Major news portals, industry publications and blogs are offering advertisers the ability to promote to their audience using formats that replicate the editorial content they produce. Dubbed “native advertising”, it offers those that are promoting financial services online the capacity to expand marketing reach and effectively engage audiences - breaking through the noise of competing online advertisements.
What Is Native Advertising?
Native advertising looks to engage users by promoting content in the context of the website in which the advertisements are placed - matching the form and function of the experience that is anticipated.
Whilst more traditional online advertising looks to disrupt a website user – pushing a call to action that in most cases entice them away from their current online activity ( call now, fill out this form, visit this website), native advertising encourages users to continue to engage with content in a similar format to which they are currently experiencing.
Fairfax publications The Age and Sydney Morning Herald both offer the capacity for advertisers to feature sponsored articles alongside their own editorial content. A user reading news on their tablet over a morning coffee, may spot a headline of interest - "How to Get More Out of Retirement Finances" and click through to find out more. They are presented with content on topic– essentially continuing to read and engage with the publication. It is no co-incidence that the content, whilst written by "an an independent writer and consultant", is relevant to services ANZ provide (who paid for the placement), and that the page is heavily branded with ANZ advertisements.
Break Through The Noise
The competition when promoting services online is fierce. When browsing the web, we are constantly hit over the head with marketing messages – it is impossible to absorb, let alone pay attention to every message sent our way.
Advertisers compete for the hearts and minds of online audiences with both other advertisers, and also with the mind of the audience itself – many who actively choose to block out known advertising via browser extensions like ad bock, and others who passively ignore adverting, de-sensitized to standard online advertising practices.
Native advertising presents an opportunity to break through the noise - leveraging the affinity users invest in publishers of content, and their desire to seek and engage with valuable, helpful or entertaining content.
The Goldman Sachs commissioned Interactive Guide to Capital Markets, published on the New York Times website, is an example of how native advertising content can be of high value for readers - as Joe Lazauskas of Contently writes:
“It’s an area of expertise for the investment bank, which gives readers a reason to trust the content; and more importantly, many people pay for that investment knowledge.”
In return Goldman Sachs receive a chance to build affinity for their firm. Speaking of the project, Amanda Rubin, head of brand and content strategy stated:
“There was a point in time when there was a narrative about the firm that was crafted by everyone but us, and we had to add our voice to our conversation...What we found is when people engage with us through content we created, content we sponsored, they tend to come away with a more positive impression of us.”
Reach a Wider Audience
For companies looking to diversify their online marketing initiatives, native advertising presents a flexible medium in which to communicate value. Through the curation of advertising partners and the tone and style of content used for promotion, initiatives can be adapted for products targeting niche audiences – by advertising with publishers that specialise on selected industries, or products with wider appeal – featuring content on popular, high traffic websites.