Lots and lots of content gets produced on a daily basis. But often it doesn’t reach your audience. Reason – There aren’t enough people to consume content that gets created on a massive scale.
These native advertising tips are the perfect solution to this problem. It’s a great way to distribute your content and extend its reach by leveraging the exposure and brand equity of other publishers. It is also a smart way to connect with consumers and get them to engage with your brand.
Gaurav has been passionate about Performance Marketing & its nuances for quite a while now. He believes that brands today are battling algorithms to stay ahead of their game in the online marketing sphere.
And this has led him to understand how the core functionalities of Digital Marketing can be used to push buyer behaviour.
Presently, Gaurav works at Medlife as Digital Marketing Manager for OTC Business (pinhealth.com) & is exploring the trends that command the e-commerce sphere in Pharmaceuticals. He feels that while marketing for this sphere is challenging, its results are what drives him to work harder.
Gaurav also feels lucky to have worked in various verticals such as F&B, Hospitality, Travel & Adventure, Forex, Telecom and Mobile VAS.
In his free time, Gaurav spends a lot of time updating himself on the music industry.
Medlife provides a wholesome ecosystem where a patient can get e-consultation from a Doctor, opt for lab tests, as well as access to prescription and OTC medicines at discounted rates with the comfort of doorstep delivery.
For Tushar who’s the CEO and co-founder of Medlife, the reason to create this venture through which people could gain access to multiple healthcare services came from a personal experience where he had to walk up to 40 miles from his home to purchase medicines for his parents.
Tushar says “Over a period of time, I realised that the healthcare system in India is extremely chaotic. People don’t know where to go to locate the right specialist, find all of their prescribed medicines or even find a good laboratory for their tests. Sometimes, they have to travel to different places to avail these services. I believe that if a person is ill and is already anxious about the disease itself, there should be no need for them to stress any further in getting treatment.”
Being operational from more than four years, Medlife now processes over 8,000 deliveries a day (including private-label products) that amount to $4.6 Mn (INR 30 Cr) a month and expects 15-20% business growth month-on-month.
What’s native advertising and how does it affect content marketing?
You could say it’s a good mix of pull & push marketing. Native advertising is different from regular text ads on Google’s homepage, where the user is stating his needs then & there; it is not to be confused with social media banner ads either.
By definition, native is a person born in a specified place or associated with a place by birth, where he/she might or might not subsequently stay.
Similarly, Native content is a piece of content that fits in the environment where it is served, & when you pay to be a part of such environment it becomes native advertising. Native ads match the look & feel of the content or placement where they are served or received.
On the other side, content marketing has a bigger horizon, wider & long term focused goal. It’s an approach that enables you to connect with consumers on a deeper, more committed level for the longest period of time. For example, being a pharmaceutical company we have a content marketing plan for the next year which includes PR, earned media reviews, blogs, info-graphics designed to interest & share the benefits of online pharma. As part of our larger strategy, we may rely on native advertising to amplify the reach of our online content.
What are the different types of native ad formats?
The Interactive Advertising Bureau has set some guidelines for native advertisements & added native advertising into 6 categories, but commonly used are:
Users will see sponsored content ads from advertisers while they browse original content on their social media feed.
The best example is Facebook news feed ads.
Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and Major News Houses all offer in-feed ad units
At the end of nearly all articles, you often encounter ‘Recommended For You’ & ‘You May Also Like’. These widgets are called as recommendation widgets. Advertiser pay to reserve these ad slots to get some traffic back to their websites
Most of the E-commerce players give an option to promote your products. E.g, while searching for any product on Amazon you may have encountered with some promoted brands
From OTC to Pharma we use native ads in almost every business unit. We mostly use In-feed ads on social media & third party websites. I personally feel that In-feed ads work best as they are highly targeted. This is primarily because they match the two important criteria – website content & user interest
How can you differentiate between native advertising and a regular ad?
When you go to a website, you see a banner ad at the top of the page or smaller ads next to the main content. These are display ads. Regular ads show up based on several criteria, including how much the advertiser paid for the spot, the content’s relevance to the website and its audience, and whether you’ve had any interactions in the past.
Instead of looking like a traditional ad, native ads mirror the tone, style and format of the site’s content. At the same time, you will also find a term “Sponsored” or “Promoted” to distinguish it from regular content.
Can native ads appear to be a little sketchy?
Yes, native ads can appear to be a little sketchy if not targeted properly. Some native ad platforms and publishers allow irrelevant or unrelated content with their index content to earn some extra bucks. This can be misleading for the audience.
Can you share some ad campaigns that are doing really well for your brand pertaining to native advertising?
We are using multiple ad networks, social media & vendors including in-house programmatic to leverage native advertising. As we have different business verticals we have multiple checkpoints & criteria before choosing any native format or network.
For OTC, in native marketing, I’m spending most of my budgets on Facebook News Feed ads followed by Google Smart Campaigns.
For Pharma & Medicine, we are using Content DB, Times Columbia & In-house programmatic to run native advertisements; recently I have seen a CTR of 10% which is way higher than regular ads.
Any tips on native advertising to content marketers?
Choose the right format
Not every native ad format suits every advertiser’s needs. Choose the one that establishes you as authority, and pick the advertising options that describe your product & services the best.
Stay customer centric
Understand your audience before creating any native ads. Be customer-centric, remember how you make customers feel, you need empathy for good customer experience.
Create engaging content
Try to educate & entertain your visitors, be a problem solver, and not a product seller especially when you from the B2B industry
Use A/B testing
Your headlines and ad copies are fundamental hooks in native advertising, A/B testing can help you rapidly judge how compelling your titles and descriptions are, and pick those that are getting the most engagement.
Create an action plan
An action plan is a major ingredient in your native strategy. Listen and understand, know your audience. Check what is working for you, build great content, listen to the feedback, learn and repeat.
We are living in a content-heavy world, and these native advertising tips offers marketers a way to reach out to their audience without being overbearing.
We heartily thank Gaurav for shedding light on the importance of native advertising and sharing some great tips on the same. These insights will surely help brands in expanding their market reach and in improving engagement with their customers.