Brands, publishers and readers today are communicating with each other in more natural and personal ways than ever before.
Part of this evolution is driven by native advertising, which goes beyond the hard sell and allows brands to tell meaningful and compelling stories that provide value to the reader. When executed well, native ads can deliver a targeted, relevant experience that will enhance brand awareness and generate new prospects. When done poorly, however, it can have a negative impact on both the advertiser and the publisher delivering the ad.
So, what does it take to create a truly engaging native content program that will drive results? Here are some key learnings from the native team at AJC.
Package your brand as a story:
Native ads are more than just a photo and a discount. They are aimed at the heart of the consumer’s values and lifestyle. They provide information, answer questions and help people solve problems.
Contrary to popular belief, consumers are not always averse to viewing content that is inherently brand-centric, as long as it tells them a story they can relate to. If a reader clicks on a headline, they aren’t interested in reading a product brochure – they clicked because it promised to tell them something of interest. Rather than directly promoting a company, native ads should inform, educate or entertain through high-quality content.
Readers today crave authenticity, meaning the more credible and genuine brands appear via their marketing, the more loyalty they’ll garner.
Part of building this trust is transparency. Clear labeling removes the ambivalence on the part of consumers, and helps readers understand the difference between editorial and native content. Content must also be appropriate for its environment. To avoid detracting from a users’ experience as they visit their favorite publisher site, the headlines, images and content should match the look and feel of the editorial content that surrounds it.
Apply thoughtful strategy:
Before content creation begins, it’s important to get a sense of the client’s goals and ask, “What do you hope this content will achieve?”
Native advertising has largely been viewed as an image-building format, but a growing number of advertisers are seeking content that drives direct action, such as encouraging sign-ups, finding new customers and driving sales. Publishers can help support these goals by customizing campaigns to address specific objectives, ensuring the messaging connects to the brand’s identity and including a clear call to action. Effective communication between the publisher and advertiser about expectations and targets can help ensure objectives are met.
As the native advertising industry expands, and hits its share of road bumps, brands, publishers, and readers are at a turning point. Poorly created content doesn’t work for anyone, but with the right strategy and creative integrity, it’s possible to craft campaigns that engage readers and drive positive outcomes for advertisers.
Want to learn about how we can help you with your native campaign? CALL (404) 526-5775.