As the adage goes, “If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing.” Native advertising is one of the fastest growing markets in the digital ecosystem, but also one of the least understood. Therefore, in order to make the most of your native advertising spend, we want to share with you six basic yet indispensable steps to run a successful native ad campaign.


1) Know Your Audience to Capture Their Attention

It’s undeniable that the flood of content out there is endless. For this reason, people don’t want to be bothered with irrelevant content that interrupts their online experience. Getting your content in front of the right audience has become much more strategic, and requires brands to be more creative in order to deliver a successful ad campaign. Native advertising is a key solution, as it allows brands to seamlessly blend their brand’s message into consumers’ natural discovery habits, ensuring a positive and engaging viewing experience. This is what makes native advertising a unique and effective medium, as it allows you to generate brand awareness and provide valuable content that educates and enlightens the reader. After all, it is the story behind the product or service that incites consumers to learn more. 


You must therefore create a personalized experience for your audience. Personalization, whether it is based on interest, demographics, or where potential customers are in the marketing funnel, helps create an emotional connection and captures an attentive and engaged reader. Native advertising provides a win-win situation, delivering value to the user by recommending content that matters to them without being intrusive on the online experience, and allowing you to reach high-value audiences. By increasing your engagement, you will increase your success, and transform a passive user into an active consumer.


2) Prioritize Quality Content to Build Relevance

We just outlined the importance of advertising to the right audience. With that being said, access to audiences is meaningless if the content isn’t compelling and surrounded by other high-quality content - the latter being for brand safety purposes. Consumers seek engaging content that educates and meets a need to the consumers’ problem. Rather than advertise strictly for brand promotion, native provides information, it answers questions, and it solves problems people seek to remedy. That is how native content keeps people interested, and as a result, it builds trust and drives conversions. The main difference between native and other digital advertising is that you pay for the privilege of scaling your message to reach a larger audience, using premium publishers to enhance brand awareness and brand affinity. In this respect, it is all about delivering value in the mind of the consumer.


Netflix, promoting “Orange is the New Black,” is a classic example showcasing the power of native advertising as educational and informative pieces of content. Through a native ad on the New York Times, Netflix captured attention by opening up discussion about female incarceration and the need for policies and programs to meet the needs of the growing number of females serving time. Using this long-form native article, Netflix was able to stay true to the publication style while boosting awareness of its then-upcoming TV series, showing how relevant content can establish an interactive relationship between company and customer. 


3) Empower Customers: Prove It’s Not Just About Making Money

Customers appreciate content from brands who want to provide assistance, rather than from those simply using a content piece as a PR stunt. Native advertising is a great asset in this respect, as it goes beyond the traditional advertising methods of a one-way sales pitch. Content that is perceived to be self-serving simply doesn’t engage or build trust with an audience. A successful native ad campaign offers interactivity, creating connection and dialogue through informative and entertaining content. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t mention your brand at all, nor include landing pages back to your site, but just remember it is the content that resonates best with an audience. Your story, not the product, wins their heart.


Those who don’t understand native advertising will revert to old-school advertising methods that, in this day and age, are no longer effective. Promoting a hard sales pitch will not achieve the results you are looking for. In fact, the more likely outcome will be an annoyance to your viewers, and perhaps negative brand association due to ad intrusiveness. Instead, your job should be to create a story that generates interest and provides value by meeting a need. These stories can be engaging by removing your brand as the onus and making the customer the center of attention. As a result, users will want to learn more about your brand, and even share it with others. 


4) Use Compelling Images and Headlines

If you’re reading this right now, it is probably because I grabbed your attention through a compelling image and headline. Both components helped your decision in reading this article rather than taking a pass on it. So, why was it so effective? Let’s start with the native headline. 


Everyone looking to advertise competes with one another for user attention, in a world where the human attention span is at its lowest point. Millions of new pages are added online every day, so you must remember the audience you are targeting, and be creative in standing out. A successful headline is one that is short, concise, informative, and compelling. At the same time, keep in mind that a catchy headline should be authentic, and not be used for clickbait. Honesty and relevance goes a long way in building a relationship based on trust with your audience. Nobody is asking you to be Shakespeare to write a successful attention-grabber, just know how you can provide value with the article you are promoting. Use words - and numbers when possible - that amplify the substance of your message to the reader. Words should ‘pop’ and give a preview of what the reader is about to experience, creating a sense of urgency that leaves the reader wanting more. For example, if you want to promote your CV template and convince users that it increases their chance for interviews, provide numbers that prove its worth. For example, say: ‘Download this template that got 80% call-backs.’ It tells the reader what they are about to feel rather than be founded on empty promises like ‘Effective CV template’. 


Secondly, the image. First impressions matter, and the image you portray on your ad will be one of the first things users see. Think about how the picture will match your market’s desires rather than how it will get clicks. Avoid ‘gimmicks’ in getting clicks for the wrong reasons, and find an appropriate and compelling image that ties into your content without telling the entire story. The point is to attract your users through genuine interest, and through your image and headline, compel them to find out the rest of the story. 


5) Always Have a Powerful CTA

You’ve gotten your reader this far already, so don’t miss the great opportunity of carrying the conversation forward. To deliver a high-performing campaign, landing pages are instrumental, allowing you to better measure the effectiveness of your ad and drive conversions. 


The mission of any powerful CTA, evidently, is to move the user along in the process of becoming a consumer of your brand. Your CTA objective may be to download a file, sign-up on a form, or click through to a page your website, among others. In native advertising, this CTA is creative, eye-catching, short, simple and to the point. It incites a sense of urgency by persuading the reader to take action now and meet a need. In the end, a CTA isn’t about clicks or likes, but about conversions, inspiring people to take action. It requires proper word choice, with a focus on the customer by asking yourself, ‘How am I going to help my customer and the way they feel by optimizing on this call to action?’ Under any circumstance, a successful ad has a powerful CTA that will make it easy for your client to make the right choice


6) Identify Your Distribution Platform

Now that you know the best practices for your native ad campaign, the only thing left to determine is your distribution platform. Thousands of premium brands are using Ligatus to syndicate their native content and reach targeted audiences through its network of high-traffic and high-quality publishers. The Internet these days makes for the possibility to discover all kinds of information very easy. The challenge, however, is providing relevant and quality content to the right audience and have them discover it organically. When done right, native advertising is the absolute best way for branding and to drive user responses. As a pioneer in the native advertising industry, Ligatus provides the perfect solutions for brands and publishers to enrich their online advertising campaigns and provide a positive advertising experience. 


Are you looking for answers or trying to get started with your native ad campaign? Be sure to follow our best practices, and contact us today so we can help you succeed.

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