Business · Marketing

Native advertising is all about the content

The most common example of native advertising. A brand creates content that is designed to inform and engage readers. Adapted to look like New York Times content, the brand is building trust and driving engagement.

Native advertising spending in the US was $1.3 billion in 2013 and is expected to increase $9.4 billion by 2018. The intention of native advertising is to blend into the content around it in an effort to seem less like a paid form of advertising. This paid advertising is often labeled as sponsored content, paid post, promoted tweets, etc. When done correctly, native advertising can position a brand as a subject expert in the minds of potential customers.

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Native advertising performs better than digital display ads by just about every metric most notably click-through rates and conversions. As result of the higher performance of native advertising, the advertising rates are more expensive than digital display ads thus are often out of reach for many businesses.
However, companies such as Facebook and Twitter offer small businesses the opportunity to get into the native advertising game by allowing businesses to set a daily budget. But before businesses start jumping in, it is important to develop a content creation strategy. Content should provide value by presenting news and information related to your industry that your target audience will find useful.
Most small businesses lack a content creation strategy simply because they think they do not have the resources to execute. But content comes in many forms such as text, video, and images. It can be as brief as a picture from an event from a smartphone or a 1 question poll. No matter what type of content you create it is essential to be consistent with the strategy. A schedule that sets a weekly goal is a great place to start but the goal needs to be realistic.

Once the strategy is producing content, businesses can move on to the next step which is distributing the content. This step is often called content marketing but with the rise of native advertising, the two are often lumped into the same strategy.

Native advertising and content marketing sound very similar as both use content to generate engagement with potential customers. The major difference is that native advertising is paid distribution of the content. For example; if a general contractor creates a how-to video they need to decide how to distribute it. The video helps build trust and positions the contractor as an expert in the field. But with limited resources, native advertising might not be in the budget but a content marketing strategy could be implemented at no cost.
Hosting the video on their website, the contractor can use social media to bring people to it and use the opportunity to promote the services that they offer. The video could also be uploaded directly to Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube with the intention of establishing a loyal and engaged audience on social media. Either approach is an effective content marketing strategy and free to implement; the only requirement is time. However, even time constraints can be minimized by using a service such as HootSuite that allows you to post to multiple social media accounts at the same time and even allows you to schedule posts around a certain schedule.

If this general contractor decided to allocate a budget to promoting this video than a native advertising campaign could be utilized. Facebook and Twitter offer an advertising program that allows companies to promote their content to market segments. In this case, the contractor could pay to have their video show up in the newsfeed and timeline of an As the audience and business grows, native advertising can be introduced to the marketing mix. At that point, businesses will have a well-established content creation strategy and will have a much better understanding on what type of content truly drives engagement. This higher quality strategy can then be used in a native advertising campaign to target a desired segment of an audience to maximize the return on investment.

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