The best native advertising programs drive conversions, engagement, and revenue for online magazine publishers. Pinpointing exactly how to develop the kind of successful native advertising program that actually moves the needle on profitability, without being disruptive, is challenging. That makes learning about native advertising best practices especially important for online magazine publishers.
Native advertising is a type of branded content that visually mimics the appearance of the content where it’s placed. For online magazine publishers, native advertising usually comes in the form of written articles. Other digital media publishers have opened up the door to include sponsored video and audio content, as well.
One of the biggest questions we get about native advertising is how do you launch this kind of program and get businesses to sign up? You have to be careful if you’re a digital news or online magazine publisher, since native content and sponsored advertising can come off as unethical if it’s not clearly marked. Why? Because native advertising walks the fine line between editorial (free) and sponsored (paid) content. As the publisher, you know the article was paid for by the advertiser, but do all of your readers know that?
Clicks and impressions matter, but so does read trust. If you publish native advertising without marking it as such, you will lose the trust of your readers — and nobody wants that.
How do you run native advertising without losing the trust of your audience? How do you please your audience and your advertisers at the same time? This isn’t a trick question. It is possible to run native advertising in a way that generates revenue and actually strengthens the bond between the publication and its readership. To accomplish that, you’ll want to follow these native advertising best practices.
Native Advertising Best Practices – 5 Recommendations
1. Our best practice for most online magazine publishers is to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to native advertising. Publishers have found that high-quality native advertising generates a better return for advertisers and actually receives more favorable ratings from readers, as well.
2. Make it clear that native advertising is paid for by brand advertisers and that it is completely separate from editorial content. This distinction is important from a journalistic and an ethical point of view, but also from a broader marketing point of view, as well. Advertisers want to work with publications that have strong connections to their audiences. The best way to foster that connection with your audience is by being open and honest about all of your advertising practices, and making sure they understand the difference between articles that have been paid for and those that are written by editorial staffers.
3. Think outside the box when it comes to the kind of native advertising packages you can sell to advertisers. While written content is the most common type of native advertising, best practices don’t limit you to just one format. Video, audio, and other formats can open up the door to new opportunities with advertisers and serve as a valuable source of revenue.
4. Don’t forget about your testing capabilities. The most successful online magazine publishers are always testing and looking for new areas of growth. Since KPIs can happen both online and offline, it’s a good idea to ask advertisers what metrics they are focusing on in 2021. Those are the metrics you should be working to provide. The easier it is for advertisers to track their success with native advertising, the more they are going to spend on the channel.
5. When it comes to native advertising best practices, don’t assume that your ad placements have to be enormous. Online magazine publishers are having a lot of success with native ad placements that are smart and persistent. Native advertising doesn’t appear in the form of banner ads or pop-ups, like traditional display advertising. Since native ads are embedded on the webpage, it’s a good idea to make them persistent when possible. That means users will be able to scroll up and down the webpage without losing sight of the native ad. As a best practice, you might also consider leaving the native ad in the same place on the website for several days in a row, so visitors who are actually interested in the content can come back to view it again.
Despite the challenges that many publishers faced in 2020, there has been ample growth in native advertising as a channel. We expect to see even more interest in native advertising and other emerging advertising channels as we go into 2021. If you’d like more information about how to grow your own advertising programs, contact the digital advertising experts at Web Publisher PRO.