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What marketers need to do to experience native advertising success

Ensure you’re giving readers what they want to keep them coming back for more

Never Heard Of It? That’s Native Advertising Doing Its Job

Native ads are paid ads which blend in with the editorial flow on any site you visit, giving viewers the impression that they belong there. Being featured under categories like ‘Recommended for you’ and ‘Popular’, they camouflage themselves amidst the many articles and videos that bombard us, which is primarily how they succeed in crossing the ad-blocker hurdle.

Native Advertising: Marketing’s Dark Horse

Netizens have been expressing their exasperation towards banner ads, resorting to using ad-blockers for a while now. In fact, a report by PageFair suggests that 2016-2017 saw a 30% rise in ad-block usage, globally.

This however, does not deter publications from sponsoring content since it forms a significant chunk of their revenue. Sponsored ads vary from social media banners to in-app pop-ups with the most recent being a subtle plugin of sponsored editorials and “in-feed” ads, called native advertising.

Let’s Talk About ROI

The native ad spend is expected to reach $28 billion this year, in the U.S. alone. In fact, global native ad spends are set to double in 2018.Eventually, it isn’t the investment but the returns that matter to marketers, and seeing native advertising’s impressive results, it is a given that marketing professionals are willing to put most (or all) of their eggs in one basket.

So, how can marketers make the most of their investments?

Engage. Don’t interrupt.

As native ads need to flow right into the content without any disruptions, it is almost obligatory to create gripping articles with appealing tag-lines and images. But don’t get carried away with the tag-lines; make sure the content within remains king.

Use your data well.

Seize every opportunity to read through analytics, audience reports and study every aspect of your target audience. Ensure you’re giving readers what they want to keep them coming back for more. While teenagers may respond to video content, seniors might engage better with long-form reads.

A good case here would be Toshiba, who reached out to top management in business and technology, leveraging features like cross-platform targeting and premium news and business publishers. They published relevant content, including videos, blogs and infographics. With an engagement rate 5X higher than mobile display ads the campaign hit the bull’s eye proving that native ads aren’t just a B2C platform, but a B2B one, as well.

Be everywhere. Stay current.

Social platforms offer a plethora of options to reach out to the customer base. From Snapchat Filters to Instagram Stories, from Promoted Tweets to Recommended Facebook Articles, no matter what you choose, keep it relevant to the platform and to your audience. After all, publishing an article on Snapchat or a filter on Facebook isn’t going to do much good, is

Patience is a virtue.

Just like Rome, native ads aren’t built in a day, either. Invest well in the content creation process and build an emotional connect with your audience. The process may seem simple but is actually extremely complex. It requires an in-depth analysis of your audience, major support from your content creation team, coupled with a strong foothold in online marketing and proficiency in every kind of social media platform there is, out there.

Building a niche for itself, as per eMarketer, native advertising today accounts for 60% of digital advertising, being adopted by online portals as well as major publications like NDTV, Rediff and Hindustan Times. Native advertising, by this year, will account for 25% of the news media revenue as stated by the INMA and the Native Advertising Institute (NAI) in a 2016 study.

While all of this may seem far-fetched, considering how native ads are in their adolescence in India, prospective growth and long shelf-life builds a strong case for them to be in the limelight for quite some time—ensuring success for marketers in the long run.

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by Neena Dasgupta
source: BusinessWorld