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eZdia at Search Insider SummitWhile native advertising takes on many forms, exists on various platforms, and means something different to just about everyone, our experts will explore the similarities with search.

We’ll discuss ways to scale up campaigns, dig out measurement techniques and mine performance data … and we’ll explain how CAPTCHAs play a role. Search is arguably the original contextual ad, but how can these new native ads complement existing efforts? Panelists will explore unique new opportunities for publishers and brands, as well as the discuss trade-offs and challenges in scaling up campaigns across Facebook, Yahoo’s in-stream ads, and Twitter.  -Search Insider Summit Panel Description



Introduction to the panel:

Moderator: Blessin Lam, Director of Client Analytic Services,
Ryan Durham, Senior Brand Manager for Digital, Dish Network
Alok Jain, Co-CEO & CMO, eZdia | @alokkjain
Jason Lehmbeck, Founder, DataPop | @jasonlehmbeck
Joe Stephens, Senior Manager, Optimization & Strategy, for Search & Native Advertising, Yahoo!

Defining the overused term native advertising, Jason Lehmbeck described himself as the “old man of paid inclusion” and tells the young, native advertisers to slow down!

Why is it important now?

Native is nothing new. The panelists agreed in their opening introductions that while native advertising isn’t a new concept, it is a growing new opportunity that has gained a lot of visibility and now boasts a huge amount of inventory.

Despite the fact that native advertising has grown to a $2.4 billion dollar industry in 2013, many brands are still figuring out where and how to throw their hat in the ring.

How can search marketers leverage their expertise in native? 

While native was the hot topic among marketers and publishers through 2013, Jason Lehmbeck, founder of DataPop insists “search was the first native format.”

Designing a native ad campaign can look a lot like designing a paid search campaign. Planning for relevant topics, creating content, test planning, developing a budget, ROI strategy and defining a target audience are required steps for both channels.

Similar to paid search efforts, your content must be relevant to the environment your ad appears in. Creating trustworthy and transparent content will yields very strong response rates. Without efforts in creating this type of content, your campaign runs the risk of not performing and even alienating your target audience.

From twitter:
How many times can we say quality is king? And authority content is “Kingier” #mpsis -@cknoch

The Risk

Blessin Lam referred to a University of San Francisco study that showed 50% of consumers don’t know what the term “sponsored” means. While I couldn’t find this exact reference in their study, I did find this finding on users actions after they’ve clicked on a native ad:

Only 50% read the story they clicked on, if that. Now you’re down to a much smaller percentage who sees the ad, much less realizes it’s an ad. -Dan Greenberg, Chief Executive Officer, Sharethrough, Co-Chair of Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Native Advertising Taskforce

Do customers know they are clicking on native ads? Do they know what the labels mean when they come across them on a website—sponsored, ad, advertorial, etc..?

Mobile: Does the device matter?

Reaching mobile users using advertising channels continues to be a hurdle. Native ads on mobile are really the only option.

Measurement & Attribution

“Attribution is about making the right decision for your business not the right decision for the channel” – Ryan Durham

Attribution and channel measurement continues to be an important topic among every panel discussion so far. The native panelists discussed 2 key approaches. Measuring reader engagement and measuring the actions of customer.

Measuring engagement can include time on the page, number of social shares, comments and visits. While measuring the actions of customers can include response, conversion and average order.

Native advertising most often serves customers at the top of the funnel, building awareness and influencing consideration of prospective customers. With a last click attribution model, native advertising would rarely be viewed as justifiable. Funding a native ad channel is key to build a successful program.

A better approach is to consider the entire customer path and account for each “touch point”, which often requires a sophisticated attribution model. Ryan Durham explained their attribution model changed the game for Dish Network – and enabled testing of new models such as Native ads. If you have a small amount of ad budget allocated for native ads that requires a strong ROI, balance the native ad budget against an optimized ad channel.

Who owns native advertising?

A quick show of hands showed mixed results. Native is being managed by search marketers, display advertisers, and content marketers. But where does it belong?

Native ad media buying often looks like display advertising, the pricing looks similar to paid search, customer intent is more closely aligned with display & social and content planning is born out of the content marketing strategy. So where does native ad management belong. This panel was mixed, most agreed that it’s best managed cross channel with analysis resources, media planners and content creators working together.

“As consumers become aware that native ads are, um, ads, banner blindness will ensue” – Alok Jain

Sure, native was all the rage in 2013 — but there is a lot to learn and define. We can start by applying the basics of advertising and content marketing to the native channel. Create great content, serve it to the right audience, and earn new customers. The opportunity is only getting bigger, and brands need to define their strategy before jumping in.



Padmini Murthy

About Padmini Murthy

Padmini is a marketer, a mom and a musician (the 3Ms). She loves to read about new and emerging technology. She has successfully led marketing initiatives for mobile, cloud, semiconductor and now, eCommerce. In her last position as a marketing head for a mobile company, she helped the company triple their revenue in less than 3 years. She has several marketing publications and her case study on InfoSys and the challenge of global branding was published by the Harvard Business Review.

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