Native is one of the most influential advertising channels, commanding attention from viewers in a variety of formats and continuing to grow in popularity. Why is native advertising so effective? Native ads match the format of the content in which they are served and have a strong emphasis on the creative to attract the prospect. After all, the most important element of any campaign is the creative. If the ad is not appealing or compelling enough to get the click, the chances of a conversion is near impossible. Although studies have proven that native is one of the highest performing programmatic tactics, there is a benefit to advertisers who appropriately leverage various channels in tandem.
A strategic and holistic approach is key when selecting your tactics and building your campaign. We recommend that you find harmony in executing your campaign with native, video and display. Baking all three channels together is the not-so-secret recipe for campaign success.
The Recipe for the Ideal Campaign
Let’s start with the base ingredient: native. Native on its own is very successful, due to the ad’s proximity to content and because it is inherently in a familiar format. Let’s mix that with video, the channel that has the highest propensity to entertain the viewer. If video ads are successful, prospects will give up the idea that they’re watching an ad, which is very effective for awareness. Add in a dash of display—the most commonly used channel. With it, you are able to access a plethora of inventory and provide exposure for your ads. This is the constant in your entire strategy to command attention from your audience. When done effectively, there is merit in combining these tactics, to tell the most cohesive story to the target audience.
Not sure what we mean? Let’s consider three scenarios.
1. New Brand, New Vertical
When introducing a new brand in a new vertical, one of the main challenges could be getting your name out there and establishing brand affinity. In new markets, it can be challenging to know where to start. A good example of this is cannabis advertising—it’s an emerging space with many new players, which means developing an online presence from scratch.
In order to get your brand out there, we recommend the following campaign setup:
- Start with display to build awareness. Display acts as your digital billboard—it’s highly viewable, so your audience will be exposed to your ad for just a fraction of your budget. The goal is for the ad to be seen, influence brand recognition and get your prospects into the top of the funnel.
- Integrate video to have a strong impact on your audience. Videos are entertaining and will reinforce the brand and the product you are promoting, in a highly enjoyable format. This is one of the best ways to capture attention when your prospects are in the funnel.
- Use native to further interest and drive engagement. You can do this by retargeting those users who have video completions of 50-75%, as well as those who have clicked on your display banners. These prospects have shown some interest, and now you can drive them to engaging content that will get them further down the funnel.
In fact, throughout your campaign, you can run display as a baseline to ensure your brand is recognizable. The focus of the tactic will not necessarily be to drive conversions, but rather to build awareness with a higher frequency of ads, attract the audience who is non-responsive and try to encourage their engagement. Display tactics don’t necessarily need a specific CTA or goal, yet they are very effective at reminding the user of the brand.
2. Existing Brand, Established Vertical, Product Line Extension
With existing brands in mature verticals, consumers are already familiar with the brand, but there is plenty of competition. Consider an automotive campaign with a new model or nameplate. With car models being refreshed yearly, how do you compose a story that sets you apart and ensures you are seen and heard? By using a combination of channels in your digital strategy!
Instead of starting with display for this scenario, begin your campaign story with video. Following that, integrate display to supplement inventory and increase reach and product recognition. Keep native at the end to drive interest and engagement. Even with established brands, new product releases need to attract enough attention to shift interest away from competing products. Your tactics should be creating a story and retargeting an audience that has some exposure to the brand, but not necessarily with the new product line extension.
3. Brand Loyalty, New Product
When promoting new products from an established brand in an existing vertical, you might actually use the three tactics in reverse—start with native, then move to display and video. With native, you can leverage content to set yourself apart from your competitors and introduce a new product in the space.
Let’s consider a new soap product in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) vertical, from a brand that normally sells shampoo. To enter the space, they may write an article about the top 10 soap brands on the market, making sure they are not only on the list, but identify attributes that make them stand head and shoulders above the rest. Using native ads to point to that article is a highly effective way to entice engagement, with calculated content marketing placement.
To complement the native ad, run display and video to promote the product itself. For example, retarget the users who spend more than 15 seconds reading your content with very direct CTAs such as “Shop Now” or include a promotional price in the display banner. Now that the user has an idea of the product and how it stacks up to the others in the space, the banner images and videos will reinforce familiarity, and help push the actual purchase.
The Icing on the Cake
Even with a well-thought-out campaign strategy that combines all three channels for success, you need to have a central goal to focus on. The ad is the icing on the cake—the sweetest, most enticing piece that the user will see. Yes, the ingredients will bake into the final product, but your prospects won’t see any of that. All they see is the final ad that is served. Therefore, you want to make the ad the centre of the campaign, and ensure all parts relate back to the creative and messaging you are trying to put forward.
You do not want a disjointed campaign thrown together—you want to build the strategy around the creative. By conveying a cohesive story across all channels, it will make your ads more memorable, impactful and engaging. If you run native, video and display without an overall campaign goal in mind—whether to please a client or fill a budget—there’s no real alignment in strategy. A cohesive story built around your creatives enables the full depth of the campaign to be realized, and will allow you to effectively evaluate the success of your ads, the targeting tactics, channels chosen and most importantly, the audience. You may not even get a full picture of who your audience is and where they fall in your marketing funnel without a holistic approach.
The Secret to Sweet Success
If you really want to exercise a stellar digital strategy with all three channels included, the secret ingredient is right under your nose: run it all on one platform.
Two of the common reasons why media planners will run various campaign line items on different channels are because (A) they know certain vendors have specialties or (B) they feel diversifying the portfolio is important. However, if you don’t run a holistic campaign on a single platform, it is time consuming and ineffective to compare the results that you get. Each platform will use different algorithms, target different audiences, and potentially tap into different inventory. All of these variables will affect how each of the lines work together, the insights you extract from each tactic, and the overall success of your campaign.
If you run on multiple vendors that may not have the same audience, there is potential for gaps. This could result in missed opportunities, and limits your ability to control the audience experience through ad frequency. Running the entire campaign on one platform allows for streamlined optimizations, and ensures users are experiencing the brand in a balanced way, without bombardment of ads or limited exposure. Your audience is best targeted and tracked where you can confidently, and efficiently analyze the success of your campaigns and each of the tactics.
When you strategize appropriately, combining all relevant channels, and executing on a single platform, you are harmonizing tactics and will increase the chance of the most efficient results. The perfect recipe!
Interested to see how you can leverage native, video and display and with custom audience segments? Contact us.