How Native Advertising is Kicking Serious Banner Ad Butt (And What You Can Do About It)

April 3, 2015

Do you remember the last television commercial you saw? How about the last radio ad you listened to?

Okay, here’s one you’ll remember for sure: What company was behind the last banner ad you saw online?

My guess is that you don’t remember any of those three types of advertising. But don’t feel bad about it. You’re probably suffering from “Horse Blinder Syndrome.”

Native Advertising

It’s nothing serious, just a natural progression of how we humans have developed a tendency to ignore advertising. Especially online.

Display ad click-through rates have plummeted over the years, and according to DoubleClick research and HubSpot, the average CTR is now at a miniscule 0.1%.

So how do we brilliant marketers and creative advertisers improve? Well, there’s something called native advertising. And I’m 100% positive you’ve been exposed to it already. With native advertising showing better performance than banner ads, it’s no surprise that people in the industry are listening.

Native advertising is a way for your content (ads) to blend in with the overall user experience, so it doesn’t necessarily look like an ad.

Advertisers and publishers are quickly adopting this form of advertising, not just through ads, but also through sponsored articles. Here are two native advertising examples from Gizmodo:

Native Advertising Example

What Is Native Advertising

Both Virgin Mobile and IBM do native advertising

If you go to Gizmodo on your phone and start browsing through the articles, you’ll notice that the sponsored articles blend in perfectly with other “native” content. It’s not trickery, I promise. It’s a smart way to offer interesting content that is relevant to what you sell.

Plus, if people find your content useful, they’ll be more likely to share through social media – something that regular ads have a hard time accomplishing.

Other examples of native advertising:

How You Can Create Native Advertising

As PPC enthusiasts, we’re always curious (and anxious) to find new ways to increase and improve client revenue and profits. Therefore, native advertising should definitely be in your arsenal of weapons.

You’re already creating text ads for the search network, so you’re covered there. But what about display?

Even though Google does not allow display ads to mimic site content, that shouldn’t prevent you from testing out several color combinations from your leading traffic generating sites on the display network. Be careful not to copy the publisher site colors exactly, as this is not allowed.

You can test out the same fonts or maybe one of the site colors and see the difference in CTR compared to your regular ads. Just make sure your logo is visible and not hidden as it wouldn’t benefit you to trick a visitor. Your initial goal should be to get eyeballs on your ad, then the click, and then the conversion.

I’ve seen positive results with this before, and yes, it’s a bit work intensive but it could work out very well. Start off with the placement giving you the highest display traffic, then lather, rinse and repeat from there.

Johnathan Dane

Johnathan Dane

Johnathan Dane is the founder and leading captain of KlientBoost, a creative digital agency specializing in pay-per-click marketing with search and display networks. When he's not working hard on increasing client success, you can find him playing pick-up basketball at the local gym with the elders.