Why eCommerce Brands Require Native Ads to Succeed
People hate interruptions. They are used to skipping TV channels when commercials air and closing banners in the web browser before even reading what it says, to continue doing what they were doing – consuming the content they want.
In the age of OTT platforms and apps, the consumers have the power to choose from a wide variety of content. With pop-up blockers installed on browsers and premium subscription for streaming services, the age of traditional advertising is slowly coming to an end. The brands are looking for creative and non-intrusive ways of advertising that people will actually want to see, read and click. And that is where ‘native ads’ come into the picture.
What exactly are native ads?
Think native. Think low profile.
When paid ads appear along with publisher content, matching the appearance and purpose of that native content – it is termed as native advertising. At first glance, native ads cannot be differentiated from native content, unlike banners and video rolls. But do note that native ads cannot be misleading and have to display that it is a ‘paid ad’ or ‘sponsored’ content, big & bold.
Currently, there are three types of native ads, based on the channels of communication:
1) Publisher Websites: These are ads you see on your everyday content sources like news sites.
2) Social Media: These ads come up on your Newsfeed on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds.
3) Search: These are ads that appear before actual results on the search results page.
These channels guarantee your ads are placed at the optimal place and time to target your audience – who are looking for information and entertainment. Thus ensuring the message you want to convey is consumed without interrupting, which is why native ads have higher brand affinity and purchase intent than banner ads.
Native ads help brands to target in a refined and cost-effective manner. You can target by:
1. Platform (mobile or desktop, even specific operating system like iOS)
2. Demographics (location, age & gender)
3. Interests (cooking, technology, politics – to name a few)
This level of targeting possibility helps optimize spends, thus making every dollar spent to serve a purpose in the overall advertising strategy.
How can Native Ads help eCommerce brands?
In the U.S., more than 50% of digital advertising spends of eCommerce brands have been towards native ads in the year 2018. This number is expected to exponentially increase in the coming years. Being one of the big spenders when it comes to advertising in India, eCommerce brands need to shift their focus to native advertising to achieve targets – from content discovery to sales. By doing native ads on publisher websites, search results and social media, eCommerce brands can increase awareness about what they sell, improve brand recall to leverage the customer sentiments and lead traffic to their online marketplace.
Another key benefit of native ads that makes it crucial to all advertising strategy is the ability to target and retarget customers. In a survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, advertisers and marketers provide incisive insights on their preference for native ads over traditional ads due to this targeting ability.
Shopping, whether online or offline, is split into three stages: awareness, consideration, and decisions. Your eCommerce customers could be in any or all of the stages at a given time – meaning your native ads should be ready to convert them, and eventually, lead them to buy.
The intent of the native ads in this stage should be about introducing the brand and products to consumers who are not thinking about either. The native ad should have a clear headline and image to push your target audience into the next stage – consideration.
At this stage, the consumers know your brand and the products your offer, but they are not considering you as a potential seller. This means your native ads need to convey more information to qualify you. Typically, special offers and deals occupy this space to entice the target audience.
By this stage, the consumers already both know your brand and are ready to click buy. That’s precisely what native ads need to be armed to do at this stage – ensure that the buying happens on your platform. Retargeting is crucial to converting consideration to sale.
The best practices for native ads
Here are three best practices when it comes to native ads that will help your eCommerce brand win!
Test: Split a single message into multiple ads with different images and titles. Most native ad platforms come equipped with a dashboard to help you optimize your spends on a real-time basis what works and what doesn’t.
Minimize: Go for clean images and text without over branding. Remember these are native ads – the ads have to match the native content. If the clutter is too much, it becomes apparent and alienates the consumers. Use lifestyle images and uncomplicated language.
Divide: Break up your investments across platforms – and try different permutations and combinations to find out which native ads work best for mobile and desktop. This will maximize your campaign potential by improving your CTR (click-through rate).
Native ads are often low on advertisers’ consideration list because they are not flashy – and that is exactly why they work. In a world where brands are bombarding the consumers with advertisements, banners, and pop-ups, the fatigue of the consumers is real and relevant. With the festive season around the corner, invest smartly in a sound native ad strategy to explore its myriad of benefits for your next eCommerce campaign.