Native ads are paid advertisements disguised to look like other editorial content within the publication where they are published. They can also appear as ads within a social media news feed on networks like Twitter, TikTok, or Facebook. Some people also consider the paid advertising that appears at the top of Google search results as native ads.
Sometimes native ads appear as content recommendations at the bottom of an article you may have just read. Native ads generally don’t look like ads, but are rather designed to look like the articles or posts you, and maybe your customers are reading.
Recognizing a native ad
In the past, because a well crafted native ad would look like other content and could be difficult to recognize if you didn’t know what you were looking for, organizations like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) now regulate the use of native ads to protect consumers from misleading advertising.
As a result, native ads are now easily recognizable. The ads will be labeled in one of the following ways:
With a small icon in the upper right corner
Marked “Recommended for you”
Marked as “Sponsored” or "featured" with a sponsorship credit
Marked as a “Suggested Post”
Marked as “Recommended by…”
The icon of the native network will be featured
Native ads are designed to look like part of the native content already published on the site, hence the “native” moniker.
Do native ads work?
Companies large and small are successfully using native ads to talk about their products or services, and close sales. It is a good vehicle for people who are already consuming content. Content publishers have found it to be a good way to monetize content because people interact with it and ultimately become customers.
With the pitfalls of disruptive advertising tactics, native advertising allows advertisers to create dialog with potential customers, enabling them to engage with branded content designed to inform and promote.
4 Tips for effective native ads
When creating naive ads there are some important things to consider to get the most out of this type of advertising. Here are four tips to help you make the most of your native advertising efforts.
Keep it valuable: When creating a native ad, make sure the content offers value to the reader. If you can successfully fill the information need a reader has, they will be more likely to respond to your ad. Useful information will do far better than a hard selling approach in this medium. That’s not to suggest a native ad can’t sell, it can.
Keep things personal: It can be tempting to fall into corporate speak when writing ad copy, but particularly for a native ad, it’s about building a relationship with the reader. Don’t talk like the corporation, speak to your audience as one person to another. Don’t be afraid to use familiar language. Keep things easy to read. Even really smart people appreciate easy-to-read content. The more your audience feels like you are speaking directly to them, the more likely they’ll engage with you.
Use your brand name: In a native ad, don’t be afraid to use the brand name. People build relationships with brands over time, but if you never identify the product or service you’re talking about, they can’t build a relationship with you.
Don’t forget the call to action (CTA): I started my career many years ago infield sales. I had a customer compliment me one time because after our discussion I asked him for an order. He said, “You wouldn’t believe the number of salespeople I talk to every day who never ask me to place an order.” The same is true for advertising. If you forget the CTA, it’s not likely your potential customer will every become a customer.