Anyone who runs in marketing circles has probably heard the phrase “banner blindness”, and most people (marketing circles or not) suffer at least occasionally from the phenomenon. Banner blindness refers to the fact that consumers today are so inundated with display advertisements, particularly during online content browsing, that they’ve both consciously and subconsciously started to tune out many of these pieces of paid communications. That’s a challenge for marketers. How can you connect with consumers if they’re ignoring – or even actively avoiding via the use of ad blockers – your messaging?
Enter native advertising. In a nutshell, native advertising is material in a publication that resembles editorial content but are, in fact, paid placements by advertisers to subtly promote their brands or products. Native advertising goes by many names: sponsored content, branded content, advertorials and more. The tactic is by no means new to the ad biz, but it is an increasingly relevant and effective method of combating the rising tide of banner blindness. Native advertising, when done right, breaks through the ad clutter and provides valuable information or entertainment to audiences when they’re most receptive to it.
This heightened ability to connect in meaningful ways with potential customers has driven tremendous growth in the native digital display ad category to an expected $28 billion in 2018 in the U.S. alone. Native advertising takes many shapes: articles, videos, images – whatever form of content is most appropriate for the environment in which it is running. By far the most prevalent form of native advertising is within social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where promoted posts and tweets appear directly within users’ feeds.
Regardless of placement, the requirements for successful native advertising remain consistent: The content within and linked to from native ads must be authentic, deliver value to their intended audiences and be well-aligned with the themes and audiences of the content that surrounds them.
Proper execution of native advertising campaigns requires investments in unique, valuable content creation. Such creation can prove challenging for marketers who are tasked, day in and day out, with keeping larger advertising engines running. Fortunately, native advertising need not be a do-it-yourself initiative. There are many options out there for partners who can help and campaigns can vary greatly in scope according to budget and goals.
Content studios, ad agencies, local media companies and other ad services providers, including Sound Publishing, can help companies take advantage of native advertising to grow their businesses. In fact, here at Sound, all we need to know is your desired audience and what you’d like your campaign to accomplish. Then we’ll handle the rest – from creative to native ad placement to reporting.