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What Is Native Advertising?

Content Marketing 3rd Sep 2014

Hi. Today we’re going to be looking at native advertising, and we’re going to look at how native advertising can help your own content marketing efforts. But before we get into that, let’s have a quick overview of what native advertising is.

Basically, it’s an online marketing method that enables the advertiser to promote content in the context of the user experience. So we have a good example here of Koozai Times. This is our fictional newspaper, and I’ve gone with the lead story that “Koozai Rocks!”

So native advertising, put simply, is promoting content within the publication. So you have here the article, and then beneath you have a table or a tab that will say “Sponsored Content.” It will usually say “Sponsored Content” by a particular service, or it will just say “Sponsored Content,” and then you have here your particular pieces of content.

Now today we’re going to look at a number of services and sites. We’re going to look at the costs and the ROI of those particular services. We’re going to look at the performance, so how it performs and what you can gain from it. We’re going to look at some tips to help improve your own efforts.

In terms of services and sites, there really are a whole host of platforms that offer native advertising options. So we’ve gone with a number of straight-up services. You have like Taboola, Outbrain, and Zemanta. Websites like Buzzfeed are for their own particular native advertising options, where it’s just the simple advertising of content that sits within the context of their overall homepage. These options are just as useful, very expensive. But today we’re going to look at the straight-up services that offer these options where you can have your content promoted on a number of different sites. So basically that’s exactly what Taboola, Outbrain, and Zemanta do.

Now the number of sites and the type of sites can really vary depending on different platforms. You can get your content placed on things like BBC World, CNN, The Guardian, The Sun, and a whole host of others.

Now the ways in which they perform can really, really vary. Again, this depends on the type of content that you’re creating and the site that it sat on. But generally, as a rule of thumb, the stats surrounding the different services are as shown here. Taboola has a cost-per-click of about 10 pence, and a click-through rate of between 0.15% and 0.18%. That’s exactly the same for Outbrain.

Zemanta performs a little bit better basically because Zemanta actually is a slightly different platform to Taboola and Outbrain. The way in which Zemanta works is it actually pulls in content that is relevant to the content that you’re reading. So, in one sense, you actually have to network behind the scenes with a number of sites to help give your content and validate it amongst other sites.

Now the performance of native advertising really again depends on the type of site and the type of content you’ve created. I would always, always, always use it as only a short-term strategy. So if you’re looking to get traffic and conversions on a short-term basis, then native advertising is a fantastic option. If you’re looking for a much more long-term strategy, then this isn’t a sustainable option purely because of the budget that you have to allocate to get rewards.

So, in that sense, I would only recommend it as a short-term thing. It doesn’t have any SEO value purely because what happens is the content actually opens up in an iFrame. So it doesn’t get re-indexed or anything like that. It doesn’t get indexed on another page. If you were to find the URL where the content sat within this option, on let’s say the Koozai Times, you wouldn’t find it. It’s not crawlable. It’s not indexable. So it has no SEO value. On one hand, that’s good for duplicate content reasons. But on another hand, it’s actually not very good at all for SEO value because it has no SEO value. So this is why it’s only a short-term strategy, purely for driving traffic and enhancing conversions.

Now to make sure that your content performs as well as it could be, there are two things that you really need to look at when it comes to promoting content using native advertising:  call to actions within the piece of content and titles. So the first thing I would recommend is if you want to go down the route of giving your content a push, to promote it, you need to make sure that the title works across paid platforms and you have enough CTAs in there, because if you don’t have those things, you’ll end up just kind of wasting your money and wasting your budget.

So in terms of the titles, the things that you need to really think about are those kind of Upworthy titles, nothing too controversial, because I know Upworthy has come under sort of increasing criticism recently about the way that it promotes its content. So nothing too Upworthy. But you need to think along those lines. Also using numbers and lists, that type of thing works very well in terms of titles. You need to think about the user and how clickable your title is to the user.

Then with regards to call to actions, what you need to think about is having a call to action at the start, at the bottom, and somewhere in the middle. Something that we found particularly useful is actually having clickable buttons at the top, at the bottom, and within the middle, something that’s a bit more visual that will stand out within the piece of content. You could really use this to either enhance downloads, signups, conversions, or to move to another page, that type of thing.

So that’s a nice quick overview of what native advertising is and how you can use it to enhance your own content marketing efforts. As a quick recap, I’d only recommend using it as a short-term campaign, as a short-term idea. If you are going to go down this route, think about your titles and your call to actions and make sure that your content is friendly across those paid platform sites.

So that leaves me just to say thank you very much for watching. For more information, please visit any of the social profiles coming up now.

James Perrin
About the author

James Perrin

Content Marketing Manager, James Perrin is a regular contributor to the Koozai blog. Well experienced in sales and marketing, James also has a passion for journalism and media, especially new media. From the latest industry related new stories to copywriting advice, James will provide you with plenty of digital marketing information.

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