Native Advertising Litmus Test: 4 Questions to Ask of Your Content

black-friday-checklistNative advertising is one of the hottest buzzwords in the industry these days, as advertisers and marketers try to connect with consumers in unique and meaningful ways.

eMarketer recently reported in June that sponsored content spending would rise by 22 percent between 2012 and 2013, up to $1.88 billion. In addition, eMarketer is also projecting that sponsored content spend will rise further to $3.08 billion by 2017. So why is native advertising so popular these days? The answer is banner blindness.

Banner blindness, which has always been an issue within display campaigns, has also been a hot topic recently. As more and more media funds are pushed into programmatic buying, allowing advertisers to flood the web with their impressions, the concern over the actual viewability of each impression has risen. This, in return, has sparked the current push for viewable impressions to become the new standard.

It has also influenced advertisers to begin looking at ways to ensure they are not only reaching their audience, but that they are able to engage with them, as well, to have a real impact.

Compounding the issue, the real-time bidding associated with programmatic buying has flooded the market with inexpensive CPMs, CPCs and even CPAs, driving publishers to find new, enticing ways to continue selling more premium-priced placements. Native advertising became one of these options.

As native advertising continues to grow, what are the key things that you should be thinking of?

  1. Is your content meaningful and relevant to the consumer? Content that is too promotional, broad, or irrelevant will cause consumers to look past it, just as they currently look past banners. Instead of thinking like an advertiser as you build out your native advertising campaign, think like a publisher.
  2. Is your content part of a larger story that can be extended and shared across other relevant channels? While one-off ideas may drive a quick spike in your performance, ongoing ideas will help build brand equity and performance over time. It will also help inspire future content.
  3. Is your native advertising optimized for SEO so that it can be picked up by the search engines and drive more relevant, qualified traffic back to your brand (just like any PR piece, website, or landing page)?
  4. Is your content being tested, analyzed and optimized like any other portion of an advertising campaign? Doing so allows for continued learning and improvements to your content, in order to better facilitate qualified, active engagement with your brand.

While we will always be an industry of fast turnaround times and campaign launches, native advertising should be executed as a well-planned, thoughtful way to integrate in with publishing content and engage consumers with material that they want and need. The most successful native advertisements are the ones that pull consumers into the story.

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