How to Take Advantage of Native Advertising for Your Business

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How to Take Advantage of Native Advertising for Your Business

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Native advertising is one of the biggest trends in marketing today. In fact, it's expected to grow to $21 billion by 2018 according to Business Insider.

The term native advertising (or sponsored content) gets thrown around on business-to-business blogs and in marketing meetings, but how much do you actually know about native ads?

Here's a breakdown of what every business - big or small - needs to know about sponsored content:

1. What is native advertising?

In the simplest terms, native advertising is a piece of content (story, video or graphic) that's created to promote an advertiser while also entertaining and informing readers.

The "native" portion refers to the format - it should fit in with other stories on the publisher's platform. So unlike a banner ad or popup ad, native ads don't disrupt the user experience.

The most effective native ads are engaging and provide readers with helpful information. Often, the advertiser is quoted as an expert in a topic area, like a local real estate agent providing advice on how to prepare your home for potential buyers.

2. What can native advertising do for my business?

Native ads are all about helping advertising reach new audiences and boost their online presence. According to a survey conducted by Content Marketing Institute and sponsored by Advance Ohio, 43 percent of content marketers used native advertising in 2015. Of those who used native ads, 63 percent used them to create brand awareness and 90 percent agreed the stories can be used to cultivate audiences.

3. Does native advertising actually work?

Although native ads are right at home on various platforms – print, desktop, tablet – they are most effective on mobile devices. A study by Facebook and IHS Inc. found that mobile native pieces had a 20 to 60 percent higher engagement rate than traditional display ads.

Another benefit of native ads: SEO (search engine optimization). Since the content is original, Google’s algorithm rewards native ads in with better search results so your story lands higher up on the page. A great native ad will also seamlessly integrate keywords into the story, which helps to further optimize search.

And since we live in a digital world, we can’t forget the importance of social media. Native ads are perfect for sharing across all your social platforms.

If you’re working with a local publication, you can also take advantage of their large social media audience. The Aiken Standard, for example, has more than 18,000 followers on Facebook. You can’t access that with a banner ad. Plus, native ads help circumvent ad blockers, which have become a major hurdle for traditional online marketing efforts.

4. What about transparency?

One of the biggest questions about native ads is: can readers tell the difference between editorial content and a native ad? Won’t they feel duped by the paid-for content?

Native ads are meant to build trust between a brand and the consumer. So the last thing an advertiser wants is for the consumer to feel tricked by a native ad. That’s why it should be a best practice to clearly mark a native ad for what it is with a heading like “sponsored content” at the top of the page.

5. How do I get started?

Find out if any of your local news outlets have a native advertising program. At the Aiken Standard, advertisers work directly with a team of experienced experts to create a personalized native ad based on their unique message.

To learn more about the Aiken Standard’s native advertising program, visit to download their advertising media kit.