The Future Of Marketing: Native Advertising To Reach 1 Billion People?
EXPLODE YOUR CONTENT beyond Facebook & Google. Tell your story across THE Open WEB WHILE YOU educate, ENTERTAIN, inform and sell.
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This is an introduction to native advertising and how native advertising platforms like Taboola & Outbrain can build massive visibility and omni-presence as you tell your story and grow your bottom line from new brand positions, leads, conversions and sales. (Note: This article addresses native marketing for established businesses, NOT affiliates or arbitrage schemes.)
Us Native Digital Display Ad Spending (Click To Expand)
Ad Spending In The Digital Advertising Market (Click To Expand)
What Is Native Advertising?
Let’s start with the basics of advertising and digital advertising first:
Advertising is all about creating messages that resonate with a targeted audience, at the right time, in the right media. User engagement from ads can trigger somebody to take action right away (direct response), or lift a brand such that when consumers or businesses need the product or service, it will be top of mind (branding). In the end, all advertising is about making an ROI from investments, as fast as possible, consistently and predictably.
Digital Advertising – Market Definition
Digital Advertising uses the internet to deliver marketing messages via various formats to internet users. This includes banners (e.g. Skyscrapers, Overlays, Rich media formats), video pre-rolls or mid-rolls, search engine advertising as well as online classifieds and social media advertising. Furthermore the digital advertising market is segmented into desktop and mobile revenues depending on the delivery method such as desktop computers or mobile devices (smartphones and tablet PCs).
Digital Advertising Revenues
- Revenue in the Digital Advertising market amounts to US$ 311,398m in 2019.
- The largest segment is Search Advertising with a market volume of US$ 104,052m in 2019.
- The retail industry accounts for the largest revenue share, that is 13.1% of Display Advertising revenues in 2019. (from Statista)
Advertising GoalsSometimes, and especially for big brand names, it can seem like advertising is being wasted (the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl sees NBC drawing in excess of $5 million for a 30-second spot), because there is no call-to-action or irresistible offer to engage with. It is a longer term play with huge ad budgets and well known ad agencies to make it to the finish line. Smaller businesses, however, benefit greatly from focusing on specific next steps and with unique offers to sell their widget as fast as possible. With native advertising, you can do both.(Screenshot from businessinsider.com – sidebar advertising from Taboola native ads):
Native Ads – Defined
Native ads placement is a seamless way for your business to be seen on top destinations online. A native ad on social media looks like a regular social media post. A native ad on a Google search results’ page looks like the other Google search results on that page. This type of advertising fits neatly into the format and context on the surrounding content. Users enjoy the experience more than a disruptive ‘pop-up’ window because it fits into what they are already viewing.
“Native” means indigenous, belonging to an environment. Joe Pulizzi at Content Marketing Institute says, “if you pay for placement of (blank) content in a format similar to the third-party site, it’s native advertising.” Finally, consider the user experience on desktop vs. mobile. The mobile experience of native ads should be different than desktop. Here’s John Oliver at HBO explaining his interesting and controversial view on native advertising via YouTube. (10 million+ views with Ken Auletta)
Here’s an official PDF of Native Advertising Campaigns you can copy, model and learn from.
Your content, whether it’s articles, blogs, videos, software, product descriptions – anything – can be shown in an integrated manner on authority destinations. Native advertising now accounts for more than half of all digital display spending by US marketers (emarketer). Combine the incoming traffic with push technology, retargeting and email capture, and you can create better engagement and bottom line growth, and in a very scalable way.
For example, Taboola reaches 88% of US Internet Users across desktop and mobile devices. Your content could be seen on large traditional media like – NBC, AOL, Bloomberg, Eurosport, MSN, USAToday, CBS New, Business Insider and others. Smaller brands can benefit from generating visibility on new media publishers like Buzzfeed and Huffingtonpost, for example.
Should You Consider Native Digital Advertising?
If you ask Executive Vice President Meredith Levien, a noted proponent of native advertising at The New York Times, it’s likely a resounding “Yes”. However, the first question to ask is not “is native for me”? Instead, let’s go back to school, and Mr. Warlock’s math class. Nothing too complex, mind you. However, it is necessary and rewarding. The question to ask instead is: “…will the math prove positive for me?”
We talked a bit about the importance of audience targeting, that’s step one. However, your budget spend allocation, traffic and metrics tracking is absolutely essential for success. That’s step two.
Fundamental starter questions:
- How much money are you investing (ad spend)?
- How many leads are you planning to get? (timeline)
- How many of those leads convert to customers?
- What is the customer lifetime value of each customer?
- How much does it cost to service those customers?
Each business segment is different in terms of expectations of KPIs (key performance indicators), but all online business must know their path through math. We must drill down further by referencing specific online marketing acronyms and finding their corresponding metric values. These are the most common: CPA/CPL, AOV, ROAS, ROI, CLTV, COGS*.
We also optimize for search engines (SEO) and social marketing. Metrics for this segment are:
- Unique Visitors
- Pages Per Session
- Time On Page
- Page engagement and accessibility
See below for a full list of metrics in use for native advertising, search (SEO), paid ads and social marketing for different segments (courtesy SEJ):
Figuring Out Your Math Is Only Half Of The Native Advertising Game.
Once you have a baseline of numbers that you understand and feel comfortable with, you can move to the next step. The “risk vs. reward” conversation enters early in the discussion as it relates to paid advertising. Unfortunately, many business owners believe that advertising is an expense, not an investment. The mindset needs to shift. And, they want see a return of their money fast, and a 2-5x ROI, at least to start.
Even though the math may look good on (digital) paper, you have an outstanding challenge: “who am I talking to, what are they looking for and where do they hang out online”? That’s step three.
Content / Copy
Research and plan out how to best communicate with your target audience. In marketing parlance, this is your “message to market match” conversation.
Do you know your perfect customer, client or patient?
Start by researching and mapping out their demographics, techno-graphics and psycho-graphics. Use your research to create copy that speaks to their problems, pains, fears, hopes, dreams, desires.
Native Campaign Ad Creatives Startup
(Disclaimer: Budgets and business goals will vary the strategy here). A good starting point is kicking off creatives and copy with testing 10-12 ads, 2-4 landing pages (these can/should be A/B tested). Make sure all your analytics are set up and tracking correctly, and add tools like Hotjar to track engagement via heatmaps.
Do you have a proven funnel (the customer journey mapped via content and landing pages)? Is every step being tracked (analytics), or are you starting from scratch with very little?
The good news is that if you have Facebook Ads or Google Ads (even Google Display) already running and the numbers and funnels are proving profitable, you have a reasonable starting edge.
How To Allocate Initial Budgets For Native Advertising?
Many “rules” have been created to make this conversation simple. The truth is, without knowing much about your math, the funnel results and overall user experience, you’re starting blind.
Here are common themes we hear from startup conversations:
- Start with 5.00/day and scale up from there. Test as you go.
- Take your goal CPA and 10x that amount. That’s your starting budget.
- Plan to spend at least $1,000-$2,000 over 7-15 days, pause low performing campaigns.
- Pick one platform to start, spend $50-$100 a day and begin evaluation after 24 hours.
What’s the best starting budget and approach here? It depends, and a blend of these can work. Each case is different, and the expectation from the advertiser/business owner varies. As stated above, if you have existing data from positive advertising on Google, Facebook, etc – you’ll have an advantage, and baseline numbers to compare against.
How To Get Started With Taboola (And Not Waste Money)
There are several best practices to follow. Here are specifics for Taboola.com.
Creatives: When adding campaign inventory, aim to have at least 5-10 creatives. Drive to the same landing page, but test maybe 3-5 headlines and thumbnails mixed and matched. The Taboola algorithm will drive towards the ads with the best performance, thereby automatically optimizing the traffic.
For ideas on what campaign content to run take a look at trends.taboola.com and the Creative Best Practices and Landing Page Best Practices. Campaign Targeting: Follow certain steps to make sure to use your budget in the right direction, and also ensure that your insights are such that Taboola can optimize the campaigns long-term.Campaign Schedules – allows you to restrict the hours and days for which you are visible, making sure that your budget is used most effectively. Location Targeting – always at least be defined by country. Countries bid differently and so to get the best use of your budget you should target only one country at a time. If you wish to run to multiple, try to keep them in the same time zone(s).Platform Targeting – Like locations, each platform will bid differently. To get the most effective use of your CPCs and budget, it is best to target each one individually. Take a look at the following suggested benchmarks for a US campaign. E-Commerce:Desktop CPC: ~$0.45 – $0.55Tablet CPC: ~$0.25 – $0.35Mobile CPC: ~$0.15 – $0.25Arbitrage:Desktop CPC: ~$0.10 – $0.15Tablet CPC: ~$0.08 – $0.12Mobile CPC: ~$0.04 – $0.08B2B/ Narrow Audience:Desktop CPC: ~$0.85 – $1.00Tablet CPC: ~$0.60 – $0.80Mobile CPC: ~$0.45 – $0.60Audience Targeting – You can target several audiences depending on your goals. Taboola has retargeting and lookalike audiences available, which are great for long term engagement and are especially useful in e-commerce campaigns. Taboola also has 3rd party data segments which allow you to focus your reach by demographic, behavior and more.You should run your first campaigns to no specific audience. The Taboola algorithm will already optimize your campaign initially, and it will provide you data up front on which audiences are engaging with your content. From there you can determine if it is worth further targeting your audience. Bidding Structure – The list of CPCs above give you some good benchmarks, but you will also want to be sure you are using the Smart Bid option. This will automatically adjust your CPCs on a per impression basis. There are buffers in place to prevent overspend, but you should find that conversion activity increases. Moreover, you can override smart bid on a per site basis from the “by site” tab of your campaign summary. SmartBid should always be your default. Taboola Pixel – This is a very important step. You will want to make sure the Taboola Pixel is placed and that your conversions are defined. With this, Taboola can optimize your campaigns by traffic source, audience, and more because the system will be able to follow where conversions or the best activity is coming from.
NATIVE ADVERTISING WORKS WHEN MATH & PSYCHOLOGY WORKS
Marketing psychology is generally an academic area centered on human and consumer behavior and how it effects marketing decisions. So… when you understand that your advertising and math tracks to a CPA < AOV (cost per acqusition is less than average order value), and couple this with presenting messages to a hyper targeted audience that creates attention, interest, desire and action through highly creative media, you have a formula that works.
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”
John Wanamaker (ref.)
Native Advertising – Competitive Spy Tools
Leveraging other people’s data is critical to a fast start into native marketing. Others are already being successful in markets, and you can mirror their results quickly. You can do this by using tools and processes to find out what is already working. Technology today makes it easy to search, filter and sort existing native platform data. You can view the different market creatives, messaging, landing pages and more. You can then begin to “hack” their native ads funnels and structure. Learn from this work, but never copy outright!
Below, find a short list of paid tools that you can start with. If you are looking for a central place to manage accounts from different native platforms, give our friends at Brax.io a try.
- Adbeat.com – A highly professional tool with many details. Free to start.
- Adplexity.com – Can be a great complement to the adbeat tool. Not free to start.
- WhatRunsWhere.com – Brand and affiliate ads review. Not free, but can cancel after 3 days.
- Spyfu.com – Powerful tool with many insights that you can use for research.
- SEMRush.com – A standard in the search marketing industry. Free trial.
In-feed and in-article native ads allows you to immerse your brand within the publisher’s site to reach the right users at the right time and within the right context.
*Marketing Acronyms (more here from HubSpot):CPA/CPL – cost per acquisition/cost per leadAOV – average order value
ROAS – return on ad spend
ROI – return on investment
CLTV – customer lifetime value
COGS – cost of goods sold
CAC – customer acquisition cost
Ramp Up With Taboola, Outbrain or Yahoo Gemini (Oath)
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