Ad blockers are a problem for business owners. Nearly 2 out of every 3 Millennials use ad blocking, meaning they don’t see the ads you’ve created and paid for on social media and other websites. Native advertising, which consists of strategically placed paid content, makes it past the ad blockers – but it won’t work unless your native advertising contains one essential ingredient.
François-Xavier Préaut is a regional director for Outbrain, a content amplification company. Outbrain specializes in native advertising, maximizing the number of people who are exposed to any one piece of content by placing it on high-traffic websites such as Time, CNN, and Fortune. He recently told eMarketer what it takes to make native advertising work:
…the most important thing is not whether an ad is native or not, it’s rather ensuring that the internet user will not be disappointed once he has clicked on a native format. Internet users are not stupid. If one pushes uninteresting things to them, they will stop clicking.
That’s why the really big revolution is not really native advertising, it is content marketing, which seeks to engage the internet user in conversation not with a message that is too promotional, too uninteresting, but with value-added content.
Push vs Pull: Understanding How Ads Work
Display advertising pushes your message into your customer’s face. It’s positioned alongside their social media feeds, on their favorite websites and in other places where it demands attention. Native advertising uses a pull model; luring customers’ attention in with the promise that you’ll be giving them content worthy of their time. This content could be in article or video format; it must deliver useful or entertaining information.
As Préaut said, customers are sophisticated and impatient. It doesn’t take them long to recognize content that’s designed to benefit them, compared to content that’s designed to sell to them. If you’ve been running a native advertising campaign and have been less than impressed with the results, look at the content you’re using with an objective eye. Ask yourself if you would be entertained or educated by the material you found there. If you would not spend time with the material, your customers likely won’t either: revamp and refine your content offerings until it is reliably compelling.
Metrics are your friend. Look at the reports associated with your native advertising. Look beyond your CPC (cost per click) number and examine how long people engaged with your content. Obviously, the longer, the better: even speed readers can’t take in an entire article in a second or less! The number of shares is also important.