In a time when over 70 million U.S. internet users are using ad-blockers, native advertising is an extremely valuable and effective alternative to traditional ads. Most major brands use it in some capacity, as 53% of consumers are more likely to look at a native ad than a banner ad. What’s more, native advertising increases purchase intent by 18% over normal display ads. With formatting designed to match the surrounding content, native ads are much less obtrusive and more educational than traditional ads that disrupt the browsing experience. Though native advertising comes in many forms, a few have proven to be more profitable and worthwhile. Below, you will find the top three types of native advertising. These strategies will give your content a prominent stage to help you reach new and existing customers.
In-feed ad units
Most popular of native ad types, these ads appear alongside organic content in a list or news feed. They are designed to look like other posts in the publication’s natural environment. Many in-feed ads are created in a story format, with content written by or with the publisher’s team. They appear in-stream on the page with specifically targeted placements to increase brand engagement. Some of these ads link away from the site to a sponsor’s landing page, while others are interactive within the site. With 3.4 billion social media users and growing worldwide, this ad style’s potential can’t be overlooked. Sponsored posts on social networking sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are prime examples of this format.
Paid search ads
Search ads are narrowly targeted placements that appear in-stream and match the format and function of organic search engine results. They appear at the top of customer search results and drive a direct response. Search ads can also be used for business promotion based on a user’s location or preferences. These ads are especially helpful for lesser known brands who want to see increased awareness and engage a broader audience. Their top-of-page placement, not always easy to achieve via SEO efforts, can produce higher click-through rates with a targeted audience that has clear intent.
This type of native ad is a section on a site’s page for sponsored stories that typically appear underneath or alongside content as a widget. Though they do appear in-stream, recommendation widgets do not match the form or function of the site’s organic content. You have likely seen them featured under articles with headings like ‘You may also like’ or ‘Recommended for you’. These paid content discovery links are distributed by content amplification networks, which pair your recommendations with appropriate audiences. Recommendation widgets are more broadly targeted and can be excellent tools for lead generation with content marketing.
Native ads are becoming an essential part of the modern marketer’s toolkit. Advertisers in the U.S. are projected to spend nearly $44 billion on native ads this year, and two-thirds of display budgets will go to native advertising by the end of 2020. Native ads – these three types in particular – are certainly worth the investment. They can help your business engage specific consumers with branded content in a non-disruptive format that can be developed fairly quickly. For advertisers, consumers and publishers alike, native advertising is a win-win-win.