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3 bad practices sabotaging your native advertising strategy

Native advertising is a form of paid channel that is often lauded as the ultimate, non-interruptive way through which brands can connect with current or prospective customers. Unsurprisingly, then, the tendency so far has been to celebrate it as a key driver of growth in digital advertising – in 2017, native advertising saw the biggest growth in ad buyers of all ad formats.

In light of this, recent research revealing a slow-down in its growth was thus rather unsettling. While most marketers already know and understand that creating compelling content is a must-have in their digital marketing arsenal if they want to be relevant online.

However, the problem is that they are still too stuck in the traditional marketing ways of thinking, with the result being that they are simply not seeing the ROI they should get. We look at three things that marketers are doing badly when it comes to their native advertising executions.

The content is unengaging

It might be selfish but marketers all want their brand and their product to be the star. However, when writing something, they should put themselves in their customer’s shoes. Look at the content and ask the all-important question: “So what?” Product X uses this ingredient – so what? Product Y has 5 blades – so what? Why is the customer going to care?

Ultimately, marketers must give their audience something of value – say something interesting, say something relevant, say something funny. Did they become a better human being after reading or watching your content? Remember, marketers, it’s not about you or your product, it’s about your audience! Focus on benefits instead of features – having good quality content is the first step to nailing your native ads.

The headline is either too boring or reads like a clickbait

Have you ever found yourself drawn to click on a headline that started with this phrase: “You won’t believe how…”? That is textbook clickbait, one of the most effective ways to entice someone to click. We’ve all fallen into that trap before – and that’s the thing, it’s a trap.

Asa marketer, you do not want your customers to feel disappointed after they’ve clicked. Sure, you got them to click, but what’s the point if they then leave the page immediately? Yet if you want them to be truly engaged in your content, having over-sensational headlines is poor practice.

On the other hand, something too simplified and boring won’t work either. You’ve got to strike a balance – what you want are headlines that are interesting but not disappointing. Here’s a good infographic you can refer to for headline best practices for Native Ads:

It wasn’t boosted

You’ve worked hard to come up with high quality content and spent a good chunk of money on it – great, but did anyone see it? I often see brand websites or YouTube channels with an overwhelming amount of content, but still the site visitors and view count are very low.

Here is the lesson: just because you published something doesn’t mean it will be seen. When it comes to TV, ad creation to distribution spend ratio is 1:5. However, for online content the ratio is reversed. Why? Marketers make the mistake of relying solely on organic reach, a tactic that is unfortunately no longer effective. Spending on search and social is now critical.

At the same time, advertisers who want to get maximum reach can also consider spending on a discovery platform, which can instantly boost reach and get your content in front of people who want to consume it.

It’s not all doom and gloom for native advertising. In 2018, more than three-quarters of all display advertising on mobile will be native, while nearly 96% of ad spend on social media will be on native ad units. The upshot is that we must do better – while native advertising has been found to nurture better relationships between customers and brands online, you have to do it right.

Avoiding the 3 bad practices listed above is a good starting point. Writing pieces that matter to the reader, setting the right expectation with good headlines, and spending on amplification are simple but essential steps to achieving great native advertising executions.

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by Celine Veloso
source: CMO Innovation