Brand Awareness and Native Ads

Blending, it’s all about blending…

Native ads are designed to imitate or match and blend into the main content of the platform on which it is hosted. It’s there, but kinda disguised and not blatant. While native advertising usually refers to online native ads, offline platforms such as magazines and newspapers also frequently host native ads, as do social media sites, and they even appear within apps and games.

In printed media these are in fact, advertorials and some publications’ rules specify that they be labelled as such. Advertorials is often used interchangeably with ‘native ads’, where the word ‘native’ in this context means that the ad is matched so well that it’s seen as ‘local’ to the content of its host portal.

Think of those articles or editorials that are written in the same style as the general tone and style of the publication — intended to mimic the organic content of its host — that you only realise are ads once you get to the call to action (CTA) part of the article.

Native ads are subtle…

They are intentionally designed and written to blend with the overall look and feel of the publication, transitioning seamlessly between the organic content and the native ad content and often, the reader is unaware that what they are reading is actually sales blurb. Sneaky huh? But effective!

While this type of ad is powerful for building brand awareness and perception and highlighting specific products and services, to be successful, subtlety is key rather than coming over as a hard sell or direct response promotion. The objective of native ads is to be seen less as ‘in your face’ advertising. The tone of the native advert should be almost impossible to distinguish from the accompanying organic content.

The best native ads, regardless of whether online or offline, should appear as if they are part of the platform. In fact, there are times where regular contributors write the ads on behalf of the client/host and match the style and tone exactly as they are so au fait with the client’s style.

A person who is looking on a certain type of host portal will be interested and receptive to reading native ad content if it catches their eye or provides value to them, and they will continue to engage with the platform. The key is to pique their interest and provide value for the reader and not just the brand.

The objective of native ads is to blend with organic content…

Entertainment is a feature of a good native ad campaign, reaching out to prospects where they hang out, socialise, or look for ways to pass the time. This maximises the chance of engagement and keeping them focused on the content’s message or goal.

While native ads are meant to assimilate the organic content of their host, don’t confuse their role as being misleading, as in some countries there are very specific regulations around this, where compliant native ads must be clearly marked out in a prominent position as being an advert. Check with your platform to ensure compliance before placing a native ad.

Hint on how to spot a native ad: If, while you are reading an article you feel that you are being urged to buy something or being called to act, chances are, it’s a thinly disguised native ad.

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