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With customers and online users opting for ad-blocking whenever they can, native advertising takes on an even more important role in 2017. When your ad looks like it belongs with the content that the potential customer has chosen to view, you end up with significantly higher engagement, which translates to clickthroughs and sales.
Here’s four ways to use native advertising in 2017.
Feature User-generated Content
Today’s customers respond to what they perceive as authenticity, showering their loyalty on brands that they consider authentic. When they see other consumers putting their trust in a brand, it gives customers permission to trust that brand as well. You can generate this kind of brand loyalty and trust by incorporating user-generated content in your native advertising. Consider it a type of word-of-mouth marketing that allows one neighbor to talk up your brand to another neighbor across an entire continent.
Your social media platforms are a great place to start when pulling user-generated content, but don’t be satisfied with just Facebook posts or tweets. Take proactive steps to stimulate the creation of user-generated content by hosting contests or polls. Jason Keith, VP/group director, strategy & analysis at Digitas, suggests attitudinal surveys both to generate content and to see how that content is landing with your potential customers. Focus on measures of engagement and interaction rather than simply counting clickthrough rates to see how customers are responding.
Keep It Short
Whether you’re promoting content via a widget or a tweet, you want to keep native advertising short. Even shorter than you think you need. Think of the length of time it takes to check something out on Snapchat, and use that as a measuring stick. Use video and other visuals to grab the user’s attention, and, again, keep your offerings short. Many users click on a video only to see how long it is, clicking away if it hits even the minute mark.
Keeping your native advertising bite-sized doesn’t mean you can’t tell a story, however. Think through the content you want to communicate, then engage potential customers by doling it out in small snack form on your chosen platforms.
Make Your Native Advertising Mobile-Friendly
As Vladimir Bashkin, Business Development Director of Native Ad Network Adnow, points out, it’s increasingly important to make sure all your content, including your native advertising, is mobile-friendly, with mobile traffic expected to grow by almost 800% in the next year. Native advertising for some platforms, of course, such as Twitter or Snapchat, is likely to be designed directly for mobile use, but keep this need in mind as you plan your native campaigns. If your customer can’t read your content on a small iPhone screen, they’re unlikely to click on it and get the full message you’re trying to send.
Tailor Your Content to Match Your Channels
It may seem obvious to suggest using multiple channels to deliver your native advertising, but the decision to do this actually complicates your visioning and design tasks. The whole idea of native advertising is that it fits seamlessly with the in-stream content of the site you’re placing your content on. That means you have to design your native ads uniquely for each platform you use.
Many publisher platforms will work with you to help you design content to match their editorial look and feel. The approach you take should differ depending on whether your ad will be fully integrated or a clickthrough that takes the user away from the original site.
Tailoring your content is also vital when you’re approaching the different social media platforms. All the major social media outlets, from Facebook to Pinterest to LinkedIn, let you insert native content, often in different ways. Do some market research work to understand which social media platforms your prospective customers are using. It doesn’t make sense, for instance, to tailor content for Pinterest if your customers aren’t there. Most social media platforms can provide you with ample data to help you make the right choices with regards to targeting specific consumers.
As the world of native advertising continues to grow and become refined, you have the opportunity to be part of this innovative world to expand your own brand. Focus on creating and delivering an authentic message by the right channels, and look for a new and exciting response on the part of your potential customers.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.