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How to execute a Native Advertising Campaign: Part 1

Posted 17 Aug 2015 What is Native Advertising?

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The modern-day marketer plays a dynamic, ever-changing role, constantly adapting to new trends and emerging technologies, and applying new techniques and strategic approaches to building brand awareness within a company. Native Advertising is fast becoming one of the most valuable approaches to content marketing, with publishers and marketers alike figuring out new and effective ways to take advantage of the digital era we find ourselves in. Native advertising can be an incredibly effective marketing tool if executed correctly, so this article will provide some tips about how to use Native Advertising to create effective lead-generation campaigns.

Getting valuable viewers

Your ROI in running Native Ads will largely depend on how much value you can get from each view, and how aligned each viewer is with your product or service being advertised. Always review the publisher’s readership (what kind of people are viewing this site?) to assess whether they’re a good fit with the audience you’re trying to target. Check if the publisher offers any promotion opportunities via social media as a package deal, and then take advantage of this add-on within your own social media strategy.

But what should you be asking the publishers/vendors before launching a Native Advertising campaign? Make sure you can answer the following:

  1. What are the demographics of my target audience?
  2. Is the post going to be promoted elsewhere, like in a newsletter?
  3. What social media promotion will form part of the campaign?
  4. What other means of distribution will the Native Advertising include?

Creating Saleable Content

Creating high-value and saleable content is vital to the success of your Native Advertising campaign. Check with the publisher as to whether they will link valuable content back to your site. This is crucial if you’re too utilizing native advertising as a tool for generating leads. Now that the publisher has given you the green light for the link to your site, make sure the content itself is aligned with the goals of your sales team. The idea is to promote content that is more likely to turn into a paying customer (or at least a qualified lead).

Finally, you must decide on who will generate your content. If you choose to use your own editorial team, you inevitably retain more control over the topic, style, and brand voice of each piece. In contrast, using the publisher’s editorial team will mean less control over what’s written and how it is expressed (i.e. the tone or ‘voice’ of each piece). This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it simply means that the readers will already be familiar with the tone with which each piece is written, since it is coming from the publisher’s own team of writers. There is really no hard-and-fast rule about which methods works best. Personally, I have found leveraging the publisher’s editorial contribution to work well, although both methods have their own benefits and drawbacks.

A healthy medium might be to choose your own topics and to allow the publishers to produce the content, as the visitors to the site will already relate to the tone of writing, which could increase the level of engagement. Not to mention the fact that having the publisher produce the content will allow you to focus on putting together a successful distribution campaign of your native ads.

When all is said and done, it is the publishers who know and understand their readers best.

Establishing Rapport with Publishers

Developing a strong relationship with publisher (and the editors of the content) is crucial to a successful native advertising campaign. The goal is to ensure the editor understands your business’ values and core message so this is communicated in the ad. If the campaign doesn’t produce the expected results, having a clear line of communication and a flexible approach will help you overcome any hurdles along the way. Working closely with the publisher’s team will make it easier to recognise any weaknesses in your current approach and develop solutions to any challenges that arise.

Getting bang for your buck

Now that you know what you want to say, and to whom you’ll be saying it, revenue is the next thing to consider. To achieve the goals of your native advertising campaign, it’s important to have your metrics in mind from the outset. Both you and the vendor should have a clear and mutual understanding of what it is you’re trying to achieve and how you plan on meeting these goals.

Certainly one of the key metrics to measure the success of any native advertising campaign is the CPL, or Cost Per Lead, as it provides a benchmark upon which you can assess the value of each offer, communicate expectations for upcoming posts, and evaluate the success or failure of each piece of content. Once you’ve worked out your average CPL, you can make a more informed assessment of the value of the publisher’s offer, and whether the goals of your native advertising campaign can be met at this cost.

There are certain metrics that a publisher will be expected to account for. The metrics to keep in mind vary slightly depending on who hosts the landing page.

Publisher-hosted Landing Page

If the publisher hosts your landing page, keep an eye on the following metrics:

  • Total leads;
  • % of Marketing qualified leads (MQL);
  • CPL/Cost per MQL

Brand-hosted Landing Page

For landing pages hosted by the brand, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the average unique view count for each post?
  • What is the average click through rate (CTR) for sponsored posts?
  • What is the average social media “share” count?

When hosting a landing page internally, certain metrics may be out of the publisher’s control, in which case you’ll be expected to do your part in optimizing everything at the top of the funnel (inbound efforts like email, SEO, social media, blog posts, etc) to more effectively attract leads.

On the other hand, when it’s the publisher that is hosting the landing page, more of the responsibility, in terms of what is delivered, should fall on the publisher. Although the internal sales processes of your business are not something that the publisher can necessarily have a direct impact on, they should always be held accountable for the traffic being driven to article based on the audience attributes you have provided them.

What next?

Stay tuned for Part 2 on the secrets to running a successful native advertising campaign where we look at how to ensure effective optimization at both ends of the funnel. If you want to discuss your marketing goals with a Benchmarketing specialist, get in touch today on 1300 049 498 or flick us an email at info@benchmarketing.com.au.

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