Native Advertising Explained: the Facts, Figures, and How It Will Help

Native advertising is a new and popular form of advertising on the internet. Most global brands, including Starbucks, Netflix, and MasterCard, are currently using it to some extent. Some of these ads are prohibitively expensive, with a series of five sponsored Buzzfeed posts reportedly costing $100,000 back in 2013. Other opportunities, such as sponsored Facebook ads, can cost less than $100 to reach tens of thousands of people. This form of advertising is likely to become increasingly common over the next few years.

online advertising concept illustration

What Is Native Advertising?

Native advertising emerged in the early 2010’s as a response to the diminishing effectiveness of traditional ads on the internet. Newly popular media websites such as Buzzfeed began running sponsored news stories, clearly labeled as such, mixed in with their own original content. This practice spread over the next few years. By 2013, mainstream publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times were also using this form of advertising.

Social media platforms began including sponsored posts in their users’ news feeds as well. This presented a much more accessible form of native advertising, enabling small brands to reach a broader audience. Native ads earn Facebook several billions of dollars a year.

Who Uses Native Advertising?

The job title generally associated with native ads is the online marketing manager. These are the people who work with brands to coordinate advertising campaigns on the internet. The ads themselves are made by content creators, writing the copy and creating the imagery for the sponsored posts. This content will vary significantly depending on the platform. A sponsored tweet looks very different from a sponsored blog post, and content creators have to know what works in each context.

Larger native advertising campaigns, such as ordering a series of articles with a major news outlet, fall into the realm of the media buyer. This is because large scale native ad campaigns are very expensive and require significant strategic planning and negotiation. Companies often bid against each other for the same ad space, driving up the price. These big campaigns are much more complicated than the smaller ones.

Ways in Which Native Advertising Can Help Your Business

Native advertising can be used to benefit your business in a number of ways. Here are a few examples of the metrics you can improve:

  • Mailing List Signups;
  • Website Traffic;
  • Facebook Page Likes;
  • YouTube Subscribers.

An inexpensive way to start is to create sponsored social media posts. For example, if you want to use native advertising to drive mailing list signups, you can create a sponsored post with a button that leads directly to a signup form. Facebook makes it very easy to design these posts and measure the ROI later on.

Another option is to team up with news outlets to create awareness about a specific product. Even if you can’t afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars in this area, it is worth reaching out to local or industry-specific media outlets. A smaller newspaper or blog may be able to offer much more affordable rates for sponsored content.

4 Tips for Native Advertising

1. Native ads receive twice as much visual focus as non-native ads…

Traditional ads, including banner ads and pop-ups, receive much less visual focus than native ads. This is measured by recording where a person’s eye goes on the page as they browse through a news feed. People have developed the instinct of not even glancing at traditional ads. Instead, native advertising offers a much better method for getting consumers to focus on your content.

2. 89% of news media organizations view native advertising as important for their company…

With other revenues declining for news media organizations, native advertising represents an important new source of money. Nearly nine out of every ten media companies reports that they take native ads seriously, so these ads are likely to get even more popular in the future. Marketers who stay up to date in this area will have an increasingly significant advantage over the competition.

3. 70% of people want to learn about new products through content rather than advertising…

Consumers these days are tired of traditional advertising. 26% of people currently use adblocking on their desktop computers, with 16% even blocking ads on their mobile devices. This means that one fourth of your audience will never see a banner ad in the first place. Even if they do see the banner ad, this fact suggests that they won’t be happy about it. People prefer native advertising, and savvy marketers will give it to them.

4. Reading a native ad headline gets 308 times as much consumer attention as looking at an image…

Even if someone ignores a native ad after reading the headline, they’ve already engaged deeply with that brand. The fact that a single headline is hundreds of times more effective than a banner ad is staggering. This means that a banner ad needs to cost less than a hundredth of what a native ad does in order to offer a similar ROI. Given how significant the difference is, it makes a lot of sense for businesses to experiment with native advertising.

your ad here native advertising concept

The gist of native advertising illustrated.

Summing Up

It is clear that native advertising represents a significant opportunity for businesses to effectively market themselves on the internet. The statistics show that it’s way more effective than traditional advertising, even at an affordable scale for small business. The fact that big brands from General Electric to Nike are already using native ads only reinforces this conclusion.

At this point, it isn’t a matter of if you should try native advertising. It’s a question of how. For beginners, Facebook represents an inexpensive and easily measurable starting point. Have you used native advertising with your business? How did it work out? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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