by Tony Muna
Traditionally, when we think of advertisements we think of fast-forwarding through them or tuning-in to watch them during the Super Bowl. Nobody goes on the Internet looking for ads. So why, according to Forbes, are major brands shelling out $255 million each month on Instagram posts that double as advertisements? Such is the nature of today’s native advertising environment. Far from a fad, this form of advertising is the future.
Before we continue, let’s define native advertising. We can’t go to the old cliché dictionary definition because even Webster’s hasn’t yet included the term. Native advertising can be defined succinctly as paid content. Content can take a variety of formats such as articles, pictures, social media posts, or videos. Such media is created by people that may be referred to as, “micro-influencers”, “opinion leaders”, “bloggers”, or “publishers” more generically. This article provides four reasons why any brand should explore native advertising as a long-term strategy to add value to their marketing efforts.
Time highlights Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) as the “biggest age grouping in American History.” Want to “go viral” with your brand among Millennials? Then your brand will need to meet them where they spend a bulk of their time. Ad Age encourages companies to engage this community online, specifically through social media. Ad Age also estimates that Millennials are collectively expected to spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017 and $10 trillion in their lifetimes. Enter native advertising.
People who follow specific websites, brands, and/or bloggers have already opted-in! With today’s shortening attention spans, tapping into such an audience is like winning the first half of a marathon without breaking a sweat. Readers are interested and engaged therefore much more likely to listen. Bloggers develop strong personal brands. If that brand is in-line with your brand image, then you can easily establish a mutually beneficial relationship.
Do you need to target a specific geography or a highly niche demographic? Are you selling sandals to Floridians that have pet turtles? I guarantee that a blogger has already worked hard to cultivate a relationship with the most specific audience you covet.
Keeping up with the Competition
If you assume that your competitors are not investing in native advertising, you are likely mistaken. The Native Advertising Institute reports that,
“Out of 127 marketers surveyed by the Association of National Advertisers, 55 percent said their native advertising budgets increased last year and 63 percent expected those budgets to increase this year.”
Marketing professionals are increasingly moving towards a digital marketing model founded on data points such as: likes, shares, comments, time spent reading, and click-throughs. An established publisher is generally considered an expert in their chosen field. Furthermore, they have a readership which views them less as a stranger and more like a trusted friend. Brands looking to make a real impact on engagement statistics need look no further than native advertising.
Native advertising isn’t new but it certainly isn’t mature. As bloggers develop their followings and an increasing number of individuals from every age group spends more time gathering information from non-traditional sources, so the importance of native advertising grows for brands looking to tap into the enormous spending potential of an online marketplace.
Use the comment section below to share how you have utilized native advertising to complement your marketing campaigns. Have a related topic you would like us to explore or an interesting idea for an article? Feel free to share and we will get right to it!
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