus those that are sales-centric. The message is clear – there is a clear demand for native content that is informative, relevant, and most importantly, entertaining.
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