Eight steps to great native advertising

Native advertising will be on the programme at the FIPP World Congress in Toronto, Canada from 13-15 October, but to get things going here is FIPP contributor Jon Watkins with a round up of latest thinking to give you eight steps to creating “great” native advertising (or prevent costly mistakes!).

1. Be relevant

A recent study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and market research firm Edelman Berland, found that nine out of ten respondents identified relevancy as the top consideration in getting them to read a native ad. By its very nature, native advertising must be unique to the environment in which it is placed. Pieces must be related to the content around them and reflective of the media channel’s brand’s voice, style, and typography. 

2. Don’t be intrusive

Being relevant will also help you avoid being intrusive. The art to successful native advertising is offering something of value, not something that simply disrupts the user’s experience. JWT partner Todd Copilevitz said recently that native advertising done right is: “Real people making real stuff, responding to real customers, and investing in experiences that create brand preference and a propensity to buy.”

3. Be engaging

Native advertising may have grown out of what we used to call ‘advertorials’ and to drive engagement it is important to consider rich media and use eye-catching design and imagery. On LinkedIn, for example, images generally result in 98 per cent higher comment rates, while videos usually result in a 75 per cent higher share rate.

4. Be transparent

Being open with the audience about the content they are accessing can help build trust in and improve engagement. If the content is valuable and relevant, you will achieve engagement even if you label clearly that the content is commercially driven. 

5. Be collaborative

Of course, the age-old editorial/commercial divide can be a barrier to effective native advertising content. Plenty of editors struggle to manage the conflict between producing commercial content and retaining their editorial integrity. However, strong editorial involvement is essential to quality native advertising. The fact is that editors are guardians of the brand values that create consumer trust. So the editorial department should be involved from the beginning to ensure that marketing partners share the title’s brand values throughout – ensuring the content matches the quality level of the editorial content around it.

6. Be data-driven

Data powers pretty much all successful media projects these days and native advertising shouldn’t be any different. Whether it’s improving relevance, identifying the ‘location’ of audiences or measuring results to inform future activity, data should serve the same purpose in native advertising as in any other media. Continually test and analyse each platform you are using to see which are performing the best. 

7. Think about your platform

Native ads must not only be relevant, well-labelled, and appropriately placed. They must also provide a good experience on whichever platform they live.  “On mobile phones, consumers want something that is relevant to that phone, at that signal, at that time,” said media agency network MEC’s managing director Justin Taylor. “On tablets, they want something that’s more in-depth. On the desktop, they want to be able to follow links to more information.” Not all businesses have success in the same ways. So it’s important to consider how your native content lives on each platform – and the value it gives there.

8. Don’t overdo it

While audiences are receptive to engaging, relevant and valuable native advertising, any channel that completely bombards the user with commercial messages will simply drive users away.

Don’t miss

• The FIPP World Congress in Toronto, Canada from 13-15 October 2015, in effect 4-events-in-1 with top speaker line-up and programme, and some 800 magazine media executives from around the world

• The FIPP Innovation 2015 World Report which will be packed with latest magazine media innovations from around the world, as well as more on native advertising. The report launches in March 2015.

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