“Heroic” stories- how important are they for the success of marketing your business?

How to connect with your audience and tell better stories

storytelling, coffee cup and pen

We spoke to someone lately who said they found it hard to work with a client because they did not want to “open up”. They didn’t want to tell the story of their business without disclosing personal or vulnerable details of their life.

We found it interesting that a trained professional and expert in their field considered this hesitancy to disclose more intimate details as a sticking point in allowing them to find ways of connecting their client to their target audience.

You are not keen on including “heroic” stories as part of a marketing strategy?

Here are a few alternatives:

  • Why not focus on how you’ve transformed other people’s lives or helping them with their story? It could be more effective to tell someone else’s story and explain how you contributed to their development.
  • Create an “About” page that tells people who you are and what you specialise in.
  • Aside from content, its distribution is just as important. It’s about getting what you write in front of the right eyeballs. It needs to be well aimed and seen by your target audience to build up trust for your product or service. Native and contextual advertising goes one step further to bring in new leads that have not crossed paths with your products and services yet but that have been viewing those adjacent to them. When it comes to distribution, native and contextual advertising can reach users at any stage of the funnel content distribution.

Native and contextual advertising

This type of advertising can be a continuation of your content marketing plan: your best content delivered efficiently by native and contextual in order to grow your brand and expand your reach. Many successful businesses already benefit from combining their content marketing and native advertising efforts.

Babbel

Babbel is a learning app and e-learning platform that runs successful native advertising campaigns reaching potential users worldwide. The ads build brand awareness as well as driving leads with ‘Discover our 15-minute lessons’ CTA at the end of the article.

If you would like to talk through how we can help you with your storytelling strategy contact us to discuss which strategies could work best for you.

What type of native advertising format is best for you?

What type of native advertising format is best for you?

The variety of native ad units makes it difficult to select the right one but the perfect choice can be crucial for the success of your campaign. When it comes to digital, native advertising is the relatively new kid on the block that everyone wants to make friends with!

Here are some useful tips on how to create your native ad strategy

It is useful to combine native advertising with other types of advertising. Typically, native ads are part of a more comprehensive content marketing strategy.

Here is a short guide to creating a marketing strategy that includes native advertising.

1. List your objectives

What goals do you want to achieve with native advertising? Having a clear set of goals is the quickest route to success.

Set up realistic goals by waiting at least 3 months to gather data and set up realistic objectives.

Some goals to focus on:

  • Boost awareness of your brand
  • Increase traffic to your site
  • Generate more sales leads

Budgeting: once you’ve defined your goals, work out how much you can spend to reach them. Create an appropriate budget for your native ads campaign.

Make sure your budget allows for some flexibility to react to online feedback and optimisation as the native ads campaign progresses.

2. Reach your audience

To produce the right content at the right time, ask yourself:

  • Who is my ideal user?
  • Do I know the who, what, where, when and how of my audience?
  • What are my audience’s preferences, interests, demographic characteristics and geographic composition?

3. How do you want to reach your target audience?

This is an essential question to consider when creating a native ad strategy.
Though there is no need to produce the content for the duration of the campaign in advance do set up the timelines and budgets for each native ad campaign and think about which platforms and formats to use for your native ads and each campaign’s theme and goal.

Some great channels where you can publish your content:

  • Youtube for videos and vlogs
  • Medium for blogs
  • Pinterest for pinning blog posts with images
  • iTunes for podcasts
  • Quora for Q&A type of exposure

4. Work on your content ideas

Let’s get into the nitty gritty of your native ad strategy.

It’s time to get creative and start developing ideas for the content each native ad campaign will run.

Find inspiration in what your native ad campaign’s goal is and your knowledge about your target audience. Keep in mind the intended publisher’s guidelines when creating the specific ads and other content pieces.

Does your content fit the following?

  • Platform
  • Format
  • Goals
  • Target audience

Remember: your native advertising content will seamlessly blend in with the rest of the content on an app, website, or publisher.

5. Measure Your Campaign’s Performance

It is useful to know how your native ads are performing in its early stages. Measure the performance during the campaign and optimize it regularly to get the best results.

Data is your most valuable asset.

Gather as much relevant data as you can to monitor and decide what your next steps should be. Don’t be afraid to try out different subject lines, images or videos, and CTAs, then collect performance data to understand what works best.

Choosing the best native ad unit for you

So, which is the best native ad unit for you? It depends! Here are some:

Social

In-feed social media marketing is the most famous form of native advertising. Here sponsored posts target their users in their news feeds or suggested via trending topics.

In-feed

Native advertising on social media is considered “in-feed”, but not all in-feed native advertising takes place on social platforms. Real time bidding allows digital marketers to use targeting techniques and offer relevant ads to people across a list of pre-approved websites. While the ad takes on the look and feel of an article, it is possible to differentiate it from organic content by an advertising label.

Recommended Content

While in-feed ads are generally placed within a publisher’s content feed, recommended content is nearly always located at the bottom of a given publisher site. Just like an in-feed ad, users can click on it and are taken out of the publisher site to the blog or landing page of the brand responsible for the ad.

Test, test, test

…to make sure your ads are targeted at your ideal client types and get in touch for more tips and guidance when it comes to your native ad campaigns.

Why is Native Advertising Controversial?

Why is Native Advertising Controversial?

If the dream is to ‘sell’ to people without them feeling sold to then how often does native advertising leave users feeling like they’ve been had?

The dream is to introduce target audiences to valuable content which genuinely engages them while raising awareness for the products and services promoted.

This is precisely what native advertising aims for

So, what’s the issue? There has been a lot of criticism lately around the fact that users read what they think is simple information, an article or blog post perhaps, only to discover it is, in fact, an advert. When done right, however, native advertising can be extremely satisfying for all parties involved.
Let’s dig a bit deeper and find out how…

What is Native Advertising?

Native Advertising is one of those things that you know it when you see it but can be a little challenging to define.
Some experts will explain native advertising as a form of communication so interconnected to its context that readers cannot tell it is advertising.

The Native Advertising Institute, on the other hand, states that “native advertising needs to be valuable content of a non-interruptive nature – which is typically not the case with in-stream advertising.”
The definition they provide is: “paid advertising where the ad matches the form, feel and function of the content of the media on which it appears.”

How Does Native Advertising Work?

The average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages every day! This incredibly high figure would also explain the reason behind users tuning out of ads on a regular basis. People scroll past banner ads because they become a blur… just something that comes between them and the content they are trying to consume.

Experiencing ads in a relevant context

Native advertising, however, forms part of the experience and it involves users in a more engaging way- making the interaction more meaningful.

Native stats

Native Ads influence purchase decisions more subconsciously since the advertising message is woven into the content in a relevant context.

Specifically, native ads generally have:

  • 2x more engagement than banner ads
  • 18% higher purchase intent compared to banner ads
  • 53% more chances of being viewed compared to than banner ads

Is Native Advertising Ethical?

If the content is clearly labelled as an advertisement, then the answer is ‘yes’.
Even though the ad may look like a regular article or video, if a native ad is properly presented as an ad with text that states “advertisement” or something along those lines, you’ll know that it has been placed in that context intentionally.

It’s easy to get started. We can help you achieve ads that are beautiful in a brand safe environment in less than 24 hours.
Don’t fall behind on the latest native & contextual news- check out our blog

How Can Native Advertising Benefit Both Advertisers and Publishers?

Calling All Publishers! Advertising and publishing can have a mutually beneficial relationship in an ideal environment.

Sign: How Can Native Advertising Benefit Both Advertisers and Publishers?

While advertising can provide a publisher with a consistent revenue source, the publisher’s audience can provide high-quality traffic that allows the advertising message to reach a larger audience.

This is valid if you have a high-quality ad experience. However, in-your-face advertisement that is thrust in the face of the audience can also detract from a publisher’s content experience. People prefer to access the content they enjoy without the ad experience interfering with their content experience, if ad blocker use patterns are any indication.

Native advertising is the ideal option for advertisers who want to incorporate the maximum amount of marketing messages into a content experience without negatively impacting it, benefiting both advertisers and publishers

1-Native blends with the publisher experience

A successful native ad is visually appealing enough to stand out in the stream of content that the viewer is scrolling through, but it is also cleverly crafted to pique the consumer’s interest in the advertiser’s message without being obtrusive.

2- Native ads generate much higher click-through rates than other formats

For publishers, it means that their users can enjoy the material without their commercial interests interfering.

3- Smarter way to market content

A native ad with content that is highly relevant to the publisher’s piece of content will actually increase the likelihood of the viewer clicking on the ad, improving the publisher’s ad revenue opportunities.

4- Greater credibility

Native ads are always labelled clearly as paid or sponsored content, so that audiences understand their exact nature, giving them the choice to interact with the ad. A successful native advertising platform, on the other hand, runs algorithms that only display ads in context to what the user is viewing. This protects the publisher’s reputation, while enabling the advertisers to profit from native ad results: such as higher CTR, greater purchase intent, greater brand recall.

5- Greater control over content

A native ad’s primary characteristic is that it must blend in with its host environment. This means that in order to monetize, publishers do not have to compromise their values. Although this can encourage marketers to use their imaginations to capture user interest, it also leads to stronger storylines and storytelling, which leads to more traction with potential customers.

Native Advertising satisfies the ambitions and needs of both publishers and advertisers without jeopardizing any party’s standards. This not only maintains a balance between their business interests, but also provides an uninterrupted content experience for the end user.

In other words, it’s a win-win situation for digital marketers.

The Evolution of Native Advertising

The term “Native advertising,” an extremely popular term now, is actually fairly recent. It was first coined by Fred Wilson at the Online Media, Marketing, and Advertising Conference in 2011.

Native advertising is used to create content in order to build connections with their potential customers. The fact that the term itself is recent may lead people to assume that native advertising is a modern-day creation. In reality, the history of native advertising dates back to as early as the end of the 1800s, when John Deere published his agricultural journal, “The Furrow”, to promote his products to farmers.

How it all started

In the mid-18th and early 19th century newspaper ads were a one-column piece with very few images. Magazine advertisements were mostly reserved for the back pages of magazines.

Only a handful of companies utilized branded advertising to promote their products until a change occurred in the late-19th century. This change took place when companies began to manufacture standardized products such as soap, canned products, and cigarettes, with the objective of attracting buyers through an advertising campaign that spanned the entire nation.

New advertising styles were born at this time, including native advertising. As mentioned John Deere’s “The Furrow” was the first example with articles on agriculture and farming tips targeted at 17 different regions, the magazine’s, importantly, also included adverts that promoted his agricultural products.

The 20th century

The 20th century, saw native advertising taking on different formats. In the 1920s and 1930s, the rise of radio and TV industry in the 1920s and 1930s contributed strongly to the growth of native advertising.

On radio, companies often provided funding to radio programs to sustain their advertisement spots. “The Eveready Hour” was America’s first sponsored radio program on WEAF Radio in New York. It was first aired in 1923, and was sponsored by the National Carbon Company to promote the company’s Eveready Batteries.

The mass production of televisions meant that more businesses began to advertise their goods to specific audiences. America’s multinational consumer goods company P&G was among the first sponsors of branded TV drama series, hence came the term, “soap operas.”

The 21st century

The Internet, in the 21st century has provided the ideal environment for native advertising. Modern-day native advertising is no longer limited to radio or TV. Search engine companies encourage businesses to promote their services through search ads that connect with target customers.

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also users of native advertising, meeting advertisers’ needs by displaying sponsored posts and tweets throughout their feeds. Starting 2011, Facebook started featuring “Sponsored Stories” in users’ News Feed, streamlining its advertisements into a combined unit with social context.

Similar to Facebook, Twitter interacts with businesses through its “Promoted Tweets” purchased by advertisers seeking to attract a particular audience group’s attention. This year has seen a rise, however, of non-social native advertising. The native growth rate in articles and publications is three times higher than native advertising in social media.

Why Native?

Native ads are visually similar to the publication: they use the same fonts, layouts, and graphic design as the environment that surrounds them. Brands are using it to promote their products in every type of medium, including print, online, video, and social media and they function just like natural content.

What are the advantages of Native Advertising?

In contrast to other, more traditional and invasive advertising formats, like banners or pop-ups which interrupt the internet user’s navigation, native advertising has the ability to attract much more attention from the readers.

This is mainly due to the fact that native advertising uses the format and style of the digital content to promote a certain content or product.
For full details of how native & contextual advertising can benefit your brand head over to www.vertismedia.co.uk

Strengthening your Brand in a Time of Crisis

Is it time to think about what type of content is likely gain consumer trust?


One of the many consequences of the Pandemic in consumer spending has been the increased awareness customers have on how best to spend their money. People everywhere are becoming more switched on when it comes to how best to spend their money.

Let’s be honest, it’s just not the best time for people to splash out or try new things. They will for sure go for brands they trust and that provide the continuity that the outside world cannot right now.

This makes brand values and how money is spent more relevant than ever and that must be the focus for marketers that want to engender trust and survive in a new market.

Why is it important to know what your ideal customer looks like?

The lockdown has meant spending more time in front of computers with increased online activities which includes, of course, online purchases. Of course online shopping was already a thing but from being a mix of both face to face and online, stats show that 90% of consumers admit to avoiding physical shops as much as possible and this change has consequently meant how consumers interact with brands has also changed.

Engagement with the increased digital communication on behalf on brands has increased notably but understanding what your ideal customer looks like and needs is important, now more than ever.

How can you create interesting content that inspires loyalty?

So, what helps build this picture of your brand’s ideal consumer? How can you give your customer, the customer who will invest and remain loyal to your brand, a face?

In this increased pandemic digitalized scenario, tracking what customers are really interested in has become possible through a type of advertising that sits within relevant content accessed by those customers. In addition to being relevant it is also content that, because it seeks not to disrupt the flow of the general context, tends to engage on an emotional level with your shopper creating engagement and a longer lasting impression.

In short, this is content aligned with that customer’s personality engendering success as a consequence. Both liked and trusted, your brand is now situated in prime position to achieve the best results. How? Through engaging content.

This Reuter’s survey states that 75% of consumers admit that if the content is interesting to them, it is guaranteed they will somehow interact with it.

Taking Ikea as an example, with whom we work with all year round on the Italian market, you can see how their brand message adapted to these turbulent times through native advertising.

Following changes in their communication, ecommerce went up by 60%. Why was that? Is it just because people are on their laptops, tablets and smart phones more? Perhaps. But crucially, native advertising makes sure the right eyeballs are seeing the right content.

Think of the office worker who has been asked to work from home: they’ll most likely do some research on how to improve their home office – or perhaps how to assemble one from scratch. They search for an article detailing this… and there is Ikea. Offering solutions to a problem the person is researching, within the very article that the person is reading. Not a generic banner ad at the top of an irrelevant website, but targeted to the very people who need to see it at the very time they are searching for it. The right place at the right time.

Speed was of the essence for these campaigns at the start of lockdown and the great thing is here that you can repurpose content you already have, and can you imagine…Ikea has tons of it…Ikea’s messaging resonated with people because it still reflected its values: adapting to what your situation is and making the best of it, promoting a type of space that can allow a sense of togetherness even through difficult times.

Do you think your brand is worth it try a type of advertising which can get you the results that will carry you through these difficult times? I’d love to hear from you on how you plan to boost your brand for 2021!

Display ads versus native ads

It can sometimes be difficult to understand the digital marketing jargon so, if you are confused, read on…

Display ads versus native ads

Confusing fact *1: One of the first misconceptions surrounding display advertising is that it is all considered display. Well, it’s not.

Confusing fact *2: Native advertising can sometimes be content marketing and sometimes display ads.

So, what is a display ad?

Display ads are normally located in “boxes” along the top of web pages…Like a traditional banner advert or video. They appear on parts on the site that are committed to paid advertising and aimed at creating a rapid conversion.

These traditional display ads are very different from native ads. These are created to blend in with their surroundings, they are a continuation of the environment that they are placed in, which means: less disruption.

Display ads are very straight forward to track and measure and are widely used for this reason. This is also why they are widely ignored.

Native ads, on the other hand, fit into what the consumer is already experiencing, adding to a step by step progression in terms of user journey that makes sense. I think you would agree with Vertismedia on this one: there is no point displaying an add about cars to a consumer who is looking up a gluten free recipe!

What is the brutal truth about advertising?

Native knows what I need before I do…

The brutal truth about advertising

It is an important time for advertising: never has it been accessible to so many people.
There has never been less control over what is distributed generally. To think back at a time when a publisher decided whether to accept all of someone’s budget based on whether their readers were actually engaging with their print ad is ridiculous… But that is exactly how things work today digitally. With the enforcement of GDPR legislation, advertisers have even less control.

A lot of the consumers are now more vocal than ever about not wanting to be exposed to marketing. Ads are being ignored. The first banner ad came out 25 years ago which in internet years is around 100 years for every human year (!). Perhaps what was at one time disinterest has quickly turned into displeasure and to be honest most advertising is just making it worse!

Native advertising presents the consumer with an alternative that is creative, non intrusive and that actually makes sense to their journeys as customers.

I heard someone say the other day, ”Sometimes, I don’t even know what it is I need but I log on to my instagram account or read an article and the “right” ads come up with things that I wanted to get anyway!”.

This is because native ads respect peoples’ boundaries and look nice… This may seem like a strange thing to say but it is also equally as important for the ads not to give you a sore eye!

The Future of Advertising

Advertising is becoming increasingly personalised but also automated, immersive and experiential… All this is, of course, trackable as incredible technology is helping advertisers go where advertisers have never been before.

The Future of Advertising

1. For the first time ever, 2019 sees digital accounting for about half of the global ad market (eMarketer).

2. The growing fanbase for Voice. According to Juniper Research, 2.5 billion voice assistants were in use at the end of 2018, and that number is expected to more than triple by 2023 (Source: Adobe Digital Insights).

3. Interesting fact: 39% of people who heard a voice ad later went on to purchase the product advertised (Adobe Digital Insights).

4. The future is programmatic: by 2021, 88%, or $81 billion, of all U.S. digital display ad dollars will transact programmatically (eMarketer).

5. 50% of Generation Z and 42% of Millennials identified social media as the most relevant advertising channel (Adobe Digital Insights).

Want to succeed in Native Advertising? Ask yourself these 5 questions

strategies for native advertising

1) Are you aligned with the native user’s mindset?

Users of native advertising are a little bit different: when they click they are after new content or exploring a website because they’re ready to discover something new. That’s why, successful content in native advertising often explores new concepts, entertains, or is informative.

2) Are you using enough pictures and videos?

These are the only type of content that look like they have a future in native.
Consumers are becoming increasingly visual and native ads have the ability to cater to that perfectly.

3) Are you segmenting your audience?

This allows the ads to go to the right place and at the right time! It qualifies consumers according to what they are actually interested in. Know your audience and optimise the results that data gives you. That way when you narrow down the focus you are pinpointing the right segments.

4) Have you aligned your headline and keywords…

…To the content in the ad? In this way you are sure fit in seamlessly with the context you are placed in. Like everything advertising- and content-related, performance will depend on your content and your audience.

5) How are you targeting?

Geo-location is the way forward. Local is key when it comes to certain types of business where geographical relevance is everything when it comes to the success of an advert.