With 30% of all internet users now using ad blockers to enhance their browsing experience, advertisers are having to come up with new ways to reach audiences and sell products.
For many brands, native advertising is the solution. It’s a method that has been growing in popularity over the last decade, and as more people start using ad blockers every day, it looks set to dominate the online advertising scene for years to come. In fact, research has suggested that by 2021, native ads will drive 74% of all ad revenue.
But what exactly are native ads, and how can you make the most of them to attract customers, enhance brand awareness, and increase sales?
Native ads mimic the look and feel of the sites and apps into which they are placed. They are especially prevalent across social media channels—particularly on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram—but can also be found on any number of websites. They provide information to consumers when they are in a heightened state of discovery and are displayed in a manner that is easily absorbed. They are far subtler than banner ads and therefore not as jarring.
Several studies have found native ads to be more effective than display ads, and there are numerous statistics and facts to showcase their benefits. Did you know, for example, that consumers look at native ads 53% more frequently than they do display ads, and that native ads also register an 18% increase in the probability that a consumer will buy a product or service? Or that 70% say they would prefer to learn about products through content rather than via traditional advertising?
The positives are quite overwhelming, but deciding to use native ads is only the beginning. The next step is getting people to listen to what you have to say by creating ads that truly stand out from the crowd.
Creating a successful native ad
1. Understand the end goal
When producing any advertising or marketing copy, start by thinking about the end goal. Without knowing what you’d like your work to achieve, it’ll be very difficult to structure and produce copy that can make a significant impact. Each native ad will have a specific objective, such as encouraging your audience to sign up for a newsletter or offering them a free trial. This call to action (CTA) will largely determine the ad creation process.
2. Make it valuable
This should really go without saying, but it’s crucial to keep in mind the idea that your content should always provide value to your audience. It can be tempting to go for the hard sell in ads, but including useful information will be far more successful in the long term. You will have a limited number of characters to play with in your ad, so make every word count. Consider the action you’d like the consumer to take and the type of content that would be most appealing, and you’ll have the foundations in place for a stellar ad.
3. Keep it personal
Ad copy that directly solves a consumer’s problems, and provides them with information that is pertinent to their situation, will connect and entice. Even simple things such as adding the word “you” or “feel” will work to increase engagement. Commit to figuring out the key challenges your audience faces, and then focus your ad copy on them.
4. Write as you would speak
Ad copy that sounds natural is the most persuasive. You can still enhance it with metaphors and flourishes, but it should read as if it’s being spoken. This links to the above point about keeping the content personal; if people feel as though the content is aimed directly at them, they’ll be far more likely to engage with it.
5. Always use the brand name
Consumers continue to make associations with a brand over time, so using the brand name in headlines and descriptions will ultimately lead to more interactions. Even if they don’t click on an ad the first time they come across one, they will still learn what your brand does and what solutions it offers. Should they require services that you provide further down the line, they will recall your brand.
6. Ensure things are simple
Don’t include any words, phrases, or images that could potentially alienate consumers. Use short, snappy sentences, incorporate bullet points if possible, and break up the text with relevant videos and images. The easier it is to read your ad, and the less abrasive it is, the more likely it is the consumer will engage with your content and commit to an action.
7. Include a CTA
This is key. Once you’ve hooked the consumer with your ad, you need to keep them engaged with valuable content that speaks to them. Then, you must encourage your consumers to perform an action. What will they be missing out on if they don’t respond to your CTA? What can you provide that other businesses can’t? How can they find other pieces of content that will appeal? The rest of your native ad has been created to lead people to the CTA, so make this bit count.
Time to create
Whether on desktop or mobile, your customers are primed to read and react to native ads in a way that will benefit your brand significantly. The seven steps listed above will help you craft strong brand messages that resonate, so all that’s left to do is begin the creation process.
by Anahid Basmajian
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