Optimize ROI with These Native Advertising Tips

March 23, 2016

4:58 pm

Branded stories and content now appears everywhere – from your Facebook feed and favorite blogs to the New York Times, Washington Post and other publishing giants.

According to a recent market research by BIA/Kesley, native ad spending on social media sites is expected to hit $4.57 billion by 2017. Almost 75 percent of US publishers now offer native advertising options, meaning we can safely assume that the marketing is booming.  And there’s a valid reason for that as brands gain a unique opportunity to engage with larger audiences in a more authentic way.

However, here appears another concern. As Eric Knorr, editor-in-chief of InfoWorld.com pinpointed: “Paid content masquerading as editorially driven content serves the interests of no one.” The first step to succeeding with native advertising is staying transparent and avoiding consumer chafe at all costs.

Below are a few more essentials tips to getting high ROI from your native advertising spendings.

Use Storytelling to Promote Your Company

The biggest problem, which is easy to spot with native advertising campaigns, is that a lot of brands use their paid spot to shill for their company.  While part of the deal obviously includes adding links to your website and placing logos, don’t turn your content into another press release.

Native advertising brings great results when the story comes before the promotion part.  Don’t say how awesome your new product is or what type of awesome services you offer. Deliver the story and the value first and pipe down the promotion to a single, effective Call-to-Action at the bottom.  This approach will likely yield you better results in terms of engagement.

If you are working with an online influencer, leave them room to be creative and deliver the story in their own words. They know how to interact with their audience better than you do and will deliver a more trilling story that speaks for your brand.

Use the Right Toolkit

By now you should have a storyline in mind and a draft copy to use for your campaign.  Now, you need to choose the right tools for amplifying your content reach. Here are a few essential ones:

Polishing the Materials:

  • Hemingway app – to clean up your copy and make it even more engaging.
  • Headline Analyzer Tool from Coschedule – to test-drive your headline performance and make it even more enticing.

Native Advertising Networks

Outbrain is often dubbed as Google Adwords for content. It’s a paid discovery network, where you create an ad for your website, specify where it should be displayed and pay per views.  1,500-2,500 views can cost you around $500.

AdRoll allows brands to retarget visitors, who have already visited the website. The scheme is similar to re-targeting options offered by Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Direct-to-publisher model is probably the most popular option as most publishers now allow brands to customize sponsored content campaigns on their websites.  The prices range from a few hundred dollars for smaller blogs and to hundred thousands of dollars if we are talking about media giants like Buzzfeed.

Choose the Language and Headlines Carefully

Kevin Almeida has developed a rather funny and accurate acronym, which encompasses essential native advertising best practices:

  • Subtlety
  • Headlines
  • Relevancy
  • Expertise
  • Disclosure
  • Story
  • Partner with great publishers
  • Authenticity
  • Mobile-first

This adds up to to S.H.R.E.D. S.P.A.M. Witty, right?

Now, let’s deal with the first two points: subtlety and headlines.

Using too self-promotional language is equal to placing a huge banner right at the top of it and hoping to capture tons of leads. Just like banner blindness exists, users learned to recognize and ignore disruptive advertorials.

When it comes to headlines, don’t stick your brand name in it. Instead, craft a sweet intriguing title promising users to solve the problem for them or teach them something. Also, headlines with numbers tend to receive at least 41 percent more click-throughs, compared to those without numbers.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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