BY TAHMID SADMAN
As the world becomes ever more connected marketers are constantly on the lookout for emerging trends, changes in consumer behavior and more effective avenues supplanting old ones to relay their messages.
One such avenue is native marketing, which along with the traditional customer loyalty programs, has paved the way for crafting a stronger relationship with the target audience.
Native advertising is advertising where paid content is seamlessly mixed with the user’s experience in terms of context and style. Promotions are similar to the editorial layout of the platform thus being nonintrusive and potentially acting as a catalyst to connect with the target customer. It has been heralded as a dawn of the new era in online advertising which has previously been plagued by problems such as banner blindness and intrusiveness which, in turn, have led to dwindling effectiveness of banner ads. Major publishers such as YouTube, Facebook, TIME, Forbes and Business Insider have thus gone native to monetize their content feed.
There are four main categories of native advertising- branded content, in-stream, activity-triggered and mobile native ads.
As one of the emerging trends in online advertising, it has been catalyzed by changes in consumer behavior; by the fact that traditional ads are fading in their effectiveness to capture their attention; by more competition; by declining print ad revenues and the decreasing effectiveness of display ads.
Native advertising creates a win-win situation for both publishers as well as the brands advertising content- publishers can increase their profits through higher CPM can also attract more traffic. As shown by the graph below, the Forbes’ Brand Voice has been incredibly successful.
Last year, native advertising also enabled the New York Times to achieve a robust 16.5% rise in digital revenue. BuzzFeed, a world leader in content publishing, relies solely on native advertising for its advertising revenues. On the other hand, brand marketers also enjoyed more user engagement rates, more brand lift and higher sales.
But native advertising is not without its problems though. While experts have criticised that native advertising deceives the users and destroys journalism’s glorious footprint, the major problem with this sort of advertising happens to be scalability. Since native ads are highly customized, i.e. they are exclusive to a specific platform, it is difficult to standardize them. Therefore the cost of customizing content for each host site is prohibitive. However, firms such as Bidtellect, Sharethrough and InMobi are working to make them scalable. Sharethrough, for example, distributes branded content across publishing sites.
Research by Sharethrough/IPG Media labs has unveiled some interesting aspects regarding native advertising:
– 32% of people surveyed say they are likely to share a native ad compared to 19% for display ads
– Purchase intent is 53% higher with native advertising
– 82% increase in brand lift due to native advertising
– 81% of marketers are looking to promote brand exposure and target audience engagement through native advertising
Today’s Bangladeshi marketers, for good reasons, are often skeptical about advertisements that run on traditional offline channels particularly because of intrusiveness or lack of visual and enthusiastic cues. This shaky relationship can be amended by veering efforts to create more relevant content. For example, brand marketers can sponsor articles, which talk on popular issues, on popular newspapers. Firms can collaborate with popular news portals like bd24news.com or Dhaka Tribune to create sponsored content that adds value. Firms can also leverage the power of YouTube to create promoted videos or playlists.
Bangladeshi companies, although slowly, are embracing the branded content concept of native ads. NewCred is a popular content marketing firm working with local and global clients in online branding campaigns. There are several other digital marketing firms as well who have recognized the immense potentials of this arena.
The writer is a junior at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on GradInsights, the research service of GradConnect, drop us a message on our facebook page.