Add3 – Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Seattle & Portland

Native Advertising Part 1: All about native ads & social media

This is Part 1 of my 3-part series on Native Advertising. Check out Part 2: Native Ads Bridge the Gap Between SEO, Content & Social Media and Part 3: Native Advertising Cons and Predictions

Native advertising is one of the more popular buzzwords in digital marketing lately. Although it made a quiet debut in 2011, this form of advertising has become increasingly mainstream in the past year, and is predicted to be one of the largest digital marketing trends of 2015. 

What Is Native Advertising, Anyway?

Good question. In short – think “advertorial”- though there are differences. Native advertising has many forms, and it is less conspicuous than most other forms of advertising. The very definition is disputed, but in the most basic sense it is branded content that matches the context of users’ experience – it does not look or feel like an ad at all.

This includes advertorials, content amplification through sponsored posts, product placement, search listings, and in-feed ads on social media. 

Native Social Media Advertising

Among the numerous forms of native advertising, social media is perhaps the most debated. Some refuse to call sponsored Facebook posts or promoted Tweets ‘native’, because they’re rarely publisher-produced editorial content.

However, editorial content marketing and native advertising are two different things. In-feed ads do fit the broad definition of native advertising in the sense that they are branded content and effectively blend in with their surroundings.

Trend Watch: Native Advertising

Native advertising is catching up – according to this Global Trends in Public Relations Searches report, the significant rise of native advertising in the last year has had a direct correlation to the rise of social media and content marketing.

Online Marketing Growth Strategies

Keep your eye on “(NA) Native Advertising)” on the bottom left. It really starts to take off in 2013.

This comes as no surprise, as brands are turning to social media more than ever to create meaningful engagements with their fans. And although native advertising budgets may remain relatively small in digital advertising for the time being, Ad Age recently reported that a whopping 63% of brands plan to increase their native ad spend for 2015.

In order to maintain relevancy, native advertising on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and several others require real-time monitoring of trends and precise targeting. Tools like geo-targeting, demographics, and interests can be used to serve audiences that will find your ads less disruptive and more engaging – which is what native ads are all about.

Native Ads Go Multi-Platform

Facebook offers several options for campaign types ranging from conversion-driven ads to post-engagement ads – it’s easy to create ads that will engage a target audience while maintaining a not-so-promotional feel. Each of these formats can be shown directly in the News Feed (with a “Sponsored” disclaimer, of course).

Even better, Facebook Developers now offers native ad incorporation within your apps. There is no set template for these – though there are guidelines and certain restrictions. In the same way, LinkedIn and Twitter allow you to create in-stream native ads featuring text, images, videos and links.

Native Advertising Example on Facebook

native ad example - facebook sponsored post

Facebook native ads are very transparent in the fact that these News Feed “posts” are sponsored content.

Photo-centric platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat have an advantage over other sites since photo content is more readily shared. However, buying ad space on them can cost you:

  • Instagram tested their premium ad service with 10 select brands in 2013 and executives reported seeing CPMs anywhere from $500K to $1MM per month.
  • Snapchat is reported to run at $750K per day for an ad that disappears in a matter of seconds and offers little to no reporting capabilities.
  • Pinterest’s Promoted Pins, on the other hand, run on a CPC basis and seemingly have a much more realistic price tag.

There’s a reason that these platforms are more expensive than Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn though – ads on Instagram have a much more realistic look and feel since it is already known for high-quality (almost commercial-grade) photos. 

Native Advertising Example on Instagram

native advertising example instagram

Michael Kors was the first of a select few brands to advertise on Instagram in 2013, and received a lot of mixed reviews from those who were served with this ad. Note that this post was promoted, so the actual ad showed that is was “Sponsored” content.

Social & Beyond

The content strategy behind native ads leaves social media users with more value than a traditional ad, which is why brands are investing more time and effort in this space.

This is only the beginning – the ever evolving world of native advertising extends far beyond the reaches of social media platforms, and has the potential to transform the way marketers think about their digital marketing strategy as a whole.

Coming next is Part 2: Native Advertising bridges the gap between Content, Social & SEO.

Add3 offers Social Media Advertising services. We can help your brand chart a course with Native Ads and beyond! Just contact us and we can chat about it!

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Zoe Robinson

About Zoe Robinson

Zoe is a Paid Social Account Manager at Add3. Outside the office you can find her binge-watching Netflix with her cat Elf, boycotting umbrellas, or wandering around Capitol Hill petting every animal in sight. For music recommendations and random thoughts, follow her on Twitter @zoeeerobinson

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