Web & Technology Design

Digital Ad Anatomy: Making the Most of Native Advertising

Digital Ad Anatomy: Making the Most of Native Advertising

Digital Ad Anatomy: Making the Most of Native Advertising

In one of my last entries, I brought up something called Native Advertising. Native Ads not, contrary to popular opinion, the digital ads that called the internet home until Colonization Ads came in and kicked them out. Native ads are also not digital ads which ask you to follow a star to their home page… those are Nativity Ads. (I’m claiming that idea, by the way. It’ll be worth millions one day).

Native advertising is a campaign of digital ads that have the same look and feel as the rest of the content on your page. You’ve definitely seen them if you’ve ever spent a day online. At the bottom of almost any news article, for example, you can see half a dozen suggested stories (“10 ways to remove facial hair with a pencil”, “5 celebrities who think the moon is alive”), but when you click on one, suddenly you’ve been taken to a blog post on completely different site. And the funny thing… you probably didn’t even mind.

That was native advertising doing its thing. And it does its thing very well.

The Future Is Native

According to Business Insider, native advertising will eventually claim 71% of all digital ad revenue by 2021. That’s a lot of cash, and there’s a good reason for that. With more and more users going mobile, and more and more desktop users using ad blockers, the traditional ad space inventory is shrinking rapidly. Ads now must blend in, appear non-invasive, and employ more and more tricks to claim those prized click-throughs. Native ads do all of the above… when done correctly.

As a business and website owner, you get to choose whether or not to tap into the native advertising market… but do so carefully. You may sell this ad space on your site, or you may purchase these ads to drive traffic to your site. When done right (providing interesting and insightful content), you can quickly win over users. But if they land on a site that’s boring, or is very different than what they were promised by the native ad, they can feel tricked, angry, and wind up hating you for it.

Making Native Advertising Work for You

Curious? Sold? Ready to give it a shot? Here’s a few things to keep in mind.

  • Know Your Audience – If your native ad is promising tasty recipes for steak but it’s placing on a PETA fundraising page, you probably aren’t going to get a lot of clicks. Remember… blend in. You’re a native, not a tourist, so make your content match the rest of the site.
  • Remember the Endgame – Just getting a click with a native ad isn’t a win. You know it’s working if, after they click, they continue to engage with your site / product.
  • Emotion is Compelling – Nostalgia, anger, concern, fear, excitement… conjure up one of these emotions with your native ad content and you’ll rope in a lot more clicks. There’s a lot happening on sites these days, and using emotion to your advantage helps you stand out. Think like a storyteller. Be entertaining. Oh… and be brief. For the love of all that is TLDNR, please be brief.
  • Don’t Write Press Releases – No one likes reading press releases. I’ve written press releases and even I didn’t like reading them. In fact, don’t mention your company at all if you can help it. Let the content stand on its own, and let your brand just ride on its coattails.

Writing and designing native ads can be a fun challenge, and as I mentioned earlier, if you’re advertising your site at all, there’s a good chance you’ll be using them one day soon—if you aren’t already.

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