How Brands Are Leveraging Native Advertising for Higher Engagements

Native advertising is booming, and brands who haven’t yet jumped to take advantage of this trend must rethink their advertising strategy. While SEO, SMO, organic blog posts, and paid advertisements are still important to catch the attention of potential audiences, native advertising will allow you to make your content more shareable. While sponsored content is typically created to be read, native advertising content is designed to be shared. In short, if you are a brand looking to go viral with your content, native advertising is your answer.

Here, you will learn all about native advertising and how brands are leveraging it.

  1. What is native advertising?
  2. What is the example of native advertising?
  3. What is the purpose of native advertising?
  4. What are the benefits of native advertising?
  5. Why is native advertising controversial?
  6. Are there any cons of native advertising?
  7. How are brands leveraging native advertising?
  8. Why should I consider native advertising?
  9. How to do native advertising?

What is native advertising?

Native advertising is a relatively new form of paid advertising that is designed to easily blend with other posts and doesn’t make the viewers feel like they are watching some kind of ad.

Even if it is tagged with sponsored, the content of native advertising follows the natural flow and function to enhance the user experience and entice the viewers to share it as much as possible.

It is designed to match the native user experience so that viewers can relate to the ads. Inherently, it is non-disruptive and works like just natural content.

So, in clear words, native advertising is:

  • A customized form of paid advertising
  • Created to naturally blend with the platform it appears on
  • Designed to be shared and go viral

What is the example of native advertising?

Most probably, you have already seen many examples of native advertising. Let’s understand native advertising by a simple example.

Assume there is a car manufacturing website and its marketing department develops a short blog post on “the future of the car industry” and pays a magazine company (that specifically shares content about car models, latest trends, and car reviews) to post that blog post on its website.

Now, this paid content is called native advertisement because it is not going to disrupt the readers of that magazine and they won’t have the feeling that that blog post appeared out of blue for no reason. Even though the content is paid for, it will seamlessly blend into the car magazine platform. Besides, car enthusiasts are more likely to stay updated on the upcoming future car trends and they are more likely to read the content and share it with their friends with the same interests as well.

So, this type of content ticks all the criteria of native advertising.

Now, let’s talk about some real-life examples of native advertising.

The paid post of Allbirds called “The View from Above: Why Our Future May Depend On the Fate of Birds” in The New York Times is an excellent example of native advertising. The brand advertised itself by creating a meaningful post for the readers of The New York Times. It was placed as an in-feed/in-content ad on the platform’s newsfeed. The article talked about how important birds are to our environment and the ways climate change is putting their survival at risk.

What makes this content more sensible is that the brand name, itself, contains the word “Birds” and the brand has a major focus on sustainability. It featured mesmerizing animated graphics and a soothing soundtrack of bird sounds that enhanced the experience of the viewers while promoting the company without directly selling its products, i.e. shoes and clothing.

We hope, by now, you have a clear idea of what native advertising exactly is.

What is the purpose of native advertising?

The main purpose of native advertising is to improve the number of shares and popularity of the content created to boost brand awareness without shouting at the audience to use their products and services.

On the contrary, regular paid advertising directly talks about the products and services and asks people to do business with the brand.

In short, the key to Native Advertising is “Be Natural, Be Subtle”.

What are the benefits of native advertising?

The booming trend of native advertising reflects how much it is effective and also tells that it seriously comes with many great benefits.

Here are the top 20 benefits of native advertising:

  1. Promotes your brand without making undesirable noise
  2. Positively influences your existing and potential customers  
  3. Helps develop a sense of “knowing” your brand
  4. Builds trust among people for your brand
  5. Spikes the number of shares
  6. Surges the click-through-rate (CTR)
  7. Makes your content more likely to be viral
  8. Increases the reach of your brand
  9. Targets specific audience segments, resulting in more viewership
  10. Increases the chances of generating engagement
  11. Helps you work on your brand image in an effective way
  12. Enhances the reputation of your brand as long as the content is relevant and not misleading
  13. Helps you tackle the increasing “banner blindness” problem
  14. Works even if ads and pop-ups are blocked on the users’ systems
  15. Returns more value as more native ad viewers are influenced and get converted than regular ads
  16. Works on any relevant platform you want (mobile, desktop, social media, networking apps, news websites, online magazines, etc.)
  17. Results in better performance of ad campaigns
  18. Features high-quality content that people find fun, interesting, and non-disruptive
  19. Drives more the targeted audience to make purchases or interact with the brand
  20. Useful and high-quality content of native advertising negates the branded nature of the content

Why is native advertising controversial?

Even with so many benefits, native advertising remains a controversial topic because some brands are using deceptive and misleading content for native advertising.

Originally, native advertising is designed to benefit the customers and targeted audiences as any type of advertising should be. However, many marketers are using it as a tool to profit from it without giving value to the readers and viewers.

Consequently, even though the industry of native advertising and content marketing has been unregulated, the FTC has generated Native Advertising Guidelines and there are also talks in the town about establishing standards.

Of course, while audiences don’t want to be disturbed by noisy and flashy ads, they also don’t want to be cheated into believing that an advertisement is anything except what it exactly is.

So, tread carefully when starting the journey of native advertising, and don’t get swayed in the hopes of getting viral anyhow. You need to stay true to your brand identity while creating and sharing native ads.

Are there any cons of native advertising?

Yes, there are. Native advertising can be more expensive because you need creators and writers who can think out of the box and create viral content without selling your offerings directly. A great story, concept, and design take significant time and require talent.

Other than this, native advertising is non-disruptive, which means it is discreet and doesn’t catch the attention of the audience instantly. The readers and viewers will find your native advertisements naturally through feeds, recommendations, and regular content updates.

While this property of native advertising doesn’t help grab the eyeballs right away, it may increase the likeliness of the content being read and getting noticed eventually. So, being non-disruptive is not exactly a drawback.

How are brands leveraging native advertising?

Native advertising has become an effective tool in the arsenal of marketers, and thus, has caught the attention of many brands. It allows your brand to appear also in front of those who are averse to explicit advertising. Leading brands understood this well very early and began testing it, and many of them have succeeded at it greatly as well.

Netflix’s Narcos Series

Launched in 2015, Narcos is a TV series that portrays the life of drug lord Pablo Escobar and the legacy he left. Netflix created an interactive app for the readers of the Wall Street Journal to promote the show. On their website, they also published articles discussing the history of the international drug trade and its personalities, a map of the main routes, and also a quiz. All these types of content were created as a part of a native advertising strategy to promote the Narcos series.

Taco Bell’s Cinco De Mayo

Another most successful native ad campaign is Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo Snapchat Ad. Undoubtedly, millions of people are accustomed to using Snapchat filters. Taco Bell recognized this opportunity and launched the funny lens during the Cinco de Mayo holiday to advertise their brand without being disruptive to the users of Snapchat.

These two examples are enough to get an idea that leading brands are trying every way and not focusing on just the text content but providing the content in a format that makes it easier for viewers to understand things clearly or be more entertained in a subtle way.

Why should I consider native advertising?

Even if your business is averse to the “Fear of Missing out (FOMO)”, you must consider native advertising as it is not about getting in the race and leading it but about creating a brand image that people perceive positively.

Whether your native content is funny, informative, or eye-opening, it makes more people aware of your business and brings more conversions. So, unless your company doesn’t want to make sales, garner reputation, and boost brand awareness, add native advertising to your list and start working on it. Otherwise, there is no point in running a business that nobody knows about!

Plus, native advertising is continuously getting popular and is still on the rise. This means that as early as you get on native advertising, the better results you will see. Brands that are turning a blind eye to native advertising for now might lag and experience a huge loss as their customers would develop an interest in their competitors. And when they will realize it, it might be too late because when the road is crowded, it’s harder to run and you might grapple to benefit from it.

How to do native advertising?

When you choose to do native advertising, you can make a head-start with the following steps:

  • Set up your principles for native advertising that supports the FTC guidelines. As per the FTC, an act or practice is deceptive if there is a material misrepresentation or absence of information that affects consumers’ decision-making. In short, when creating and publishing native ads, be transparent.
  • Make your employees informed on what is considered deceptive, misrepresentation, or misleading content as per the FTC’s native advertising guidelines.
  • Learn how to make clear and noticeable disclosures in native advertising so that consumers can recognize the native ads as paid ads.
  • Make a list of platforms where you want to publish your content natively.
  • Be strategic about the proximity and placement of native advertisements. Remember that consumers don’t read every content piece on a publisher’s site. So, the proximity and placement of your native ads matter a lot.
  • Be clear about what kind of brand image you want to create and how you can bring value to your customers through your native ads without stepping on their feet.
  • Communicate everything with the content creators and designers and create proper guidelines for them to follow so that you don’t get on the radar of the FTC, while still profiting from native ads indirectly.

Native Advertising is your opportunity to lead the advertising industry and garner a wider clientele that engages with your brand. Always remember:

“An opportunity is like a train on the move. Once its doors have closed, it’s gone. But do stick around, another one will surely be on its way; carrying with it better opportunities.”

― Naide P Obiang

Having said that, also know that the early bird catches the worm. So, start early, and make the most out of native advertising.

Vijaya Tyagi

Vijaya Raj Laxmi Tyagi has been an avid content writer for over three years with a keen interest in writing SEO articles and blogs. She also finds great enthusiasm in writing about a vast variety of topics, including gardening, interior designing, health & wellness, and tourism. Her educational background in Computer Science and Engineering has given her an edge to write about technologies that tend to mark a great impression on daily lifestyle and behaviour, while her intrigue towards Mother Nature drives her to discuss green topics.