Advertisers should make sure not to dismiss native ads offhandedly. There’s a reason that native ad spend is projected to grow from $35.24 billion in 2018 to $52.75 billion by the end of 2020: the format works. But like anything else in life, it only works if done right. You should never throw together a new ad campaign without making a plan first. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the core principles you should adhere to when planning your next native ad campaign, with a focus on mobile media buys.
Why Choose Native?
Advertisers have lots of options when it comes to ad formats: search ads, video, display, native, surveys, etc. Not to mention different platforms like podcasts, TV, desktop and mobile. But when it comes to actually executing a campaign, the formats and platforms you end up using will depend to a large degree on your product vertical and your marketing goals.
For example, if you’re running a brand awareness campaign targeting a large, broad demographic of consumers, you might want to purchase an ad spot with a popular podcast host. Or alternatively, if you specifically want to boost downloads for your app, you probably want to run a CPI (Cost Per Install) campaign on either the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. This begs the question: which product verticals and what type of marketing campaigns are the best fit for native ads?
Native ads are quite flexible. In our experience, native ads work well for a variety of different verticals such as e-commerce, subscription services and insurance. And when it comes to marketing goals, native ads can serve both top-funnel and bottom-funnel campaigns, all the way from lead generation to sales.
In previous posts, we touched on native ad strategy for desktop campaigns. But what about mobile? How should you design your creative, and what are some of the pitfalls to avoid? Here are a few strategies you can employ to achieve the best results for your next mobile native ad campaign.
Know Your Audience
It might sound obvious, but it bears repeating: knowing your key demographic is one of the most crucial aspects to a successful ad campaign — native or otherwise. We’re not talking about ad targeting, which is undoubtedly a helpful tool. Instead, we’re talking about the art of making a compelling creative, while at the same time keeping in mind the type of users who are most likely to see your ads. If ad targeting is science, putting together a creative that resonates with your audience is art.
This process consists of two steps: first, you need to have a grasp of which websites your target demographic visits. Second, you need to design your creatives with that particular website and audience segment in mind. Let’s break it down step by step:
Step 1: Research the smartphone landscape and gain an understanding of different peoples’ usage habits (i.e. which websites they frequent). This type of general industry knowledge is especially important now that large companies like Apple are giving users more control over their privacy, rendering targeting methods like IDFA and cookies less useful. Advertisers tend to prefer publishers that have a loyal and high-quality audience, such as MSN.com (whose placements you can buy through MediaGo, by the way!)
Step 2: Review your publisher sites in advance to ensure that your native ad matches the style of a given website. The most straightforward way to do this is to open up the website on your smartphone and check out the other native ads that are already live, as well as the website’s original content. Then, take those learnings back to your marketing and design teams.
We know that this is a tedious ask, and it might seem impractical for advertisers who are running multiple campaigns across different properties. But minor optimizations to your ad creative can make a difference and improve performance.
One of the biggest perks of native advertising is how an ad can fit seamlessly into the viewing experience. When done right, native ads match the tone and style of a website, fitting in fluidly on both desktop and mobile. However, for mobile in particular, advertisers need to keep in mind that they’re working with a smaller screen.
To maximize ad performance, ensure that your creative fits the technical specifications of the publisher’s website, including image dimensions, text length, style and layout. If your image appears too small, the ad won’t read well and your performance will suffer.
Content is King
While it is imperative that your ad fits the style and format of your publisher’s website, the ad content itself needs to stand out to foster user engagement. To create content that thrives, use a clear and inviting title and a high-quality, compelling image. If you have room for copy, make sure that you write in a straightforward style that tells a story and includes a clear call to action. Copy that focuses on why your company is so great will only detract from what you have to offer. Instead, focus on how your product or service can benefit the consumer.
People value authenticity and humanity, and mobile offers a unique opportunity to deliver on this front. By leveraging previous customer experience and feedback collected via surveys, polls and reviews, you can build a database of testimonials that can be referenced while designing your ad. This background knowledge can help make your creative truly compelling.
Whether you’re just getting started in native advertising or are a seasoned veteran, MediaGo is an easy-to-use platform that can help you effectively scale your campaigns. MediaGo partners with high quality trusted publishers like MSN.com, so you can get great performance on your next ad buy. To learn more and get started, register for a free account today.