In recent years, the rate of evolution of the digital ad space has been phenomenal. Moreover, the rising demands for personalization and authenticity when it comes to ads have managed to shift the focus from traditional display ads to more nuanced forms of advertising. One of the most popular ad formats amidst this shift has been the native ad format.
Native ad programs are known for being extremely effective in improving engagement, conversions, and revenue as they offer brands and advertisers new ways to reach a wider audience base with which consumers are more likely to engage. However, developing the perfect native campaign that is profitable for publishers while not being disruptive for audiences requires careful strategizing. Clicks and conversions are important, but not at the cost of trust.
Native advertising is branded content that seamlessly integrates visually, in voice, aesthetic, and style of the content amidst which it is placed. It does not stand out and imitates the overall content on the page, fitting “natively” on the website or channel where it is served. These ads are accompanied by labels like “Recommended” or “Sponsored”, which mark them as ads. Native advertising is a more subtle form of ad that, if done correctly, does not disrupt the user experience but acts as a helpful guide towards a natural path to a purchase.
Native ads can be of several types, including in-feed ads on social media, search engine ads displayed at the top of search results, branded editorial content, recommended articles or posts, click-to-watch video ads, carousel ads showcasing multiple products, etc.
Today, self-serve advertising has made native advertising programs easier to run and manage for publishers than ever before. Native ads can help overcome challenges like banner blindness and ad fatigue while also increasing purchase intent. But to ensure you get the best results, you need to follow some best practices when it comes to self-serve native advertising.
Lesser number of native ad placements per page, but each placement serving high-quality and relevant ads is one of the most important things to remember when strategizing your native advertising campaigns. High-quality ads will generate higher revenues for your advertisers and are also more favored by audiences. What you must ensure is that no placement of your self-serve native advertising should interrupt the user’s browsing experience, blending seamlessly with the site’s content, while also being relevant to the context and a value-add for the user.
Ensure that every ad placement you choose is clearly marked as being branded or sponsored content that has been paid for by advertisers and brands. Ensure a clear distinction between the native ad and editorial content, which is the right way to go about it ethically, but also from a broader perspective. This is a trust-based approach that helps publishers build stronger connections with their audiences, which in turn is something advertisers tend to look for in publisher websites.
Written content, branded articles and write ups, etc. have always been the most common format in native advertising. But, best practices for self-serve native advertising suggest that you do not limit your native ad program to a single format. With the advanced capabilities offered by self-serve advertising platforms for native ads, you can start experimenting with video, audio, and rich media formats as well, and unlock new revenue generation opportunities, while ensuring an engaging experience for your audiences.
Successful publisher websites should always be testing and looking for new growth opportunities. This includes focusing on providing relevant advertisers and brands access to metrics, performance tracking, and campaign analytics that they are looking for, which can be managed with ease when you choose the right self-serve native advertising platform for managing your ad space inventory. After all, the easier it is for advertisers to track their campaign performance, the more they will spend advertising with you.
Native ad placements do not need to be huge to be effective. Instead, it has been observed that smart and persistent native ad placements tend to be more successful. Native ads do not show up as banners or pop-ups but are embedded on the page. So, as long as you can ensure they are unobtrusive, why not make them persistent whenever possible? Allow your users to scroll up and down on the page without losing sight of the ad. In fact, why not try leaving the same native ad at the same placement for several days in a row, so interested users can return easily to check it out again?
Once you have your strategy for native ad programs in place, you need to optimize the sales of these ad spaces. For ensuring the highest quality in the native ads you choose to serve and to generate the most revenue, you should consider automating the direct sales of your ad inventory through a self-serve native advertising platform like Self Serve Plus. Self Serve Plus helps streamline your ad sales by reducing the manual effort involved in the process while also providing you complete control over what ads are displayed.