Recently there has been tremendous buzz around native advertising -- and even buzz about the buzz. You know what I mean: One minute marketers are criticizing each other for glorifying it, the next, for underestimating its capabilities.
Traditionally, native advertising is thought of as a branding and awareness tool. Marketers are able to hold consumers' attention for longer periods of time and provide them with an abundance of information on their brand, new products, or whatever else they may be promoting.
There are certain components, however, that are attractive to direct marketers that are being utilized in a slightly modified process in order to effectively run customer-acquisition campaigns.
The industry is still undecided on the exact definition. Based on a report by the Online Publishers Association, 93 percent of publishers agree that a "native ad" is an advertisement integrated into content that lives on the same domain name. Essentially, they are ads that don't look like ads at first glance because they mimic the content of the site that they are hosted on. I personally have been "fooled" by the ads in my Facebook news feed on numerous occasions.
Since the way that content is presented is so dynamic, there are a lot of different forms that a native ad can take. It looks like a post on Facebook, a tweet on Twitter, an article on Forbes, and a video on YouTube.
There are typically two main components to a native ad: The ad unit and the content that it leads to (both of which are hosted on the publisher site). The CTRs on the initial ad are very impressive, but this statistic can be deceptive since it refers to the number of people that will see your content, not the number of visitors that you can expect to visit your website.
For branding and awareness this is OK, but if you are looking for the consumer to sign up or make a purchase then it's generally best to simplify the process flow and remove any unnecessary steps.
Show me the numbers
In general, 70 percent of internet users want to learn about a product through content, as opposed to a traditional advertisement. A study done by Sharethrough, which actually tracked eye movement, yielded that consumers are more welcoming and attentive to native ads.
Participants gave almost an equal amount of attention to native ads and the actual website content. In addition, consumers looked at native ads 53 percent more frequently than they looked at banner ads.
On the conversion side, native ads registered 18 percent higher lift in purchase intent vs. the 9 percent for banner ads. Lastly, 32 percent of participants said they would share the native ad with a friend or family member.
After monitoring beyond click-through rates, it has been observed that native ads yield higher post-click conversion rates with lower eCPAs. In addition, publishers have shown that they were able to generate much higher impressions on performance-based campaigns with native ads, proving that they generate more value for both publisher and advertiser.