Native advertising – formerly the ‘advertorial’ – is an alternative marketing method to banner ads and pop-ups.
Harness this strategy, get it right, and you could well be on your way to acquiring new customers, even when they’re not actively searching. But what is native advertising and how could it benefit your business?
What is native advertising?
Native advertising is a way of distributing content somewhere else other than your own website – for example, writing guest posts for other sites, such as BuzzFeed, that soft sell your products. It’s a way of offering customers advertising content that doesn’t actually look like advertising content. And it’s a way of subtly getting your name in front of potentially thousands of readers.
• Blends in with the content on the host site, adding authority to what you say
• Is what’s known as ‘pay to play’. Generally speaking, a company pays for their native content to be placed on an external website, with a massive upside: if you get your content on the right website, it could be read by thousands of interested people.
• Is useful, entertaining and inspiring, because native ads do not sell – not overtly, at least. Like content marketing, native content is useful, interesting and targeted – good native advertisers spend time researching their audience before developing content fine-tuned to that demographic.
Are companies investing in native advertising?
They certainly are. By 2020, native advertising is set to dominate digital display advertising. A recent report¹ highlighted that, although display advertising fell 8% between 2015 and 2016, native advertising actually grew. In 2015, UK native advertising spend amounted to a significant £911m, but 12 months later this had increased by 28% to £1.169bn.
To sum up, native advertising is a way of promoting your brand to customers in a subtle, non-intrusive way. Your content appears on a website your customers read frequently, it doesn’t annoy them and it gives them something useful. In doing so, you target customers who aren’t even searching – and who knows where it could take you.
¹ Press Gazette [http://ow.ly/UL5U30dCXkj]