Native advertising copy that works
Native advertising is a term that has been flying around the heads of marketers more and more lately; but it’s nothing new. Rather, native advertising is an ever-developing concept that, when done right, could be worth its weight in gold in terms of raising brand awareness and bringing in sales.
So what exactly is native advertising?
Put simply, they’re a type of paid ads that are purposely created to match the look, feel, and function of the media format in which they appear.
They’re the sort of articles that pop up on your social media feeds or as recommended content on a web page. The most effective thing about native advertising is that, unlike its display and banner cousins, they don’t actually look like ads.
Native ads are designed to look just like any other piece of editorial content on the page – the key here is non-disruptive. Think of it as an advert wrapped up and delivered in a blog post. A recent study by Yahoo also found that internet users give native ads three times more attention than display ads on average.
The science behind native advertising
We like to think of this as the power of the human mind when it comes to wilfully ignoring things.
As a result of the oversaturation of adverts in our everyday lives, people have developed something of a filtering system when it comes to adverts. While this is a nightmare for many businesses it has meant that content producers have become a lot more creative when it comes to getting your message in front of an audience.
One great example of a type of native advertising is product placement. Think of it like this: Did you feel like you were being sold Nike shoes when seeing Marty McFly’s futuristic trainers in Back to the Future II or simply like you were watching a great movie and that, oh, those shoes are pretty cool too?
Regardless of what you thought was happening when our protagonist first marvelled at his self-tying laces, Nike saw their sales figures spike immediately after the film was released.
But how differently would their success have played out if their advert had simply rolled before the opening credits? Chances are nobody would even have registered they were on screen as they were too busy organising their snacks and, today, probably staring at their phone until the actual film starts.
Now we know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. The vast majority of businesses either would not be able to or would simply not benefit from slinging their products in a movie. Fortunately for you, there is a powerful equivalent that is easier than ever to break into; native advertising.
Descendant of the advertorial
Native advertising and advertorials appear to go hand in hand, but are they just the same thing? Well, let’s look at the definition of an advertorial here:
“a newspaper or magazine advertisement giving information about a product in the style of an editorial or objective journalistic article.”
So, an advertorial is a combination of an advertisement and a piece of genuine editorial content. Essentially the creation and publication of the article you’re reading is sponsored but it looks like a regular article on that site.
Sounds a lot like native advertising, no?
Well advertorials rose to popularity way back in the mid-1940s. Back then big brands would produce editorial content like news stories that subtly advocated their brand. By the 1960s – the Mad Men era – advertorials were common practice in the advertising world.
The 1980s brought infomercials and, in the next decade, talk shows became another kind of advertorial platform you may not have expected.
Advertorials in print are always a clear promotion for some kind of product or service. You know from the second you start reading that there will be a sales pitch in there somewhere. While still appearing as a form of advert, advertorials are less ‘in your face’ than other traditional forms of advertising; all making it easier for readers to swallow.
These advertorials began losing traction and effectivity in the early 2000s. That’s when marketers found a revolutionary way to bring these ads into the modern age with a new form of advertorials called native advertising.
How native advertising works
Native advertising is just an even gentler and more modern form of advertorial. When native advertising started really rising in popularity back in 2013, the Harvard Business Review did some research into what makes sets native ads and advertorials apart. The answer they found was not a lot.
Of course you could argue that a native ad will almost always be online where advertorials tend to be in print or on TV. But the main difference we see is in the way the user experiences your advertisement.
As we said earlier, advertorials may appear in the style of a normal article in that magazine, but the reader still knows they’re going to be pitched to somewhere along the way. Whether your brand name is in the title like the Guinness ad or a subheading calls for readers to use your products to follow the guide like Rinso, the end customer knows what they’re getting. Native ads are a little different.
We’re not suggesting some kind of subliminal messaging to get your call to action in your customers head. Native ads just coat your marketing message in knowledge and information that your reader values.
Your call to action is subtle and your content gears toward helping the reader solve a problem or learn something new rather than blatantly selling to them. They shouldn’t feel like they have to buy at the end of the article, but they learn something a lot more valuable.
Creating a powerful native ad that sells (without selling)
The most common advice for advertorials is that you try to keep to the 70/30 format:
70% good content / 30% product promotion
When it comes to native ads, the content to promotion ratio is far heavier in terms of content. The idea is that readers today will simply gloss over anything they believe is trying to force them to buy something. By getting your name in front of your audience through engaging ‘Sponsored Content’ on another website, you can drive traffic to your own site to later convert.
Another benefit of native advertising through sponsored content is that you can ride on the back of your publisher’s reputation. Native ads are often seen on reputable websites like Buzzfeed, Facebook, and even a huge number of online news sources.
Striking the right balance between content and promotion is no easy feat. The trick is to pull readers in with your article, engage them, then use a gentle call to action somewhere in your article that prompts them towards your business.
This engaging content ensures your marketing message is definitely seen without your readers feeling like they’re being pitched to. That’s where we come in.
We can help
Our copywriting team are the experts on producing content that engages your customers while gently encouraging them to find out more about your products or services.