Content Network

Native advertising is the use of paid advertisements to make your content look more attractive by blending in with their organic surroundings, somewhat veiling the fact that a native advertisement is indeed paid placement. 

You may find native ads in various social media platforms as they are recommended on the feed, videos, images, etc. For example, posting an informative article to Facebook instead of promoting a traditional banner ad makes the article an effortless part of the editorial flow of the page. 

Native ad placements can be found anywhere online, not just on social platforms, as millions of websites sell ad space on their site pages through networks like Outbrain, Basis, and Yahoo Gemini

Why is native advertising important? 

Now that you have a bit of an idea of what native advertising is, you are probably asking yourself where it falls in importance within the advertising ecosphere. Surely most consumers know an ad when they see one, so is the guise of “blending things in” even helpful anymore? 

For the modern consumer, native advertising simply offers users the opportunity to connect in a format that the user chooses themselves. While studies suggest that most people searching online know they are being advertised to almost constantly, many consumers still take kindly to the effort of making content relevant and unobtrusive. By personalizing content as much as possible, and letting your ads be an organic part of a users’ online experience, your brand will have a higher likelihood of building a favorable reputation amongst new potential customers.

Additionally, you can expect to produce a good amount of brand lift through high engagement rates, click through rates (CTR) and pageviews with a well-produced native ad strategy. 

Types of native advertising 

One of the great things about native advertising is that there are several different types, allowing ample opportunity to take the same piece of content and produce multiple variants for promotional distribution. Most native ads are designed to help keep the general viewer engaged in a piece of content they are reading. This is one of the most common types of marketing tactics that can be used by new businesses to expand their products and amplify brand awareness. 

1) Content recommendation 

The first and the most common native ad type is the content recommendation. These are simply ads that appear as recommended articles and blogs. One thing about them is that they appear in the middle or at the end of an article rather than being on top. 

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2) Search and promote the listing 

Another type of native advertisement is the search and promoted listings which essentially appear at the top of an article so that viewers can engage in the ad. Besides appearing on top, they may also appear on the side page of the article so that as viewers scroll down the article or blog, they can watch the ad. This is a great way to attract more viewers to any website. 

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3) Feed advertisements 

The third type of native advertising is the in-feed advertisement which are ads that appear as social media posts as you scroll through social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter. Since so many people use Instagram and other social media daily, these advertising types prove to be extremely useful for improving your overall engagement or top of funnel visibility. 

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Relevancy of native advertisement 

Since native advertising has been around for a bit longer than other digital marketing methods, like video ads or social commerce, it’s easy to be enamored with newer, shinier pennies. But do not underestimate the value that this advertising method can bring to your holistic marketing plan. Native ads continue to be a relevant tactic for many businesses as they build brand trust and authority with users, due to their inconspicuous nature. The success of these ads depend on the quality of their content. If the content is memorable and gripping, it is more likely to engage an audience and bring new people into your customer funnel.

Native advertising best practices

You should be following best practices to get the most out of a native ad strategy. That includes:

  • Plan and budget all of your campaigns. Setting achievable goals by campaign type also helps a lot.
  • Save time and effort with high-quality content.
  • Targeting is important here, so you can make sure to optimize your reach and impact.
  • In order to provide a good user experience, test and optimize creatives so that you always show the best variant for the audience.
  • Data analysis can help you identify the best content for each geographical region to which you are advertising. With content-driven marketing it is particularly important to ensure culture and regional context is considered.

Be a storyteller

Brands are shifting their strategies for more effective native ads; instead of running ineffectual campaigns, they're prioritizing storytelling and putting content in the right context.

This includes tangible assets such as advertising on premium publishers with a clear brand message to tell. Many brands already apply this methodology other channels such as PR and SEO, and the same can absolutely be done with a well thought out native advertising roadmap. Be in control of you brand's story. 

Meet with a MarinOne marketer today on how we can tie all of your advertising campaigns together in one place…including your native advertising.

We’ve recently decided to do an experiment to see whether an On-Demand webinar would attract more viewers than the typical approach of picking a date and broadcasting the webinar live.

Marin regularly hosts “live webinars” and we typically get thousands of participants, but only about half the viewers attend the live session, the rest view the webinar when we send out the recording. In a Netflix world, our hypothesis was that people would prefer to have the content right away and by offering immediate access to the webinar, we would get better results. So we decided to do a test.

During this tough time for everyone, we wanted to share our results as they might be helpful for you to engage with your audience by hosting webinars while most of us are working remotely and self-isolating. Now is probably the best time to create more digital content to reach out to your customers.

Evaluating Engagement Metrics

First and foremost with a test, you want to define how you measure success. We have two goals for webinars: 1) Generate new leads who might be interested in our digital marketing platform 2) Build our position as thought leaders in the market by presenting amazing content that delivers actionable suggestions for digital marketings.

With these two goals, the key metrics are registrants and attendees. Moving forwards, two more important metrics are “Audience Retention” and “Audience Engagement”. In order to really measure the success of our webinar, we firstly view how many people started watching our content and how many dropped off during the session. Finally, did the audience engage with us during the Q&A session?

The Test

The test methodology was straight forward, we split our audience randomly into two groups, half received a series of emails inviting the users to a live webinar approximately three weeks from the first email. The second group received the same emails, but the call to action was to view the webinar on demand at their convenience.







Which One Wins?

We pulled out the results and here is what we’ve got:







So more registrations, more attendees and deeper engagement with the content for the live approach. We were shocked, clearly our hypothesis was wrong and people are more attracted to a live event. While the test was done in a pre COVID-19 world, we would expect the results to hold up as people are looking for opportunities for social interaction to break up their solitary days at home.

Ready to learn more?

Whilst we are all at home in isolation, now is the perfect time to get free training on Digital Advertising content. Marin has a list of webinars with the best practices in Digital Advertising, starting from Outsmart Smart Bidding to Amazon Advertising to Developing a Successful Marketing Strategy with Instagram Stories. Get Started Now!

This is a guest post from Sophia Fen, Mobile Account Manager at 3Q Digital.

As a digital advertiser, you most likely spend the majority of your digital media dollars on Google and Facebook. It makes sense—eMarketer forecasts that together, the two tech giants will make up more than 46% of global digital ad spend this year.

However, once those platforms are set up and optimized, where do you go from there? What else should you test?

In the mobile app world, a next step and expansion opportunity is running on mobile ad networks and DSPs. These offer scale, additional inventory, and targeting capabilities to help take your campaigns to the next level.

What is a Mobile Ad Network?


A mobile ad network is a collection of multiple ad inventory sources (includes both in-app and mobile web inventory) that allows advertisers and agencies to reach broad audiences relatively easily through targeted buys.

What Is a DSP?


A DSP is a demand-side platform. This is where you can run real-time bidding (RTB) campaigns, accessing a large amount of inventory by plugging into multiple ad exchanges and ad networks.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Working with Mobile Ad Networks?


Pros:

  • Large amounts of inventory
  • Wide variety of inventory types—inventory grows and changes daily
  • Usually an untapped growth channel for advertisers
  • Many ad networks will let you buy on a guaranteed cost per install (CPI) or cost per action (CPA)
  • Most ad networks have sophisticated machine learning algorithms that learn your campaign and objectives over time. They also maintain databases with millions of unique device profiles.


Cons:

  • Often there is less transparency
  • Traffic volume can be sporadic, and pacing has to be adjusted frequently
  • There is a lot of fraud and distrust in the space. However, more advanced fraud protection tools and guaranteed pricing models are helping to mitigate that.


What Types of Ad Units Can You Run on Ad Networks?


Most ad networks run banners, interstitials, video, native, and offer walls. [Offer walls should be reserved for incentivized burst campaigns only, as the user is likely not highly qualified since they’re downloading the app to receive something in return (coins or points for a game, for example).]

How Is Targeting Done on Ad Networks?


Targeting capabilities vary between ad networks, but most have some type of algorithm that uses a variety of data points to determine valuable users and audiences. These data points can include types of apps installed on the user’s phone, how the user engages with their apps, demographic and behavioral information, and location data.

Once a campaign has a substantial amount of valuable converters, you can then generate lookalikes for targeting for scale. You can also target by category (e.g., serve ads for a financial advertiser in other finance apps) or whitelist based on inventory sources that have performed well for other advertisers in similar categories.

If you decide to test into the ad network space, make sure you’re asking the right questions to ensure you’re set up for success. The below checklist is a good starting point.

Checklist: Discuss/Ask about these items when evaluating an ad network:

  • Main differentiators
  • Pricing models and minimums: Do they offer a fixed CPI model? Do you need a certain amount of spend to run a campaign?
  • Out clause terms: Usually these are 48 hours
  • Targeting and re-engagement capabilities
  • Operating system scale: Do they skew more heavily toward Android or iOS?
  • Geo-targeting capabilities: Can they target down to the zip code level?
  • Level of transparency: Will they share site/app level data and provide dashboard access?
  • Customer Support: Will you have a dedicated account manager?
  • Inventory overlap: Are they buying from other networks?
  • Types of ad unit: Do they run video, interstitial, banner, native etc.?
  • Type of inventory: Do they skew more toward in-app or mobile web?
  • Fraud: What are they doing proactively to combat fraud? What’s being done if fraudulent activity is detected? If you’re interested in learning more about mobile ad fraud in general and best practices for preventing it, take a look at this useful target="_blank">blog post.


This morning, Google announced a new feature that will be rolling out across display ads over the next few weeks. In the upper right corner of select ads, a small [X] will now appear allowing users to click and “mute” ads from that campaign from being shown to them again. Google believes that this will be a win-win-win within the display ecosystem: users control their ad experience, advertisers don’t pay to show irrelevant ads and publishers display better performing ads.

Google Display Ad Mute Feature

















Based on what Google is telling us, one irrelevant ad could cost online marketers from showing ads in an entire campaign ever again to that particular user. It seems extreme to prevent all ads within the campaign from showing again, rather than just the group containing the muted ad. However, the same ad could be shown again by a different ad company, or the marketer could run a separate campaign targeting specific content. Though muting isn’t a 100% guarantee that users won’t see that ad again, one thing is for certain, online marketers will need to ensure, now more than ever, that their display campaigns are focused and highly relevant. Hopefully, user engagement with this new feature and changes in ad performance will dictate future updates, if any.

For best practices on managing and optimizing contextually keyword targeted display campaigns, read part 1 and part 2 of our You, Google and the Display Network series.

Reaching over 640 million internet users per month through Google’s Display Network, formally known as Google’s Content Network, is easy. Reaching those internet users that are relevant is hard, and often a seemingly daunting task. Understanding how Google manages and operates their Display Network is critical in ensuring healthy and optimized content campaigns. Google allows advertisers to target audiences through keywords, placements, categories, remarketing and topics. Our discussion today focuses on keyword targeting.

For direct response and branding content campaigns, effective campaign build-out and execution of best practices can mean the difference between millions of wasted impressions and thousands of qualified clicks.

When constructing or expanding Google content campaigns, keep these thoughts in mind:

  1. Nature of the Beast
  2. Drawing Up a Game Plan
  3. Execution is Key
  4. The Network Never Sleeps



Nature of the Beast


Before considering displaying an advertiser’s creative on the Display Network, Google first scans the publisher’s content page for repeated and emphasized keywords. Once a theme(s) or concept(s) has been determined, Google then matches the content to an ad creative based on an advertiser’s ad group theme (also known as the moment of relevance). Keep in mind that the theme(s) and concept(s) of a particular content page are continuously analyzed and reclassified.

Drawing Up a Game Plan


Think of content ad groups as you would search keywords. Adding, pausing and deleting keywords within an ad group have an impact, and change how Google assesses that ad group’s theme. Remain highly relevant by considering the overall theme of the keywords contained within each content ad group. Leave no room for Google to incorrectly assess the theme of an ad group and its intended audience.

Execution is Key


Generally speaking, content ad groups are most effective when utilizing 5 to 30 keywords (Google, 2011). Additionally, duplicating keywords across ad groups is highly effective as long as the keywords aid in establishing a common theme. Once a tight set of keywords has been generated, construct ad creative that matches the theme of the keywords and ad group. Including call-to-actions and unique selling points make for effective ad creative. Keep in mind that ad groups are keywords within the Display Network, so never incorporate dynamic keyword insertion within ad creative and always use ad group level URLs.

The Network Never Sleeps


Like search, content campaigns and ad groups require constant upkeep and optimization. In addition to refining ad group themes via keyword expansion, there are key strategies that should be deployed in every content campaign. Like establishing an ad group theme using tightly grouped keywords, negative keywords are just as important in restricting ads from displaying for irrelevant or less relevant publisher content. Consider the difference in advertising desktop computer games and console video games. In this case, a negative keyword list should be generated to block content that discusses new video game releases for the Playstation 3. Similarly, implement site exclusions to exclude your ad creative from showing on poorly performing placements. Conversely, utilize placement targeting to target and capitalize on higher converting placements. Most leading search management platforms capture site referrals and allow you to manage your site placements and exclusions. Creative testing is critical in determining what your customers are looking for. Continuously testing ad creative language (emotional, functional, promotional, etc) and formatting (text, image, video and different sizes) provides insight into what types of ads perform best.

In the ever changing landscape of Google’s Display Network, it’s critical to buy into the concepts of tightening ad group themes, increasing ad creative relevancy and continuously optimizing content campaigns. Start with these simple best practices and begin converting irrelevant impressions into qualified clicks.

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