Avoid these common native advertising mistakes

Aerial shot of a city street with text overlay “Avoid these 5 common native advertising mistakes; read the blog”

Native ads continue to entice marketers with their increased engagement and customizable functionality. In 2016, an estimated 56% of digital ad spend was through native (including Facebook ads). If native advertising trends of 2016 and 2017 continue, it's estimated that it will account for 74% of all digital spend.

As an emerging ad format, native advertising will continue to require education. A lack of strategy will sabotage your native campaign, true - but avoiding these mistakes will assure your native ad campaign sees optimal results.

Here are the top 5:

1. Unused Image Sizes

Because of the nature of programmatic native ads, publishers require image assets sized to best scale to their content feed. While standards are starting to be introduced, relying on only one main image size can result in missed impression opportunities (which means less reach and scale).

Do your platform research, discuss with your account team, and plan accordingly. Below are some of the most common image sizes used for native in the RTBiQ platform:

  • 1200x627


  • 600x315


  • 300x250

2. Overly-Broad Ad Content

Each native impression is an opportunity to create a conversation between the brand and the consumer. The audience modeling capabilities of RTB advertising - together with content-rich native ads - allow marketers to create ads tailored to their precise audience.

Over-generalized native ads don't see the engagement that more audience-tailored creatives see. The reason is simple: Consumers want to be spoken to, not at. This means having a message for each of your audiences. Tailor your messaging differently. Consider the following audience segments:

Site visitors by the pages they've visited

  • Site visitors by the actions they've taken or time spent on site

Current clients / shoppers by onboarding CRM data

  • Former clients / shoppers by onboarding CRM data

3rd Party audience segments

3. Too Much Focus on Context

Context has its place, but it shouldn't rule your media plan. Real-time bidding's arguably largest benefit is its ability to connect brands and consumers, no matter where the consumer is online. Focusing too much on the audience of any given publication or the content surrounding the message results in higher CPMs, negotiations for private deals, and the messaging only being shown to a small pool of individuals.

Be ready to reach your audience no matter what they're browsing, and catch their attention with tailored messaging.

4. Not Enough Focus on Quality

Context aside, marketers must be aware of the quality of their placements. Many so-called "native" technology providers cram ads together in small spaces, strip the content of the message out, and put real ads together with sensationalist headlines.

Maintain control of your native placement, and don't get fooled by so-called "native" providers who don't take your message seriously.

5. Lack of Testing

3 Images. 3 Titles. 3 CTAs. 3 Description texts. This is the bare minimum that RTBiQ recommends. All in all, you should have 9 native units ready to go, testing each image asset with each title and CTA. Too many marketers think of native as a "one-asset" format, when in actuality it's the perfect format for A/B testing of creative assets.

Ultimately, the lesson is to test, segment, and act on your learnings. Native is the perfect tool for testing messages and imagery against multiple audience segments. Stay on top of quality, but don't focus too much on context - your audience consumes many different types of content.