08 / 12 / 22

​​Native Ads – Should Your Business Be Using Them?

We all know the pain of website pop-ups. Such ads are irritating to say the least – continuously pestering for your attention, slowing you down and blocking you from what you were trying to achieve! But if you’re a business, how else can you put your products or services under people’s noses online? The answer: native ads.

What is a native advert?

Native ads aren’t overpowering to your audience as they don’t appear in pop-ups or as large banners across the screen. Instead, they effectively blend into the other editorial content on a website.  

Thanks to their ability to blend in, native ads are hugely popular on social media platforms. They merge seamlessly into timelines and feeds, sitting alongside the posts from people you actually follow. 

So, how can you tell native ads apart from regular content? 

Usually, they will have a small label to identify them as being a “paid ad” or “sponsored” one. You can also spot a native ad on a social media platform as it includes a link to the business’s profile or website. 

However, social media isn’t the only place you will find them.

Types of native ad 

There are different types of native advert, including:  

  • In-feed: you will commonly see these on social media timelines or a publisher’s website. This type of ad is designed to merge with the content already on the page. 
  • Paid search: with this marketing method, you place ads on search engine results pages and pay for the engagement that they receive.  
  • Promoted listings: these are similar to paid search, where companies will pay for ad space on e-commerce websites such as Amazon. These are still designed to look like organic listings.  
  • Widgets: This native ad is usually situated at the side or bottom of a webpage and recommends content it thinks users will be interested in.  
  • Display adverts with a native element: this type of ad looks similar to any other ad you’d see online, but what makes it “native” is that it links specifically to the content of the site on which it appears.  
  • Custom native ads: this is a creative form of a native ad, as it allows companies to partner with others and create fun interactive assets to promote themselves, such as sponsored filters on social media stories.  

Benefits of native ads 

#1 Gaining (not grabbing!) attention 

Your native ad should guide people’s attention towards your business rather than blatantly grab and snatch at them! 

No one likes to feel as though their online experience is being interrupted by ads – this can counterintuitively push customers away. 

That’s why the key benefit of native ads is their ability to weave in subtly amongst content that customers have already chosen to look at. You avoid promoting your business in a way that would annoy your audience, so they’re more likely to engage with the ad positively. 

Given how native ads appear, they can paradoxically blend into a site whilst also standing out to your audience as something they need or want to share. 

#2 Building trust with customers  

If done properly, native advertising can not only avoid irritating customers, it can actually help to build their trust in you! 

This sounds like a lofty claim, so how can it be achieved? It’s simple: provide customers with valuable content or information

What tips or advice would be useful for your customers? What key messages would they relate to? When you understand what your target audience needs and the problems they are constantly running into, you can provide a solution. 

For example, if your business sold Christmas trees (sorry but it’s that time of year!), an ad could include two or three tips for keeping real trees fresh and happy indoors. Perhaps an in-feed ad on social media could consist of the pains of picking up pine needles with a handy link to the tree mats you also sell! 

When native ads are useful or relatable, taking into account customers’ interests and challenges, they are more likely to engage with ads and, in turn, gain trust in your brand. 

#3 Increasing your reach & brand awareness  

Native ads can help increase your business’s online reach because 53% of people will look at them more than regular display ads.  

Of course, as marketers our first instinct might be to reach the largest possible audience; however, you should also aim to reach the most relevant audience. 

Rather than targeting anyone and everyone and hoping for the best, personalise your ads so they speak to your dream customers.  

The beauty of native advertising is that it allows you to get creative with your content but also specific with your targeting. With platforms such as Taboola, you can investigate publisher websites that run native ads and choose those with the best reach and relevancy for your customers. Also, social media platforms are convenient for targeting groups based on socioeconomic factors and interests.  

Another incentive for getting creative with your ad content is that fun native ads affect customers’ purchase behaviour and can lead to an 18% increase in purchase intent. 

Plus, providing your content is educational, entertaining or useful, your audience is more likely to share it, furthering your brand awareness for free! 

#4 Being ad blocker friendly

In our attempts to avoid nuisance pop-ups, many consumers these days use ad blockers - or sometimes leave a site altogether! 

Ad blockers have had a detrimental impact on online marketers but native ads are one way of steering around the issue. (This isn’t to say that native ads are entirely invulnerable to ad blockers but rather that they are less likely to be blocked.) 

As native ads merge with the content that’s already on the page, they don’t disrupt what the user is trying to accomplish on the site. Also, thanks to their specific targeting, they are often more relevant and entertaining to the web users who encounter them.

Disadvantages of using native ads 

#1 Difficult to measure performance

With most adverts online, marketers track how effectively the ad has performed in their campaign. These insights can then help you to decide how to proceed with a campaign or build the next one. 

Additionally, measuring the ad’s performance can help determine how to tailor content in the future to make it more effective. By continuously monitoring performance analytics, marketers can see what works well with their audience and what doesn’t.  

Unfortunately, with native ads, this is harder to do, as they have a unique format, making it more challenging to get an idea of how your ad has performed. However, if you use the right tools, you can measure the ad's impressions and click-through rate.  

‘What tools?’ you ask. Well, that depends on the platform you're displaying your native ad on.  

Some platforms provide in-built analytic tools to help you measure ad performance. For example, LinkedIn's Campaign Manager enables you to create, evaluate and track the metrics of your LinkedIn ads. Similarly, on the Meta Ads Manager, you can gain valuable insight into how your Instagram and Facebook native ads are performing.  

Before you host your native ad on a platform, find out the measurement options it provides.

#2 Potentially deceptive

With native ads, it can be tricky to achieve the right balance between a creative ad and one that deceives the audience into thinking it’s a piece of content without an ulterior motive. 

This should not be the goal of native ads, and any that you post needs to be carefully and clearly labelled as ‘sponsored’, ‘ad’, or ‘paid’.  

Users prefer adverts that won’t interfere with their online experience, so encountering an advert that claims otherwise will only push them further away from your business. Transparency and honesty are essential.

Get creative with native ads

Native ads have been proven to instil trust and value in their audiences if they’re done right; otherwise, they can be equally as damaging to your customer’s trust.  

To learn more about how Formation Media can help your business make the most of native ads, get in touch with one of the team here or phone us on 01926 298 777.

Written by Kathryn Formation