Native advertising is one of those industry terms that is much discussed and has many meanings to many marketers. A detailed list of types and examples of native ads is helpful, but let’s keep this simple.
Think of native advertising as paid contextual placement that blends in with the editorial content of the website or publication. Native ads provide information and insight into a product or service. They are generally viewed 53 percent more frequently than display ads, according to a study by IPG Media Lab using eye-tracking technology. This style of advertising is effective with consumers. But, it is particularly useful in B2B and technology categories that have long sales cycles as well as complex review and decision processes. In these scenarios, at least 60 percent of research is conducted before any contact is made with a manufacturer or supplier. The key to attracting attention and interest during this research phase is providing access to high-value content: information that your audience finds so worthwhile that they link to it, reference it or share it socially. It helps them identify and include your company’s products or services in the evaluation process.
As an example, in the electronic engineering market, design engineers must research, evaluate and specify products in shorter cycles than ever before. They are in constant need of information. They scour communities, content aggregators, forums, industry sites, social media and vendor sites looking for information to help them make decision. According to a study conducted by Calgavin, 61 percent of engineers are using social media for work-related activities. IT managers, supply chain directors, telecom directors and hundreds of other B2B and technology decision-makers are following the same pattern, making sponsored posts in social media one of the most effective ways to use native advertising.
A well-placed post covering a product or service application provides your prospect with useful knowledge and a link back to more detailed information on your site. The post may appear within blog content on an industry site, as a LinkedIn sponsored update or as a targeted Facebook sponsored post. The post may be written by the advertiser, or the site where it will be placed may provide editorial resources to create the content.
There are many options for native advertising with mainstream news and information sites. If you don’t find any choices within your industry, talk to the leading media outlets. If they haven’t launched native ads yet, they are likely to entertain the idea.
To be effective with native advertising for B2B and technology audiences you have to be committed to providing high-value content. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Don’t use trickery in the headline just to get a read. Stay relevant and consistent with the content of the site. There are no standard units in native, and some of the most productive native ad campaigns we develop for our clients are totally custom. This can make the effort time-consuming, but the results are worth the investment.
This was previously published on The M/C/C Blog.