The times when consumers could be reached and convinced with untargeted mass marketing by the company with the loudest voice are over. Today’s consumers are not receptive to passive promotion, they require active communication and engagement until they are ready to buy. With the shift to mobile the expectations for a great user experience grew even more. Having mobile optimised websites is no longer seen as a “nice to have”, but a must-have. Part of this user experience includes not being annoyed by a static old fashioned display ad. The answer to this shift in consumer demand and expectations are native ads, which are a great technical step forward and promise to be more successful than their traditional display predecessors.
What exactly are native ads and what makes them so special?
A native ad can include text, images or a video and follows the natural form and style of the website or app on which it is presented. It follows the user’s intent and should increase their experience instead of disturbing it. It looks and feels natural since it matches with the editorial content and the tone of a website. In other words, it is paid content, but doesn’t look like it.
Characteristic for native ads is their high flexibility. While traditional banner ads remain the same once they are created, native ads change their layout and size depending on the website they appear on and also whether they are published on desktop or mobile. The final ad is thereby not determined by the advertiser, but the publisher. One creative can thus appear in many layouts depending on the publisher and the context it is shown. On Social Media platforms these types of advertisements are integrated in the user’s individual newsfeed. Promoted trends or tweets in Twitter or sponsored updates on Linkedin are two examples of this. They are based on the user’s history and interests to integrate smoothly within the natural content.
Native ads aren’t a new thing, but they’ve received some important updates on Google recently and will be launching on Bing very soon.. You may’ve first experienced native ads in Gmail, where Google first trialed them a few years ago. These kind of ads look like regular emails on top of your inbox and expand to show more information when you click on them. Implementing native ads into the Google Display Network a while later, a recent update will make a marketer’s life even easier. Advertisers can now buy native ads programmatically in DoubleClick Bid Manager. It allows you to simply upload single components of your ad like headline, text and image and will assemble it to match the context in which it is advertised. Unlike Google, native ads are just about to start at Bing. Currently they are beta testing in the US with a view to be rolled out in 2016.
What’s the advantages of native ads?
Native ads have some obvious advantages. Since they are so seamlessly adjusted into the website content, engagements and click-through-rates are usually much higher. According to Bing, CTRs for native ads are five to seven times higher than the average CTR for traditional display ads. Since the ads are perfectly matched to the website content they clearly also match a consumer’s interest. Additionally, considering a visitors search history and site activities optimises the targeting even more and ensures the user intent is fulfilled. Bing promises a similar ROI as search while a recent case study by DoubleClick, about a Scandinavian lifestyle magazine, shows a 67% higher ad viewability with 88% increase on mobile.
Taking into consideration all these advantages and the fact that 90% of publishers either already have, or intend to launch, native advertising campaigns clearly indicates a bright future for this format. Another bonus for marketers is that most consumers don’t have yet have a clear idea of what native ads actually are, nor could they recognise them on their daily journey through the web. If you’re business wants to make the most native display advertising, get in touch with me and the Reef PPC team!