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What are Native Ads, and Why Should Your Business Use Them?

Native advertising is one of the fastest-growing (and effective) digital ad mediums, and for good reason. But what exactly are native ads, which kind of businesses do they perform best for, and are they right for you? Read on for all the answers!

What native ads are, and aren’t

Native is a type of integrated advertising that uses well-written content to provide readers useful and relevant information while also promoting a business or product. Importantly, native advertisements match the look and feel of the surrounding editorial content on websites, social media platforms, and in print publications, providing a natural, seamless flow for readers. In other words, native ads seek to be a less-interruptive form of advertising, and they accomplish it with content readers want and find valuable. 

One feature of all native content is a disclaimer indicating the content is “sponsored by” or “promoted by” with the name of the advertiser. That disclosure is essential for both transparency to readers and for meeting Federal Trade Commission regulations.   

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Native advertisements are not the same as advertorials, though the two are often confused. What’s the difference?

  • Advertorials are labeled as “Paid Advertising”
  • Content for advertorials can be provided by the advertiser; native content is typically produced by a professional freelance writer or journalist who comes up with story topics based on their knowledge of consumer interests and trends
  • Advertorial content is typically boxed and does not match the format and style of the editorial content in the publication or on the website
  • Advertorials typically push a specific product or service and can include a logo and call to action within the content

Why native advertising?

For one — and it’s a really big one — because it works. Native ads drive consumer engagement and enhance branding while being unobtrusive. Some stats to consider:

  • 25% more consumers see native ads than standard banner ads
  • Consumers look at native ads 52% more frequently than banner ads
  • Native ads register 15% higher lift in purchase intent than banner ads and 9% higher lift for brand affinity
  • 32% of consumer say they’ll share a native ad with friends and family vs. only 19% for banner ads
  • 76% of readers recall the brand name and context of the sponsored content
  • Consumers spend an average of 90 seconds on a piece of native content
    (Sources: Sharethrough, Display Benchmarks, Markerly Focus Group and Moz) 

Other benefits to native advertising include:

  • The advertiser owns the content and can use it elsewhere
  • All stories are catalogued and archived, prolonging the life of content
  • They increase brand trust and empower consumers by providing useful information they want to engage with as opposed to inauthentic, disruptive forms of advertising

Types of native ads

Native ads don’t have to take the form of text-only, news-style content. Here are some ideas for native content that can help market your business or products:

  • Gear guides
  • Blog posts or columns
  • Videos, including 360 videos
  • Photos, including photo galleries
  • Infographics
  • Sponsored posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Native ads are engaging, informative and put your business or products in a positive light while being unobtrusive to consumers. Sounds like a win-win-win-win? We think so, too. If you’d like to learn more about native advertising and how to make it part of the marketing strategy for your local business, drop us a note!

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Brent Boyer

Written by Brent Boyer

Brent is a writer, editor and content strategist with more than a decade of editorial leadership under his belt. When not working, Brent loves spending time with his wife and two young daughters as well as snowboarding, running, biking and fly-fishing.

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