A Complete Guide to Native Ad Success
Everything you need to know about running a successful campaign.
June 10, 2019
What are Native Ads?
Outbrain, a native ad network, has a great definition:
Native advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear. Native ads are often found in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t really look like ads. They look like part of the editorial flow of the page. The key to native advertising is that it is non-disruptive: It exposes the reader to advertising content without sticking out like a sore thumb.
Native Ads fit in with their environment, making them seem like a natural part of what you’re looking at.
Why use Native Ads?
- Consumers look at native ads 53% more than display ads
- Native advertising fights ad fatigue
- Consumers know that native ads are a form of advertising, but they don’t care!
- Native ads have great success with mobile platforms.
- Click-through rates tend to be much higher than typical advertisements.
- Research shows over 70% of people want to learn about a product through content
What is different about native advertisements versus search, social media, or banner ads?
Newcomers to native will find there are methods and strategies to becoming profitable that take some patience and practice. If you’re brand new to native, understanding how networks place ad locations across sites or properties will help you find what works best for the campaigns you want to run. Targeting your campaigns by site or widget and knowing how to improve engagement are key tools for making native work for you.
The Basics of the Native Ad Improvement Process comes down to these two steps:
- Get Good Clicks
- Get Conversions on those Clicks
Get good clicks: This means making sure you’re paying for traffic that can eventually lead you to a sale. Avoiding networks and traffic sources that might bring you bot traffic or running on sources that have audiences known for creating low CTR’s.
This also means scouting your potential clients with the right creative text and images to get a click but that also explain your product or service. ‘Keep in mind that getting clicks is not the only goal, you want to prequalify your potential customer with your images and creative text.
Get conversions on those clicks: This is when your landing page comes into work, gather all of your content creation skills and your selling skills and (make them have a baby, the baby is your landing page) combine them to make a virtual sales page. Keep in mind you this is going to the last and only chance you have to convert that click into a sale.
The best strategy you can use when getting started is to focus on getting good clicks, then rework your campaigns to get conversions on those clicks.
Where to start
When creating native ads you will need to experiment and find the combination of images and text that get the best click-through rate (CTR). The higher the CTR, the lower CPC you need to bid. If something runs with an EPC lower than the average CPC, it should be blocked most of the time. Aim for profit margins of 20–30%.
Pay the most attention to Earnings Per Click (EPC), Clickthrough Rate (CTR), Conversion Rate (CVR), and Profit.
For a new campaign you have no prior experience with, start off with 10–15 ads. Keep in mind each network you run your campaigns with work different and have different algorithms. Some networks can work best with a limited amount of images per campaign. Some others work best if you have unique creatives and images in each campaign.
Headlines should be eye-catching and designed for conversions. There are a lot of resources available across the internet to help you design great text.
The Native Advertising Institute has good start points to craft your headlines:
- Keep It Short
- Answer the “What’s in it for me?” question
- Add numbers
- Make it exciting
- Give instructions
- Use power words
- Promise something useful
- Mention words like “when”, “why”, and “how”
- Be controversial
- Don’t be afraid of exaggerations
- Test your images and text
On One Side
Try running a campaign with ads that have the same text, but different images for each ad. (Note this might not work for Revcontent campaigns.) You can compare the performance of these campaigns to find out what image is working well for that text. This type of campaign is a great starting point for finding images that work well.
On the Other Side
Run a campaign with ads that have the same image, but different text for each ad. Compare the stats to find which text works best for that image.
By running these types of campaigns, you can learn a lot about what performs well and what doesn’t. Spending some time (and money) to test these out will get you with some winning combinations, and you can keep this process going until you get a group of ads that work.
Your landing page should be a top focus for making your native campaigns convert if it’s not already your highest priority. Testing new layouts, formats and content are crucial to converting your clicks into a sale.
From the top:
This is when your landing page comes into work, and the first step in creating a strong sales funnel is to gather all of your content creation skills and your sales skills. The virtual sales page or landing page is the culmination of your content creation and sales skills. It has to be well-written and organized enough to be engaging and informative, and convincing enough that people will purchase the product. Keep in mind that this is going to be the last and only chance you have to convert that click into a sale.
Split testing landing pages is one of the best ways to understand how your clients view your product, service offers, and more. If you are new to native, you can find a variety of landing page builders to help you create the ideal layout for your landing page.
We have tested and used Wizzi.io, and we’ve found this software tool to be a great addition to our native optimization tools.
Understand the Network
No two networks operate the same. They have placements across different sites, allow you to target differently, and have different campaign requirements. One campaign could be making incredible profit and its clone with the same images and settings could be dead in the water on another network. As you get comfortable with different networks, you’ll start to learn their quirks or settings that work really well. For example, a good whitelist can take campaigns to the next level on Taboola and Outbrain. On Taboola, splitting MSN placements and non-MSN placements into different campaigns will help your campaigns gain even more traction.
Taboola is an enormous content network that boasts 1 billion unique monthly users and 22,000 premium publishers, including MSN, USA Today, and NBC.
Outbrain makes more than 275 billion monthly recommendations via native ads, offering highly targeted placements on premium sites like CNN, Slate, and Mashable.
Revcontent’s “From the Web” widgets can be found on news, entertainment, sports, and business sites. Users are able to target audiences with customized widgets and drive high engagement.
Content.ad recommendations appear on websites that fall into the society, health, and shopping categories. Their team can also help you create ad content.
Yahoo Gemini is Oath’s native advertising platform. Users have access to Oath publications like Yahoo, AOL, HuffPost, and more, which receive 2 billion ad impressions per day.
What Maximus Does for You
Being new to native can seem daunting, especially with everything you need to keep track of. Maximus takes care of a lot of the heavy lifting and organizes everything in an easy-to-use dashboard so you can stay on top of your campaigns.
Where network platforms have some delays in reporting, Maximus lets you see stats in real time. This can give you a better idea of your performance as it’s happening.
If you use more than one network, Maximus can let you compare campaigns from different networks all in the same place. No need to log in to every platform to check your stats!
Ad Image and Text Analysis:
Your ad text is evaluated on the emotions that it creates as well as the keywords to help you understand why it is or isn’t working for you.
Our Fire & Forget™ features take all the guesswork and hassle out of constantly managing campaigns. Let Maximus increase or decrease bids and scale to fit your needs. To read more about Fire & Forget™ click here.
Our Slow and Stop Amount settings let you slow down bidding or stop altogether for the day, letting your campaigns run without you having to watch the budget and you can let multiple campaigns run without needing to worry about your spend.
Clone your campaign to copy the settings and launch it with some different ads or text.
Interested in taking your native campaigns to the next level with Maximus? Schedule a demo today.