Native advertising benefits brands that need to infuse more authenticity into their media. It showcases a business’ thought leadership and relevance to consumers without disrupting their experience on any platform (i.e. social media, Amazon, apps). Through better targeting and personalization technology, native advertising brings brands and people together in a more authentic manner.

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Consider a brand with generic creative content that’s been running across multiple channels. In order to engage more of its target audience with its content, the brand needs to be seen as a thought leader within its space. This is extremely true for B2B brands who have content—blogs, whitepapers, videos—that showcases their knowledge of the industry. However, B2C brands need content that goes beyond showing off their products. And both types of businesses need a means to reach a broader audience with their content. This is where native advertising comes in to play.

What is native advertising content?

Many people associate native advertising content with sponsored articles and they’re not wrong. It is a paid component of content marketing. But we need to broaden our perspective of what native advertising can be and what we can do with it.

Many people associate native advertising content with sponsored articles and they’re not wrong. But we need to broaden our perspective of what native advertising can be and what we can do with it.

Native advertising means in-feed content that provides a benefit to consumers. It can encompass animations, video, or carousels of images—it can be authentic and interactive, engaging people and helping brands be seen as experts in their industries. It’s about being seen as more than a business sponsoring an article.

Instagram is influencing native advertising

The visual platform has become the gold standard for what people expect from native advertising. Content that does well on Instagram has a similar look and feel. And now, consumers are expecting the same look and feel across a broader experience on the web and within apps that aren’t exclusively social networks or news related.

Instagram is a good example of engaging people with content they expect. Now, marketers simply need to expand the authentic, personalized content created for Instagram to the native advertising opportunities available to us.

Expanding the creativity of native advertising

For a piece of content on a website or Instagram feed that you’re trying to share out to a broader audience, you need to reorient your thinking to be successful with native advertising. Ask yourself, does the content lend itself well to the experience of where you’d like to purchase placement? How would your target audience experience this ad content as it appears? What would they expect to experience?

Considering the user experience in the channel you’re purchasing media placement is vitally important when you adapt content from one channel to another. Otherwise, your audience could see you as not “getting them,” and providing them with a disruption to their native channel experience.

What brands—and their media and creative teams—should be doing is thinking about how to produce content that fits a native experience as opposed to how to take content that’s already created and forcing it into the experience. One way to approach content creation holistically is to produce a digital content library for your brand.

Over the last year, the industry has seen a lot of variety in the tools available to media buyers that provide programmatic, native inventory.

Creating a holistic digital media strategy

Brands should be focusing on holistic media strategy, meaning looking at their business objectives and putting together plans and budgets that make sense for them and what they want to accomplish with their marketing dollars.

In order to successfully create a holistic strategy, you need to organize your team to approach it from an agnostic perspective. That means not considering the channels and platforms first, but the business objectives and what opportunities are available across all channels. It’s important to have a good understanding of all the levels and opportunities to place ads in experiences that will produce results for your brand.

It’s also helpful to have your media team work with your social team to help inspire the content creation and cross-channel messaging that’s being created by both teams. Consider what your brand is doing on social and what it’s doing in display and content strategy. You may find inspiration from either team to carry over to the other for better engagement with your audience.

Marketers need to be innovative, too

As web and in-app experiences evolve, marketers need to continue to stay on the same path of innovation with native advertising. Over the last year, the industry has seen a lot of variety in the tools available to media buyers that provide programmatic, native inventory.

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Consider rewarded video experiences for example. They started with Pandora and are now available more broadly. Rewarded video experiences provide that two-way communication between brands and consumers by both getting something and giving something in return. It’s a newer space, but when focused on the in-stream experiences, marketers can enhance their presences with native advertising.

At DEG, our team constantly hears how surprising it is that native ads can do so much and how easy native advertising has become in comparison to typical display ads, and we know. It’s an exciting place to be right now—at the center of technology and creativity. And it’s only going to grow.

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