We often hear the term “native advertising” but as a relatively young form of marketing, there is still a lot of confusion about what it is and how it should be implemented. We break down what exactly it means to “go native” and how marketers can create compliant native advertisements.
How to spot a native advertisement
For an advertisement to be considered “native” it will match the format and purpose of the platform on which it is displayed, for example, an online newspaper. They are paid for and marked as such, and are typically highly targeted to the specific user base of that particular platform. Fundamentally, native ads, unlike traditional forms of advertising, are designed not to interrupt the user experience or typical behaviour of a user on that particular channel.
Why do native ads work?
Native ads allow businesses to place themselves directly within consumer’s search patterns without obstructing their initial search intent. They provide the ideal opportunity to generate engagement through content that is both relevant and interesting to a specifically targeted audience without appearing as glaring sales pitches.
Unlike pay-per-click advertisements, which target consumers who are already at or close to the point of purchase, native advertisements allow brands to create awareness through relevant and useful content, rather than the obvious promotion of their products and services. This way, native advertisements lend themselves to the formation of customer relationships and loyalty.
With the rise of ad blockers and influencer led marketing, consumers are more selective than ever about what kind of advertisements they trust and want to see. As a result, native advertising fits in with the modern consumers’ ideals because they’re not pushy or pestering. In fact, it may come as a surprise that native advertisements have been found to boost purchase intent by 18% compared to traditional banner or display ads.
Things to consider when creating native advertisements:
Because of the covert nature of native advertisements, there are a number of protocols that need to be adhered to by advertisers.
- Native advertisements are supposed to look like they are a natural part of the platform on which they appear, but they should not be concealed or appear as editorial rather than advertorial content. In order to comply with advertising standards, if it is not otherwise made clear by contextual cues, native advertisements should be clearly labelled as such through appropriate headings or banners.
- Native advertisements can also appear as integrated links to external websites or content under headings such as “you may also like”. It must be made explicit to consumers that such links are paid for through labels such as “ad” or “ad link”.
- Labelling advertorial content as “sponsored content” or “in association with” can be considered misleading because it suggests that the editorial platform retains full control over the advertorial. In short, all native advertising must be identifiable as paid for and although it can match the format and style of the channel on which it appears, it must not pose as editorial content in a misleading way. Consumers must be able to identify promotional material at all points in their online search journey.
For more information about how to create compliant native ads, see the Advertising Standards Authority website at https://www.asa.org.uk/