Take It From A Millennial // Native Advertising
This week on Take It From A Millennial, we are diving into the concept of native advertising and the millennial attitudes and behaviors that come along with it.
Native advertising is a form of paid advertising where the advertisement is embedded into a user’s natural or “native” media environment. Instead of interrupting a user’s experience with a commercial, native advertising allows marketers to sponsor content in order to lessen annoying interruptions and boost positive attitudes with the brand. Native ads get the message across in a way that benefits both the marketer and the user.
As we have discussed several times throughout this blog series, millennials are not big fans of advertisements. Actually, we do everything in our power to avoid them. However, not even ad blockers can block native ads, and the best part of all is we don’t even want them to. Yeah. You read that right. We actually like native ads.
So let’s take this back for a minute. We already know that millennials are all over social media. But, did you know that a jaw-dropping 91% of millennials discover content while browsing feeds? In contrast, only 7% discover content through search, and 2% through direct sharing, such as email.
Even if you’re not a millennial, you are aware of the frenzy of content flooding social media platforms. Well, a large portion of that content is sponsored, and therefore, native advertising. Now, it really comes down to figuring out if consumers care that brands are behind the content they are consuming.
In the late 1900’s, there was a large notion of fear and corruption that came with the term “advertorial”. An advertorial is an article disguised as an editorial, but is actually pushing a product or service. In the time when it first surfaced, people were afraid that they would be brainwashed or tricked into buying a product. Due to the past use of this term, many older audiences are hesitant of native ads and sponsored content. However, this fear is no longer prevalent simply because information is now at our fingertips. If we doubt an article, all we have to do is grab a smartphone and look at different sources, opinions, and reviews. Further, we are talking about tech-savvy millennials, and millennials are not afraid of what we don’t know. Millennials are stubborn, and so we believe that no advertorial or native ad can brainwash our tenacious minds.
As a result of our headstrong attitudes, millennials don’t care who makes the content as long as it’s good. According to a study by Sharethrough, 80% of millennials say in-feed native ads are a good user experience, and 44% say that in-feed native ads improve their perception of said brand or publisher. Truthfully, we are just looking to be entertained, whether it’s by your brand or by someone else.
Personally, I happily interact with native ads every day with no care in the world. Does the fact that Purina sponsored this “Puppyhood” video matter to me? Definitely not. I still found it on my Facebook newsfeed, liked it, shared it, and tagged four friends in order to further spread my love for the sponsored content. Now, was my purchase behavior affected by my positive reaction to the native ad? Yes, actually. A few weeks after my interaction with the video, I was looking for dog food for my own puppy, and being that I like to change up her food every few weeks, I went with Purina that time. Was I mad that this native ad “brainwashed” me? Absolutely not. I was happy to choose Purina in exchange for the entertainment they provided.
When looking to add native advertising to your brand’s marketing strategy, make sure that you generate high quality entertaining content. Forget rules. Forget the status quo. Be inventive and develop your ideas with the purpose of generating shares. Like Purina, still have your content relate to your brand but without losing the entertainment factor.
When examining native advertising, I was in search of a limit. I was in search of some sort of place where integrating native advertising was no longer possible. Yet, what I found was that the limit does not exist.
So far, we have been discussing social media and the content we find on our feeds. Yet, native advertisements can be found across all types of media. From television shows and movies, to YouTube videos and online news sources, native ads are everywhere.
The reason for the abundance of native ads across all media is the shift in media consumption behavior. The rise of Netflix, the popularity of ad blockers, the increase of ad clutter, and the invention of fast-forwarding televisions, among other recent innovations, have caused marketers to look for new, organic ways to communicate to their audiences.
Native ads can even be found on media that cannot hold regular ads. Movies, for example, have no commercial breaks, no banner ads, and no space for ads at all. Nevertheless, they can include a form of native advertising called product placement. Product placement occurs when a brand is shown as a part of the overall movie narrative. An actor could simply be using a Macbook, or driving a Jeep. Product placement engraves the brand in the mind of the consumer and serves as promotion without interrupting the viewing experience.
Another form of native advertising that is quickly taking over the way we market our businesses is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO allows marketers to pay for the top few spots on the result page of a search engine. This practice does not interrupt a consumer’s web experience either, and rarely bothers the average search engine user.
Last week, we spoke about influencer marketing. In case you missed it, influencer marketing occurs when a marketer hires influencers to spread their brand message to their target audience as a part of their organic social media posts. Looking back, we can see that influencer marketing is a type of native advertising as well. In this case, the influencers are the “natural” medium.
Evidently, there are countless ways to integrate native advertising into your marketing strategy. The media channels have no limit. Creativity has no limit. Your potential results have no limit.
Let’s put all our findings together now. In the breakdown, we found that native advertising is an organic form of efficiently promoting your brand to millennials. Then, in the attitude, we discovered that millennials actually enjoy native ads and encourage you to continue making them to keep us entertained. Finally, in the limit, we gathered that there are countless ways to integrate native ads into all forms of media.
Hence, there is no reason your brand should fail to use native advertising as a part of your overall marketing strategy. It’s simple. It’s fun. It’s effective.
Written by: Micaela Valderrama
August 4, 2017
Compass Marketing & Consulting