When planning a performance ad campaign, enhancing your brand is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Ad placement, audience profile, clicks and conversions are likely at the top of your list – and understandably so. After all, your ultimate goal is sales, and metrics like clicks and conversions are where the proverbial rubber meets the road. But enhancing your brand is also extremely important, even though you probably won’t see immediate returns from your effort. That’s why it’s worthwhile to consider an ad format that can accomplish both performance and branding goals at the same time. Native ads are up to the task.
Broadly speaking, advertisements can be grouped into two large buckets: performance and brand. Performance campaigns are evaluated based on metrics like cost per click (CPC), cost per lead (CPL) and cost per install (CPI), as well as others. In other words, they’re literally measured based on their performance – i.e. the amount of money it costs for consumers to take a specific action. Brand campaigns, on the other hand, are measured based on views alone. A TV ad for Coke, for example, isn’t prompting the viewer to take any specific action. It simply serves to reinforce the brand’s image and occupy more consumer mindshare.
Native ads thus find themselves in an unusual place, straddling the line between performance and brand. Technically speaking, native ads are measured based on performance – usually a CPC or CPL model. However, because of their unique format, they are also capable of enhancing your brand.
The entire concept of native ads is that they blend in seamlessly alongside other content. One of the most popular types of native ads is an advertorial, also referred to as “sponsored content.” The reason these ads can enhance your brand is because they actually provide the reader with valuable information, as opposed to just pushing a sale. In other words, they give people content that they actually want to consume.
Native ads can be used on a variety of different media, including video, social networks, content websites, podcasts and more. If you want to build your brand through native ads, you should first consider a few key things:
Context: In what context is your native ad being displayed? If you’re trying to appeal to a broad group of consumers, you probably want to choose a platform and a message that is both neutral and widely popular. On the other hand, if you’re trying to drill down into a very specific demographic, you’ll need to find the right platform. Keep in mind that by forming an association with a narrow demographic, you might alienate other consumers who don’t agree with that particular platform’s values.
Appearance: Since the whole point of native ads is to blend in with their surroundings, making sure they do so should be top of mind. Not only will this help drive more clicks – thus satisfying your performance goals – it will also help establish your credibility with consumers. There’s nothing more off-putting than opening up an advertorial that looks sloppy and spammy; don’t let this be you!
Content: There are two key points here. First of all, content is king. Secondly, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Everyone knows (and indeed, expects) you to be profiting off your content in some way. In other words, sponsored content isn’t necessarily a turn-off. If you’re providing people with something of value, they’ll be happy to listen, read or watch your sponsored content. This will help establish your company or product as a thought leader in its particular vertical, thus enhancing your brand.