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How to find a good native advertising partner

Ad Platform Selection

For digital advertisers of all stripes, the Covid-19 pandemic has recently brought an unexpected deluge of traffic and sales, signaling that consumers may be favoring online shopping for the foreseeable future. While big retailers generally have ample experience working with digital marketing solutions, many SMBs are just now dipping their toes in the water of native advertising. For newcomers, it can understandably be challenging to figure out how to choose a good native ad partner. That’s why we’ve compiled this checklist of things to look for when choosing a platform. Let’s get right to it:

Transparency

Transparency can be tough to come by, but it’s well worth taking the time to find a partner that operates on principles of openness, clarity and choice. Advertisers who’ve been around the block know what it’s like to have to buy mystery traffic in bulk in order to access the traffic they actually want. Why should you have to buy a blend of traffic that most likely includes low-performing publishers, when what you really want is to buy specific placements on high-quality, trustworthy websites? What’s more, many platforms purposefully obfuscate the details of the traffic mix in their packages, forcing advertisers to buy first and hope for the best.

The good news is that most ad platforms now allow advertisers to demo their dashboards before committing any budget to a campaign. This enables you to check out the traffic on offer, see the mix and the level of transparency, and make a judgment call.

Robust Segmenting and Tracking Capabilities

Being able to filter and track campaign performance comprise two of the most essential components of digital advertising – and they work hand-in-hand. If you find a partner that has robust capabilities in both of these areas, you’ll be able to target, optimize and scale your campaigns much easier.

In terms of filters, look for the option to buy placements on specific pages of a website – for example, high visibility areas like the home page or other pages that focus on special interest subjects, like finance or entertainment. Browser and operating system (OS) targeting are also very useful for reaching the specific audience you want, as is geotargeting (for example, the ability to filter by zip code in the U.S.). 

Although filters are an essential feature, they’re ultimately meaningless if you can’t track and optimize your campaigns. Remember to look for platforms that offer robust tracking features like their own pixel, or site-to-site conversion postback. These capabilities, combined with a transparent bidding system, will enable you to easily see where your best traffic is coming from and optimize your ads to your heart’s content.

The Ability to Process Creatives in Bulk

It might surprise new advertisers to learn that a lot of platforms don’t allow bulk uploading of creatives. This means that for every campaign you run, you very well may find yourself limited to around 10 creative assets, which will significantly impede your optimization efficiency. Imagine uploading 10 creatives, waiting a week to evaluate the campaign results, then repeating the process over and over. By that time, you might have already missed your window of opportunity!

Our recommendation is to look for a partner that can accept many creatives at once, enabling you to quickly drill down on what’s working and what’s not, and optimize your campaigns – as we all know that quick optimization means better ROI.

An Experienced Team (That’s Actually Available!)

Finally, don’t dismiss the importance of a quality team. If you struggle to get timely, useful responses to your questions, it could spell trouble for your campaigns. We live in a truly international world where business never sleeps. You should expect your campaign manager to provide quick, meaningful and actionable answers to your questions, without needing to wait for days on end.

This is the first post in our new series of articles exploring how to run a successful ad campaign from start to finish. In future posts, we will dig deeper into specific advice for different types of advertisers, from e-commerce to lead-gen to content. We hope you found this helpful! Check back in on a regular basis to see our latest articles.