When it comes to creating an effective native ad campaign strategy, there’s a lot to take into account. Who is the target demographic? What headlines and creative elements will draw them in? Will the ad blend suitably with publisher content? It can be overwhelming.
But undoubtedly the most important element to consider is the content that the consumer will be directed to after clicking the native ad. Campaign strategies that prioritize strong, shareable content are by far the most successful. Not all content is suitable to achieve native advertising goals. It can’t be too dry, or a blatant sales pitch, or somehow unaligned with the brand’s image; the list goes on.
In order for a native ad campaign to be effective, its content must be relevant to the brand, the publisher, and the brand’s target audience. Without any one of these elements, the quality of the content will be undermined, and, ultimately, the campaign as a whole will miss the mark. With that in mind, we've detailed a few guidelines around how to ensure native ad landing page content helps to acheive desired objectives.
NATIVE AD CONTENT SHOULD ALWAYS...
- Fit the brand’s story.
It goes without saying that content produced for a native ad campaign must be content the brand is comfortable being associated with. Beyond that, it must also be consistent with the brand’s story as a whole -- its voice, its history, and how it is perceived by consumers. It also helps if the content is relevant to the brand or product being sold. When content is relevant to the brand, it is more easily associated with the brand in the consumer's memory. Although some like to think of native ads as a “gift” from the brand to the publisher’s audience, it certainly shouldn’t be anonymous. There must be other indications besides the requisite “sponsored content” disclaimers that the brand is responsible for the content being viewed, and, if well-executed, the payoff will come in the form of brand awareness and trust.
- Make sense in the context of where it is published.
A native ad won’t get far if it’s landing page content isn't contextually relevant. Consumers will quickly pick up on the difference in tone, subject matter, or format of the piece, and this will raise a red flag, as one of the most important aspects of native advertising is that it avoids disrupting the consumer’s experience. But if the content presents in a manner that is consistent with its surroundings, it is more likely to be viewed, processed, and engaged in the same way as regularly-published editorial content.
- Interest the intended demographic.
In many ways, when content is published in the correct context, it will already be lending itself to aligning with the intended demographics’ interests. But the best native ad strategies prioritize content that the target audience will value. This is the most important point to keep in mind when creating content for a native ad strategy, and what sets the most memorable, shareable, and engaging content apart.
Of course, content that is considered relatable will vary between different demographics. A home improvement how-to, an in-depth article about destination weddings, and a ranked list of the most life-changing ways to prepare mac n’ cheese will not be enjoyed equally across demographics. Both the format and topic of the the content must be considered in relation to the target audience. It’s also important to know and address the target audience’s progress in the consumer journey, as that will also have an impact on what the brand can offer.
Buzzfeed published a list sponsored by ACUVUE that is a prime example of content which lands exactly at the intersection of each of the three features of appropriate content mentioned above:
- The content is true to the brand. “11 Impossibly Cool Facts You May Not Know About Your Eyes” maintains a knowledgeable yet relatable voice that is ideal for a company specializing in products that can be considered both medical and cosmetic. And, the content is obviously relevant to the brand, making it easy for the consumer to link the two together.
- The content fits in perfectly with the content it is published alongside. After all, Buzzfeed practically invented the listicle.
- The tone of the article is informative and entertaining, which is ideal for the young demographic that Acuvue would have been hoping to reach sponsoring content on a site like Buzzfeed.
There is no one type of content that is appropriate for a native advertising campaign strategy. What works varies from brand to brand, and depends on the target audience and objective. But it’s easier than it may initially seem to produce content that is appropriate and sets up the campagin for success.
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