So you think you understand Native? Part 1

When was the last time you clicked on a native ad? It may have been on one of several accommodating websites or social media but I bet it was in the last week? Native is absolutely booming in 2016 with zero signs of slowing down any time soon. It is designed to fit seamlessly with the content you are engaging with so to not look like a blatant ad. It is display adverting for the 21st century and ties in with peoples need to understand much more about what they are clicking.

Online publishers, blog owners and gossip sites are cashing in big time on peoples desire for self improvement and their intrigue for all things weird and wonderful. We are a nation of self obsessed, vain individuals with a thirst for tabloid gossip and a desire to know everything going on, even if most of it is bullshit!

“But wait, Isn’t native advertising just another word for content marketing?” I hear some of you say

Well the clue is in the 2 variations of the term. If you are calling something ‘Advertising’ then you are paying for the service, usually using someone else’s media to promote your product or service

If you are calling something ‘Marketing’, this usually suggests you own the media and are looking to promote your own product or services. This may mean you are the content writer for your companies blog and you see a great advantage in story telling to sell a product, and so you should! The only cross over is where you may be using your own media to promote another offer and taking a commission.

So, lets get back on track and discuss the type of thing you are likely to see from Native Advertising. I have included a few examples below, see if you can see a pattern?

native ads post 5

There is a lot of chat going round that native is just a fresh take on advertorials and that its not a new concept at all. That maybe so but as peoples on line habits evolve and data consumption reaches an all time high, the opportunity to exploit peoples intrigue has grown beyond comprehension. So what is it about these ads that have captured the interest of millions of readers world wide and when will people ever get wise to the extremely creative angles being used to drive the clicks?

Lets take a look at some of the ads being used and why they are so attractive. In the examples above, each one leaves you with just enough information to wet the appetite but not enough that you can skip past it without needing to know. The imagery is carefully selected, using visuals that very often have nothing to do with what you are about to see. Misleading? most definitely. Carefully planned and thought out based on human behavior and how people think? Absolutely.

So where do these ads lead once you’ve clicked? The perception of native ads is that you will be presented with a landing page, a huge call to action button and a crazy angle placed on a very average campaign. In some cases this does happen and you will be direct linked to the lander, however in many more cases, you are linked to a story on one of the millions of world wide content sites, littered with affiliate banners, text links and yet more sponsored ads for you to click.

The owner of the ad that was placed on the original site is paying per click through to his or her site and then monetising the traffic with a whole host of other links, some of which are native ads placed by a native network (Taboola, Outbrain). It really is a huge web of content, offers, links, banners and anything else designed to engage the info hungry reader. As a content publisher, you are working on both sides of the coin, placing fictional ads with the network, asking them to drive the traffic so you can monetise someone else’s fictional ad on your own site where they have often written the content.

And Breath…..

But these are just banners with a bit of text right?

Something I hear a lot and my answer is always the same…

“Are you serious?”

Followed by

“Bro, do you even read?”


“Your naivety offends me”

In a world where information is everything and people are consuming it at a record rate, how are people not getting that a basic display banner has little or no effect against something that quenches our thirst for a story, a piece of gossip or a cure for their love handles.

I see standard display banners slapped up on sites with very little relevance, about as engaging as foot fungus. The only difference between the 2 is that people have become so banner blind, that without a very creative piece of positioning or an offer that is simply too good to be true, a static banner is pretty pointless. They can be easily ignored, unlike foot fungus!

Native advertising combines creative imagery with an extremely well thought out caption designed to ignite peoples intrigue. It is story tell marketing that offers a much softer approach than a banner ad that simply says what it is and is placed where no one looks.

Native fits seamlessly with its surroundings meaning its extremely targeted to the user its designed to attract. Coupled with relevant content, often written by the advertiser themselves as opposed to the publisher displaying the ad, it makes for a hugely engaging channel. The CPC bidding model is advertiser friendly also, unlike a banner that is historically sold on an over priced CPM.

Historically, big publishers have had little or no incentive to change their model of selling banner space as people were happy to pay. Native encourages publishers to place ads in areas that will drive the most clicks, therefore thinking about how a user flows round their site. This in turn generates more revenue for them and a better experience for the user.

Watch this space for Part 2 coming soon where we look at verticals, angles and platforms…

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