Why Native Marketing is The Future...

If you are relying on traditional advertising such as banner ads to catch the eyes of your prospects and convert them to clients, you’re probably feeling very frustrated at the lack of results it is bringing. Our mobile device dependant society has changed the way we look for and view online material including advertising.

There has been a huge shift away from that style of advertising because it no longer works as effectively as it once did. What is working, however, is native advertising.

At the moment, 75% of publishers incorporate native marketing on their websites but by the end of the year, the figure is estimated to be more like 90%.  What have they spotted that you haven’t?

I think you’ll find your answer here:

  • People view native ads 53% more than banner ads.
  • Purchase intent is 53% higher with native ads.
  • Native ads that include rich media boost conversion rates by up to 60%.
  • Native advertising generates up to an 82% increase in brand lift.
  • Mobile ads in a native format drive four times higher click through rates than mobile banner ads.

Impressive, hey?


So what exactly is native advertising and why should you be using it?

Sharethrough defines native advertising as “A form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.”

So, native advertising is advertising that doesn’t look like advertising. It looks and reads like content but manages to include a form of promotion within it.  Here’s how Mashable sees it.

The advertising is part of the overall experience that a reader has when he or she visits your site or reads your content, i.e. articles, podcasts, video presentations etc, so it builds engagement and forms part of your whole branding process.

The second piece of the puzzle is to drive traffic to your content. You can pay to advertise your article within the ‘recommended reading’ sections of other major sites such as forbes.com by using platforms such as www.outbrain.com  Thereby driving people to read the “full” article directly on your website, of which of course includes a direct product / service promotion related to the content to help secure the sale.

Target has jumped into native advertising with stories like this one on Buzzfeed.  When you click the link to the article (who can resist cats with an identity crisis?) you are also presented with an advertising link at the top plus opportunities to connect with the brand.

While a campaign like this might not send you rushing off to Target right now, it has planted a link in your mind between the business and pet care.

Mountain Dew, on the other hand, have created an entire online magazine filled with the types of stories they believe will appeal to their target market. They promote the stories via their Facebook page, sending thousands of readers per day over to the site.

Of course, there is always the sponsored post, too, which appears on a number of platforms. This example is from LinkedIn.  The sponsored posts slot into the news feed and look like every other post.

You can see how the advertising and promotion has become part of the brand and is inseparable from the content.  When people read the story they are also absorbing information about the business.

The real value of native advertising is that it extends the reach of your content and gets people involved with it.

Now that you know what it is, let me show you how to take advantage of this organic style of marketing to build engagement with your prospects and boost your rate of conversion.


How to get started.

The most critical part of the process is your strategy.  Mashable says that “On average, we’ve found that our readers actually spend nearly 50% more time on articles created as part of a custom content program versus organic posts.”

Here are my tips on building your native advertising strategy.


Step #1.  Know your ideal client.

In the example above, you saw that Mountain Dew built a strategy based on the interests of the people who buy the drink.  Their clients like outdoor life, skateboards, street style, street art, rap music and so on…

Their magazine, the look of the visuals posted to their social media pages and their language is all chosen because they know that’s what will appeal to their clients. The look is young and edgy, and the language uses terms straight off the street. That’s what will catch their eye as they scan the newsfeed and make them stop to pay attention.

You need to know your clients that well, too.


Step #2.  Develop content that they will want to engage with.

What do they want to know?  What do they enjoy reading about? Why will they read it?  What’s in it for them?

You can’t trick people into reading something they don’t want to read so you’ve got to give them a reason to click.

A catchy title is really important. Things like “10 reasons to ….” or “Really strange ways to…” will appeal to our human curiosity. How often have you clicked on titles like that just to see what the post or article is all about?

Don’t just think about articles or written posts.  Add branded visuals to catch the eye. According to an infographic on SocialTimes, ads that include rich media boost conversion rates by up to 60%.

Rich media includes things like video, quizzes, polls, coupon downloads – pretty much anything that involves the reader taking action.  It’s a really easy step to click on a link to your product once the reader has already commented or clicked on something else in your advertising.  SocialTimes puts the click through figure at a whopping 52%!


Step #3.  Include a CTA

If your readers are ready to click through, give them a reason to do it.

Look at Target’s BuzzFeed native advertising in the image above. It includes a call to action right at the top. Don’t get so hung up on creating the ideal piece of content that you forget your main purpose – to boost conversions and generate sales.

Here’s how Gizmodo does it.  It looks like an article and reads like an article, but the closing line gives you a reason to click through to NetFlix.

In this particular case, they have ‘paid’ to have an article featured “on” GIZMODO.com and within the body of it, there is a solid CTA to drive people direct to Netflix. This is ultimately where a purchase will be made.


Step 4.  Build a solid and persuasive landing page

Think about where you want your prospects to go when they click that CTA. Don’t just leave them stranded on the home page of your website.  You’ll lose them immediately.

Take them straight to your story or, if they’ve read it elsewhere, to a special sales page which follows on. Take them to the product you want them to see or at least add a pop-up to your website so you can capture the email address.

You’ve managed to get them over to your website, now offer them something they’ll want enough to give you money or their email address for.


Step 5.  Understand your publisher and their requirements

Your content will need to be designed and delivered in ways to suit each publishing platform.

  • Sites such as Facebook and Forbes deliver your content through their regular news feeds.
  • Search engines have paid advertising spots.
  • Other sites use “recommended reading” widgets to link to content
  • Foursquare, Amazon and some other platforms have paid promotions.

That means your content will be placed differently on each platform. The number of words or characters you use might be limited, and some may not suit image-based content.

Find out where your prospects are – which channel they use – and study the requirements of that platform. Build your content around it.


So now what?

Now it’s over to you to start planning your native advertising campaigns.  Remember that your best results will come from quality content, more than the money you throw at your campaign. The key to impressive results lies in your strategy.

If you would like help defining your marketing plan, click here now to take a look at my 30 Day Business Turnaround Program Over 30 days I will show you solid marketing strategies that don’t date and that can be used on each different platform. I will show you how native advertising fits into your marketing plan and give you more ideas on how to promote your business to generate more income.

I’m sure you will have some questions for me about native advertising, so feel free to leave them in the comments area below and I will answer them for you.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Katrina Fox

    Hi Ben

    Have you used native marketing yourself via Outbrain and if so, for what and what results have you seen so far?

    Do you recommend using it for the purpose of getting a sale ie one of your products, or for getting leads ie the CTA is to sign up to your list?


    • Ben Angel
      Ben Angel

      Hey Katrina,

      Great question. I haven’t personally used Outbrain as of yet, however colleagues of mine have, and like everything it does require testing and measuring to get the results that you’re after. Re. the CTA, I recommend doing it for both. At any given time I am running campaigns that encourage an ‘immediate’ sale and one that get’s someone to sign up to my list to nurture the prospect for a later sale. Both are building revenue in the business. I would of course focus heavily and a campaign that does generate immediate sales so you run instantly at a profit.

      Re. a piece of content to achieve this objective, my articles always end with a recommendation to one of my products, plus, for those that have not visited my website before, there is always a pop encouraging them to opt-in to get the free book. Two birds with one stone in other words.

      Thanks Katrina, I hope this helps.

      Ben 🙂

  • Katrina Fox

    Thanks Ben. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and yes that does help. As a journalist of 15 years I find the whole native advertising thing fascinating and will be interested to see how it develops – as well as seeing how I can take advantage of it, in a way that feels ethical.

    I like the way you add a link to your paid programs at the end of your articles – after delivering great value.

    Cheers 🙂

    • Ben Angel
      Ben Angel

      My absolute pleasure Katrina. Native advertising is definitely already in full swing. One of the most successful examples I can give you is the website http://www.bodybuilding.com/ They feature body transformations every week and in the transformation they give their diet and links to purchase the supplements they used – they’re followed by millions. Great content with an ethical up-sell. Just know that the ethical part all comes back to whether or not you feel like you truly provide value and in many cases it’s more about self-worth than anything else. Once you make the switch, you’ll be shouting your services from the roof top. 🙂 Stay in touch.


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