Going native: harnessing content to connect with your consumers

The digital world has opened many doors for advertisers and marketers, but it has also created some new challenges. One issue is that consumers now have the option of ignoring, skipping, or opting out of digital advertising messages whenever they like. Exponential recently put the average click through rate for display-based online advertising at only 0.02%. Clearly we have to find new ways to make a connection.

This is where native advertising comes in. Native advertising is the practice of integrating ads into a site’s content by inserting text or image based content into different environments to provide a seemingly unified experience. These scalable advertising platforms make it harder for the consumer to ignore your marketing message and easier for them to understand and engage with your product.

Choosing the right format for success

Integrated advertising can take almost any shape or form. Picking the right one depends on your objectives and is the first step to effectively connecting with your consumer. The goal is to present your message in such a way that it improves rather than interrupts the consumer’s online experience.

To achieve this, the content needs to be carefully positioned so that it engages consumers— who would normally not even notice a display or traditional ad format—and inspires them to read, watch or click on the advertisement.

There are many companies finding clever ways to integrate branded messages into their paid content. Red Bull weaves branding into their content by producing engaging action-packed videos that capture the consumer’s attention while still referencing their product. Google has also been smart at finding ways to subtly improve the look and feel of the native advertising integrated on their search pages. Facebook advertising is also great at presenting advertising messages that blend neatly with user posts in the mobile newsfeed.

At Rokt, we have the ability to integrate our technology entirely into our partner sites, so that when consumers are presented with relevant offers, they are completely inline and look like recommendations from the site.

Always aim for relevancy

Regardless of what form you choose, the important thing to remember is that the power of integrated advertising depends on its relevance to the consumer, both in terms of appearance as well as content.

Integrated advertising can take almost any shape or form. Picking the right one depends on your objectives and is the first step to effectively connecting with your consumer.”

Many businesses think of ‘native’ as referring to advertising that is disguised as content. While this is one form, there are also numerous examples of native advertising that is simply relevant advertising cleverly integrated into an existing platform so the online experience of a consumer is not interrupted. Paid ads on Google, for example, are a form of native advertising: ads that are highly relevant to a user’s search terms, and integrated into the search environment in a unobtrusive way.

A native ad that aligns with the data points you have for the consumer and doesn’t look  like it is obviously selling something will have the best chance of cutting through.

This is true for any ad platform, but it is particularly important in the digital world, where search and sales history, as well as demographic and behavioral data, can be used to inform the way you shape your message and target consumers.

Transparency is key

Building and retaining trust is crucial to building your relationship with the consumer. Advertisers need to be careful with the way they present native ads, to ensure users are aware they are paid content and don’t feel tricked into clicking through to a commercial site. It can be a fine line, and when it’s done well this form of advertising can provide a powerful window to the consumer and gain their attention in a way that no longer happens with a traditional ad format.