Bob Garfield

3 tips for getting started with native advertising

If native advertising is on your 2014 to-do list, here's the 101 on how to begin. Are you meeting these criteria?

Think of native as a distribution platform for content

A lot of marketers can get hung up on buzzwords and forget what they actually mean. "Native" is a good example of that. It's a word that has been thrown around for years, and particularly since it has started to grow into a mainstream option for marketing strategies. It's important for marketers who are just entering this space to think of it in terms of content, not native. "Native" simply refers to the distribution platform you will use to push out content. Content is king. Stay focused on creating stellar content first, and don't get hung up on "doing native advertising" correctly.

Your benchmark of success from the beginning should be engagement, not clicks

Native ads are not traditional digital ads. What's the difference? Digital ads have become synonymous with having short-term, easy metrics that you can bring to your boss. The classic example is the click-through rate. When entering the native world, remember that the key to success is not impressions or clicks; it's engagement and time spent on page. You could get a million clicks on your content, but if people are only spending a few seconds on the page, you're failing at engaging your readers. However, if you get a few hundred clicks where readers spent several minutes on the page, that's a much better benchmark for success because you're pushing relevant, meaningful content associated with your brand.

Have a larger strategy for pushing content

There shouldn't be such a thing as "a little bit of native." Native is not a gimmick; it's a strategy that will require a long-term investment. You never hear the term "a little bit of social marketing" because brands know that social is an ongoing marketing outreach process that requires planning, thoughtful execution, and daily attention. Native is the new social marketing. Plan to create content on a constant basis if you're going to get involved. Create a schedule, collect content creators, and take it seriously. A haphazard native strategy makes a brand look more incompetent than one without any native strategy at all.

Justin Choi, president and CEO of Nativo, speaks with iMedia about his biggest tips for marketers who are just getting started in the world of native advertising.

Click here to subscribe to the iMedia YouTube channel!

"Image of businessman getting ready for race with two females" via Shutterstock.



Wade Kingston
Wade Kingston January 5, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Excellent tips, though I would add that finding a way to bring your native ad content to the mobile channel is critically important. Native mobile ads are going to be huge this year...