Customers gloss over bold, blinking, beeping stand-alone ads. That's why paid native ads that seamlessly integrate into social feeds and websites are having a huge moment. These ads emulate the look and feel of the media format where they appear, gaining greater acceptance and engagement than brazen banners or pushy pop-ups.
Let's examine 2019 native advertising trends in detail to help with your campaign planning.
Quick Recap: What Are Native Ads?
Think of native ads like your eccentric, talkative neighbor Addy who shows up for Thanksgiving dinner. She fits in with the rest of your wacky relatives (the main content) well enough and always has a wild story (the creative ad) to tell.
You pay attention because, frankly, she's genuinely entertaining and you don't want to leave the table and miss out on a second round of homemade pie (the content you showed up for). After a while you get used to her being around and start asking her questions (Hello, engagement!).
Addy may not be family, but she sure is interesting, and mixes well with the company around her.
2019 Native Advertising Trends
Marketing Industry News reported the digital advertising market is set to grow from $15 billion in 2019 to $85 billion by 2020. Native advertising will be at the forefront, especially on feed-style news, social and web page content on mobile devices.
But which type of ad content can we expect to see perform well? The Native Advertising Institute predicted native advertising trends in 2019 will follow societal and cultural shifts to best resonate with readers. Let's dig a little deeper into what these two industry sources predicted successful native ads will resemble in the year ahead.
1. Enforce a minimalist mindset. It's no secret there's a shift toward owning less and trying more. This is good news for experiential brands like travel agencies and concert ticket vendors.
When it comes to consumable goods, like clothing or kitchenware, native ads should focus on durability of the products, so customers feel they are investing in quality and a positive user experience, not more stuff to clutter their home.
2. Focus on quality, not quantity. You've heard this ad nauseam, but when it comes to crunching the numbers and following a publishing schedule, it often gets overlooked. Readers are inundated with messaging 24/7. Spend your time and budget on creating something remarkable that stands out.
Go into your next ad ideation meeting with the mindset that you're creating a native ad that will run on the NFL's website during Super Bowl weekend. Millions of eyes will see the content. Make it so good it will be talked about for months to come — like the classic football ads.
3. Spend money on editorial sites. Sure, we browse our social media feeds regularly, but it can be passive, with fleeting focus. Consider experimenting with ad placement on websites with in-depth, long-form editorial content that commands focused attention from an audience planning to linger within an article or blog post for a while.
Try testing a campaign on a news site, medical journal, blog or website that draws repeat readers regularly.
4. Empathize with busy people. We're all trying to stay caught up at work, check in on social media, spend time with our families, exercise, meal plan, visit friends and so on. Successful native ads in 2019 will promote products that help us slow down, de-stress and just be in the moment.
For some brands, this is simply a shift in messaging. Instead of that beverage helping to perk you up, maybe it's what you savor during your moment of me-time relaxation. Or that meal delivery service? Market it as a way of earning your evenings back instead of slicing and dicing the night away to prepare dinner.
5. Diversify your native content. As you experiment with various publishing outlets, also vary your ad type. You are using more than one, right?
If you've always paid for content recommendations, consider branching out with in-feed native display ads or branded content. Your next winning campaign might use content you've already created, but needs to be presented in a new format to gain traction.
6. Flaunt environmental benefits. We are becoming increasingly conscious of how our lifestyle impacts the world around us. If your products are plant-based, biodegradable or fair trade, this is the year to make sustainability and green living a key focus of your campaigns.
Customers want to make better choices, so tell them how they can do that. Instead of flaunting the 50 flavors of sports drink you sell, tell them how they can recycle the bottle or make a donation to a partnering charity that supplies clean water to developing countries.
7. Dig into video. If you're not producing video, you'll be left behind in 2019. The sweet spot for native ad videos played on mobile devices is 15 to 22 seconds. This requires you to present concise, impactful messaging. If video seems daunting, you can always partner with an influencer who creates videos or ask customers to submit video testimonials. Boom! You have instant video content available for your native ad.
As you ramp up your native advertising outreach in the year ahead, consider partnering with an agency that works in this space daily. They can help you formulate a plan, create content and evaluate the success of your actions.