New to Native?

The Basics to Understanding Native Advertising

What is native advertising?  Why should I use native advertising?  How can I make native advertising work for my brand?

All of these questions are on the minds of marketers as brands face an ever-evolving digital landscape with one goal in mind: deliver the right message at the right place and the right time to the right person.

Native advertising can deliver on this goal – but not without the key planning principles all good marketers employ with any program: identification of goals and objectives and truly understanding your target audience.  Without these, your native advertising strategy may end up collecting dust with your last QR code campaign.

Just defining the term, “native advertising” is challenging. Nearly everyone has an opinion on the definition; however, there is a common theme throughout – native advertising is a form of advertising that follows the format, function and style of the user experience in which it’s placed.

Isn’t “native advertising” something we’ve been striving to do for years? Providing suitable content to the right consumer in a valuable way reflects the true goal of native advertising – to make a brand contextually relevant within a respective space.

As the industry definition continues to evolve, one thing is clear: native advertising is here to stay.  It was gaining popularity even before John Oliver’s 11-minute monologue on the topic. Native advertising has become one of the fastest growing segments of the $43 billion U.S. digital advertising market and is so top-of-mind that Media Post has recently developed a new column dedicated to the topic.

As the news source, The Atlantic knows, execution of native advertising is something that can easily go wrong. The Church of Scientology paid for a sponsored post that was out of character for the content traditionally found on The Atlantic’s site, which ignited backlash. Ultimately, the brand didn’t consider whether or not the advertisement was contextually relevant for readers of The Atlantic.

So how do brands make it go right? Native advertising offers a unique opportunity to craft advertising messages that appeal not only to the “who” side of your target audience but also deliver on “how” that target audience consumes media. This doesn’t just mean that native content needs to look like everything else on the page, it has to sound and feel authentic to the readers or they will become skeptical.

The success of native revolves around appropriate branded content that aligns with the publisher and the audience. Whether it’s sponsored content within a publisher site such as Forbes.com or a ‘promoted post’ on Twitter, native advertising should add value to the discussion and connect a brand with its audience within platforms where they spend their time.

At Fahlgren Mortine, we’re not just talking about native advertising, we’re finding the right opportunities for our clients to integrate new native platforms into their marketing strategies.

We were recently charged with identifying solutions to help Krazy Glue reach a segment of their target audience The awareness program not only needed to resonate with the audience, but also provide them with content that would help make the Krazy Glue brand relevant.

A partnership with Buzzfeed using native advertising to deliver articles focused on entertaining content playing off the strength attribute of Krazy Glue was successful in generating above average views and a social lift beyond the Buzzfeed benchmarks.

The solution worked because:

(a) employing native advertising can help drive brand awareness objectives and

(b) Fahlgren Mortine and Krazy Glue applied a deep understanding of the audience target to identify an appropriate place for the target to engage with the brand.

Ready to get started? Go back to your marketing basics: goals, objectives and audience to determine where native can support your marketing strategies. Think differently about your audience – not just who they are, but how they consume media in their daily lives. Finally, determine ways to deliver creative content focused on adding value within those relevant advertising spaces.

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