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May 20, 2016

Well-thought-out native ads can unlock a new level of customer engagement. Giving the consumer an opportunity to interact with your brand within a medium they're already comfortable with ensures the possibility of a positive interaction. Brands know the context of the medium and can tailor their messaging accordingly.
According to a new study from Business Insider, premium native ads on mobile average a click-through rate (CTR) four times higher than traditional display ads' CTR. But how do you ensure your native advertising is effective? Advertisers can learn from Instagram celebrities and Snapchat superstars: Posting at the right time makes all the difference.

As always, knowing your audience is crucial. In order to plan an effective native ad strategy and maximize customer engagement, you need to understand what kind of content your audience is interested in, as this will give you some insight into what to post and when. Is your native advertising content specifically tied to a time of day, like recipes for readers figuring out what to make for dinner? Or is the content reactive and part of a conversation centering around recent events?

HBO's show Girls partnered with Buzzfeed to create a sponsored list called "10 Feelings All NYC Girls Have at Least Once." HBO's familiarity with their target millennial market helped them shape content that was personalized and highly shareable to appear on a site already frequented by their audience. HBO could then research to determine when sharing this content would be most effective, ultimately choosing the Monday morning before the Sunday of their season premiere. This timing gave the article plenty of time to build over the week leading up to the premiere.

It's just as important to understand that every medium has its own best practices. HubSpot has a compilation of best posting times for social media sites, email, and blogs. According to Facebook's news feed algorithm, early afternoon is a safe bet, and engagement rates go up on Thursday and Friday, and then even more on the weekend. Twitter, on the other hand, found 81 percent of its users were more likely to log on during their commutes home.

While catering to each medium may create more work, it ensures you're putting your best foot forward with your native ads. Scheduling and automation tools may help you manage the volume of ads and posts you're managing.

Just as social sites can share information on what they see working in customer engagement, advertisers can learn from their own data. As you keep track of your campaigns' performance, you should learn even more about your audience. By analyzing clicks, shares, and sales data, paint a picture of what your customers like and when they're most interested.

Digiday shared Italian beer Peroni's secret to native ad success. By running their ads in the culture and arts section of Time Out, rather than at random on the broader site, they saw an average dwell time over three minutes. You may have to do some testing to understand what fits best, but data like this informs future campaign strategies.

Advertisers should combine audience insight, platform recommendations, and their own data to their advantage to maximize the timing of their native ads. Driving customer engagement through offering the right content at the right time is always possible.

≥≥ Need a Shortcut?
1.For strong results, tie your content to a specific time or event.
2.Be conscious of posting at the right day and time for your medium of choice.
3.Learn from your own data to ensure your content is finding the right audience.
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