As more and more publishers and advertisers are including native advertising in their current and future plans, we look into what makes a successful native advertising campaign.

The migration to the native format is made up of a reactive driver, perhaps best summarised with the headline ‘display advertising is dead!’; and the pro-active driver that ‘gets’ the fundamental proposition, that the best way to make a new brand friend is to understand, be useful and to entertain them.

So, let’s break each driver down and see what we can get from it, starting with the demise of the display ad. The problem with display ads in online media is that we’ve become far too clever technically. Banner blindness has arisen, where users ignore (consciously or subconsciously) banner like information on a screen.

Successful native advertising takes the view that if it meets you in a golf magazine, then you’re probably interested in golf so it talks about something in or around golf, which you read and enjoy because you’re interested in golf. Now, true native advertising does so in such a way that it is finely matched with the editorial content, as well researched, interesting and relevant.

Labelling the ad as what it is, a marketing communication, is essential; this isn’t about deception. But the label, if the native ads are good, will be a symbol of value. Part of the definition of a good brand will be that they produce brilliant sponsored content.

Compare that with TV ads; Christmas is nearly upon us and already we’re already debating which Christmas advert will be crowned champion. Over the years we have produced so many iconic commercials that are mini works of art in their own right, which make us all feel good about the brand and good about life.

So true native advertising in a nutshell? Clearly branded but with an intriguing headline. Beautifully crafted content, well researched and produced in such a way that it can hold its own. Barely disguised or recycled banner stuff with a passing nod to the publication just won’t cut it; this is made-to-measure, not off-the-peg.

Today’s advertiser is no longer impressed by counting clicks; today’s advertiser wants evidence of engagement, they want readers stuck to the content like the last few pages of a whodunit. Native advertising with its unique opportunity for interaction gives you just that.

TV advertising discovered that people watch TV to be entertained; so entertaining commercials worked. Bold native ads follow the same logic.

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Author Adam Knoyle

More posts by Adam Knoyle

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