When people think of advertising, it’s often neon flashes of pound signs accompanied by garishly huge letters that spell ‘SALE!’ that spring to mind. Whilst you’d be excused if this was the case, there’s another type of advertising — called ‘native advertising’ — that has an editorial focus. That is, it isn’t generally used to promote products or services, and instead promotes content that could influence a purchase decision.

It’s called ‘native’ because it sits within the natural context of a page. It seeks to blend in with the existing content that’s on there, rather than stick out like a billboard to demand attention. Native ads are used to promote content, and are a great way to get eyeballs on content quickly, and at scale.

Most native advertising is facilitated via ad networks, such as Taboola, Outbrain, and Yahoo Gemini. They work in a way similar to standard ad networks, in that they are a network of publishers who sell space on their sites for native ads; just as one might for any other type of advertising (i.e. display ads, banners, etc.). The sheer volume of people you can get your work in front of is one of the reasons that native has become such an important part of content strategy. Plus, native gives us spades of tasty statistics about our audience, such as time on site, pages viewed, and social shares.

Because native ads are such a new format, not much of it is understood well by the humble digital marketer (even us). A strong strategy then relies on testing: messaging in the ad, imagery, the landing page we sent the traffic to. We then use analytics to understand what actually happens once they click through to our site. We can, however, draw on our understanding of various ad networks (i.e. Outbrain and Taboola include some big publisher names) to make strategic decisions about what should go out, and where. There’s also the opportunity to cookie people who land on a particular page, and then remarket to them through another channel.

The industry might still be learning the ropes about native, but in our experience, it’s a big traffic driver, and works well to drive SEO value as part of a complete content strategy.

Drop us a line and find out how we can make native work for you.