If you haven’t heard of the term “native advertising” yet, don’t feel bad. It’s a fairly new trend, but it’s also about time you became familiar with it. With native advertising (or natural advertising), the ads are so well integrated into a website that it seems to be part of the content. It’s not that the ads are subliminal or hidden, but rather they seem more like actual posts on the website. Basically, instead of invading visitors with content they don’t want to see, you create advertisements that match the format and content of your web site, but the links still connect to an external site.
What’s a Native Ad?
An excellent example of native advertising via online outlets is Facebook’s sponsored stories. This option is used to promote and increase the visibility of different brands. Sponsored stories are based on the number of “Likes” that users give to the particular page being shown. These ads appear directly on the news feeds of Facebook users, so if a friend appreciates a local restaurant or shop, a commercial sponsoring of that business is established.
Native ads change the usual format that we’re used to, which makes it quite easy for a visitor to perceive them as normal and natural content. Without even being aware that the ad is in fact an ad, the consumer might end up finding out more information, and acquiring a liking for the particular product or service.
Native advertising quite closely resembles advertorials, which combine article promotion with a journalistic style. It is an alternative to the traditional advertising we are accustomed to. Most often, advertorials are used to increase brand and product awareness, or to instigate positive opinions. Sometimes advertorials will even feature interviews, reports, and editorials for advertising purposes.
The Native Effect
When properly executed, native advertising reaps positive results. The desired effect is that the user visits a site that they are interested in, discovers valuable information about a particular brand within the website’s content, and creates a positive perception in regard to that brand.
Ban the Banners
A large number of consumers have never clicked on a banner ad, but would happily read promotional articles if the content suited their liking. Native advertising causes a greater number of users to access the ads, with a click-rate up to five times higher when compared to basic banners. Any company can tell a story about its products, strategy, or vision, and get promoted using the tools offered by media. It’s just a matter of realizing the behavior patterns of your potential customers.