It’s hard not to be carried away by the incredible rise of native advertising as the promotional channel of choice. Consumers are rejecting the lure of banner and display ads in droves, with click through rates plummeting and advertisers wondering where to go next.
Those who have already dipped their toe in the native pool, providing content that consumers actually want to read rather than just trying to bludgeon them with a display ad, no matter how good a piece of creative work, have often found that the click-through-rate (ctr) rockets. The US display average is about 0.1% but some publishers are reporting rates even as high as 5%, with typical responses at the 1.5% level.
However, as the native channel captures the attention of the advertisers, so the publishers are starting to realise that native is not a ‘one-size fits all’ advertising solution. As experience grows it is becoming clear that native advertising is not about simply providing content matched closely to the publication values and consumer tastes; it’s effectiveness is also highly influenced by the platform that consumer is using.
With an ever increasing proportion of internet activity being accessed by mobile devices it is important that it is not assumed that the content reader is using a tablet or laptop. Equally, content designed to work well on the smaller screen may look far less attractive if scaled up on a larger platform. The real problem comes when there is a call to action, perhaps actually ordering product or making payment. Irritating and ‘fiddly’ are not high technology words but they are very descriptive of why sometimes we reject the technology available.
The trouble is we have all become spoilt brats; if something isn’t easy, smooth and intuitive to use we quickly dump it and move on to the next toy. For native advertising to fully exploit the opportunity it has created it mustn’t confuse its phenomenal momentum with being immune to the normal rules of engagement when dealing with mere humans.
It could be argued that, just as good native content is more challenging for the producer than a simple eye catching ad, so it can be more challenging for the reader to actually get the point. Although the principle behind native marketing is that you are generating sales by building relationships, rather than selling off the page, ultimately you still need the reader to actually do something,
Making the response to a call to action easy to complete, no matter what technology is being used, will probably determine whether you see the enhanced click through rates or whether you’re still languishing in average display territory.
So, don’t assume your native train of thought will fit the platform; make sure it does.