Native ads are all the buzz these days. There are a number of very good reasons why we love native ads. They compliment virtually any context and fit naturally within our omni-channel and multi-screen online experience. Native ads build brand credibility and allow brands to engage prospects across early and late stages of the buyer journey. A recent Click Z study found that over 60 percent of people have a positive impression of native advertising. But despite all the hoopla and promise, developing native ad strategies can be a challenge for many B2B marketers. So we want to share a few thoughts and native ad tips to help you get off to the right foot or better your current efforts. Native ads live in that space between traditional display ads and content marketing. Native ads typically consists of an image, a headline and copy excerpt taken from a published article, blog post, or web page. Native ads and the content they include or link to do not sell directly or include a “buy” message; instead the emphasis is on “learning more.” Ad placement is most often programmatic via a wide variety of “recommended” and “in stream” native ad networks. These networks are typically made up of news sites, blogs and the like frequented by your target audience.
1. CREATE GREAT CONTENT
As in the case of content marketing, useful, meaningful, quality content is critical for native advertising. This is especially true for B2B marketers with complex products and longer sales cycles. Start with your blog and the tribal knowledge within your own organization. Think about the top information needs of your prospects along their buyer journey and develop helpful information that establishes your brand as an authority and helps them in the various stages of their quest.
2. BE COMPLETELY TRANSPARENT
According to Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 43 percent of U.S. news site readers have felt disappointed or deceived after reading content they didn’t realize was sponsored. Some of this is the fault of unclear labeling by the publisher, but marketers should also be upfront and proud of their content and sponsorship. Don’t be afraid to letting your logo shine or included mentions of your brand.
3. THINK MOBILE FIRST
Your prospects are spending more time on mobile devices. Native ads match the natural form and function of whatever platform they appear, especially on mobile. Native ads convert at a 30%+ higher rate on mobile over desktop. Make sure your ad and landing page images, titles, copy, video, etc. are fully optimized for mobile viewing from the outset.
4. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
A robust understanding of your target customer(s) is the key to creating great content and effective ad targeting strategies. What is their demographic information? What is their station in life personally and professionally? Where do they go for information? What are their pain points as it relates to your product or services? Consider creating a buyer persona for each of your top prospect types.
5. LEAVE THEM WANTING MORE
Good native ads campaigns respect the user and delivers value. They inform, educate, inspire and entertain. Great native ads leave the user wanting more and indicate a clear path to get more. Include links for additional information and related content to help move them to the next stage. Use gated premium content offers in exchange for their email information for downstream prospect nurturing.