This is a guest post by Melanie Sovann. Enjoy!
Native advertising has become a very popular way of marketing products and services on the internet, as banner ads and pop-ups are gradually losing popularity and efficiency. There is even a body of research indicating that people are now avoiding banner ads, a behavior coined as “banner blindness.”
More importantly, native ads are projected to experience impressive growth in the years to come, a trend that has been established back in 2016.
To some extent, this is to be expected. Native ads just make more sense, considering that they’re presented to the target audience in a relevant context, compared to pop-ups that take users by surprise and bring no actual contextual value.
As straightforward as it sounds, native ad campaigns demand impeccable writing.
In this article, you’ll find a set of essential writing tips for a winning native ad campaign.
Let’s dive right in.
Native ads, as we said previously, are a much more sophisticated and delicate form of advertisement that attempts to place products within a piece of content, so that it matches the feel and the context.
Native ads can be placed in a variety of contexts, from influencers’ social media feeds to organizations’ blogs, and so forth. However, when compared to banner ads and pop-ups, native ads provide a more seamless experience. Very often, they don’t really pass as ads at all. They don’t have a corny and salesy tone. They blend perfectly with their surroundings and look like honest recommendations.
One of the essential principles of successfully “planting” native ads in a particular context is the lack of disruption. In order to make ads non-disruptive, you need to consider the format of your ad.
1. Count your words
When you’re planning to integrate a native ad into a particular context, it’s essential to take into account what kind of content you’re creating in the first place. This will define the voice, tone, style of writing, and the way your ad should be integrated into the context. Here are a few standard formats for native ad placement:
- Content / product / service recommendations — these ads aren’t exactly as organic as the ones below, but they introduce new behaviors. Users typically don’t always engage with them as often.
- Search and promoted listings — while these ads are placed out of context, they remain non-disruptive, because they replicate the browsing experience, given that their design is identical to a standard post. These can be often seen on sites like Quora, where ads look almost the same as questions from the community;
- In-ad — typically, these will be links to other websites that are still relevant to the context. Imagine reading an article about, say, the most popular vacation destinations in Europe and you’ll also see a link to a popular hotel somewhere amid the actual article;
- In-feed ads — these are recommendations that appear in people’s newsfeeds — typically from social media influencers, niche thought-leaders, or just lists of suggestions on social media or aggregators;
These are just a few typical formats for native ads. This diversity underlines how important it is to take format into account when writing copies for them.
When your word count is limited, try focusing on action verbs and calls-to-action. The copy has to be much more frank and bold compared to the ads placed in articles, for example. The latter need to be integrated with more care, and enough context needs to be provided before the ad is introduced.
2. Don’t overdo it
Flashy headlines and hyperbolic promises are something that is generally frowned upon among internet users and ad consumers, and it’s also safe to say that it’s a quality of traditional advertising. Native ads are trying to go the other way around.
When crafting a native ad campaign, it’s essential to ditch sensationalism and opt for a more “lowkey” approach that would also try to provide your readership with value.
Many businesses choose to go with native advertising because it seems like the more respectful approach — ridding their followers of annoying and misleading headlines. Make sure that your native ads are written so that the integrity of your business is intact.
It’s also imperative to be transparent about the nature of the link you’re placing. Under no circumstances should you entirely misrepresent the contents of a link. There should be total alignment of the like, the anchor of the link, and what the user will find on the linked page.
The central goal of native ads is to drive high-quality traffic. It should attract people that will engage with content, rather than just contribute to the bounce rates. High bounce rates have adverse effects on a site’s rank on search engine results and your digital marketing efforts.
3. Use storytelling
Storytelling is an especially relevant approach when you’re trying to integrate a native ad in a longer text.
In the modern business ecosystem, consumers no longer buy what you tell them to buy. Instead, they’re guided by feelings. It’s all about how a product makes them feel. This has partly defined the last decade of content writing.
Storytelling is incredibly effective at tapping into a person’s emotions. There is a substantial body of research that indicates that when exposed to exciting stories, people’s oxytocin levels increase — an essential feel-good hormone that our bodies secrete during pleasant social interactions like hugs, pats, cuddles, and so forth. In other words, stories make us feel safe. They help us connect with other people, even the people that we don’t know, or the people that don’t even exist.
Here are a few suggestions that’ll help you tell a story:
- Build your story on a colorful idea;
- Focus on the protagonists, their desires, and their drives;
- Stop selling. Leave that language out entirely. Humanize your language. Avoid marketing jargon;
- Don’t just give information away. Let the reader figure things out for themselves;
- Implement humor;
- Tap into your reader’s senses. Use cues that would help them see, smell, and taste the things you’re talking about;
- Your protagonists should make mistakes too;
- Close with a CTA;
The important aspect of storytelling is that there’s no actual psychological trickery that’s fueling it. It all revolves around good writing and a captivating story.
“It’s safe to assume that people are passionate about stories on an evolutionary level. Stories unite us because they help us learn about the real world.” — Geraldine Dixon, a writer and critic at Top Writers Review.
As you may have observed, native advertisement is an entirely different animal compared to banner ads and pop-ups. The takeaway is that we should focus on providing our users with high-quality content and actual value. We hope you found this article helpful.