There are opinions as to whether or not Native should be on a media plan depending on the overall KPIs of the campaign. Some advertisers will utilize Native for awareness-driven campaigns but Native also works wonders when driving traffic to a company’s site or even helping with a bottom-funnel goal like leads. If you’ve run with native already, you know that it outperforms in comparison to banner ads because it blends in so well with content that customers are already consuming. Sometimes all it takes is tweaking three of the key components to your native strategy: headlines, content, and the destination of your content.
Arguably the only reason users click on your article. Be informative but give incentive for someone to actually click! Most native platforms will let you write 5-10+ headlines so you’re giving a good variety of options to catch someone’s eye (some media partners will actually write all headlines and optimize towards the best performers).
If your campaign is more awareness-focused, try asking a question to pique their interest: “Is your company using this service to save X amount of dollars per year?” Or if you’re looking to drive conversions, try a more direct approach that mentions what needs to be done to “learn more.” Remember to not be too sales-y; someone can tell the difference between an article about new iPhone features and how someone “made millions off of new software.” You’re also able to run on a white list so your ad is contextually aligned, which is even more effective at hitting your audience because users assume they’re still reading publication’s articles.
Provide variety with multiple pieces of content. The more content you are promoting, the better chances your target will be interested. If you have an article that mentions “3 reasons to update so-and-so software” and your target already knows why they should, then why would they click your article? Maybe a review by a leader in your field or a stance on why your service is better than the competition will generate enough interest to click your ad.
You can tell if your content is effective by checking out the average time users spend on your article or how your brand impressions are doing for search. It might be worth creating a content calendar to prevent creative fatigue; you can tell when this is occurring by a decreasing CTR or average time on site. Call-to-Actions can be placed on your article as well if your main goal is conversions but it’s very rare that users ever click on these; a better option would be to site retarget users who land on your article page so you’re staying fresh in your target’s mind after reading your article.
Okay, someone has seen your native ad on CNN, is interested, and wants to click, so where do you send them? The common answer is the blog article hosted on your company’s site, but if your campaign is conversion focused, why not try sending them to an informative landing page with a lead form? If your headline is direct and informative enough, users might expect this outcome and will be interested in this final step.
Another option is to host your content somewhere else. Most publishers have options to host content on their site via a custom landing page; some people are more likely to consume your content and consider your offering when it’s being hosted on one of their favorite websites. This is also true with having an influencer promote your content on their social channels or personal blog page; it gives the reader a sense of trust when someone they admire might also support your product. There are even native partners who will create a custom landing page that camouflages itself as publisher content and hosts the content on hundreds of sites, so you won’t have to pick just one publisher (and can cast a wider net!).
There are other components that go into a native strategy, such as images and targeting, but headlines, content, and the destinations can deliver so many different results to hit your company’s goals. Why not test out some additional headlines or drive users to your landing page vs. a blog article?
Worst-case scenario: you’ve learned what doesn’t work 😊
Best-case scenario: better performance and achieved campaign goals 😊
B R A N D O N P A R R Y
Senior Media Account Manager