Native Advertising: This is Not Your Father’s Ad Impression

Great innovators like David Ogilvy and William Bernbach paved the way for the creative movement in advertising during the 60s. It was their iconic campaigns that made agencies rethink their approach to marketing their clients’ products. And of course, there is also the famous line from creative director Joel Machak in the 1980s Oldsmobile ad campaign (referenced in the title of this post) that filled the television airwaves and became one of the most recognizable commercial slogans in recent ad history.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fangirl of these great (m)ad men. But unfortunately, today’s audiences have become immune to catchy jingles, witty slogans and tantalizing copy.

With the introduction of social media, marketing has become more about building relationships rather than building television commercial campaigns that reach mass audiences in one fell swoop. Social media advertising, on the other hand, can allow you to reach people who are already interested in your product, while also building brand awareness.

As opposed to disruptive advertising, which often annoys consumers, native advertising is a method of online advertising that is defined as when an advertiser gains attention by providing content in the context of a user’s experience. The sole purpose of this concept is to make paid advertising less intrusive, and thus, increase the likelihood a user will click on the ad. The idea is that the formatting of the ad is “native” to the content on the page, making it more consistent with the other relative media. These ads match the visual design of the web page and feel like natural content.

What it Looks Like

Native advertising has reached almost every social media platform out there, along with other major publications. Sometimes these ads are not so obvious. On Facebook, for example, you could easily mistake the ad for content in your news feed; hence the name native advertising. Ads for each platform are constantly changing. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all other popular social networks are constantly changing the ads they offer. If you are considering native advertising, it is important to stay on top of these changes. Here are a few examples I found while scrolling through my personal social accounts and on major online-publication sites:

Facebook – News Feed Ads

facebook ad

Facebook – Suggested Post

facebook ad 1Twitter – Promoted Tweet

twitter ad

YouTube In- Stream Ads

youtube ad

YouTube – Ads

youtube ad 1


LinkedIn – Sponsored Post

Linked In ad

Pinterest – Promoted Pin

pinterest ad

Instagram Sponsored Posts

instagram ad

BuzzFeed – Promoted Stories

buzzfeed ad

Keys to a Successful Native Advertising Campaign

Looking to start a new ad campaign? In order to execute a successful native advertising campaign it is necessary to follow these simple steps:

  1. Build Trust

It has been said, “people love to buy, but they hate to be sold.” Your audience will be more receptive and pleased if your advertisements are offering them more than just why they should buy your product. Once your audience starts to feel they are being “sold,” this is where you lose trust.

  1. Well Developed Content Strategy

A native advertising campaign isn’t meant to be developed overnight. It takes time and careful thought to prepare your strategy. Be sure your content is in line with your brand’s voice, tone and overall goal. When all is said and done, the content of the campaign should absolutely not be disruptive in anyway.

  1. Make it Share-Friendly

Native advertising is all about being social, so you’re wise to make your content sharable. If its content posted on your website or blog, it should be set up with the appropriate plug-ins or apps to be tweeted, liked, shared, pinned, reposted and so on. A key to making your ad sharable is providing emotional and visual appeal.

  1. Multi-Device Compatible

In order to get your ad out there, the native advertisement must be compatible with desktop, mobile and tablet devices. This is just to make sure all your bases are covered.

  1. Measure and Analyze

In the beginning of your campaign, develop KPIs to be the baseline. Measure the campaigns data through appropriate analytical tools. Here is a great list of social media analytic tools.

What’s Next?

Everyone has their own opinion on the future of native advertising. If you ask me, native advertising is helping brands break the mold of what we think advertising is. This isn’t the 1960s. As consumers, we are able to turn the channel during commercials, DVR our favorite TV shows so we can skip the ads altogether when we go to watch them, or even upgrade our Pandora accounts so we don’t have to listen to ads. The new approach is to advertise your product by pairing it with relevant content, and even within a social context. Native ads are allowing advertisers to think outside the box of the banner ad and find out who their customers really are.

Numerous brands are making the switch to native advertising, will you?

Twitter Cards: Which Advertising Options are Best for Your Campaign?

All good things must come to an end, and in this case, they must now come with a price. The era of organic reach for brands is slowly dwindling, but smart marketers called that years ago. In June Facebook outlined why organic reach is declining (mainly due to mass amounts of content being created), and they offered Promoted Ads as a solution. Twitter is also making this shift and providing several options for brands and users.

Back in May I provided an overview of Twitter Ads and their advanced targeting options, which are very useful for lead generation. Since then, I’ve been able to sink my teeth into a Twitter service that several big brands are using called Twitter Cards.

Twitter Cards advertising opportunities were actually introduced in 2012 but are becoming more popular among marketers as the aforementioned organic reach disappears. Overall, the nine card options are useful to brands because they allow for photos, videos and media to be included in a tweet to complete three objectives: (1) increase engagement (2) provide a clearly stated call to action (3) drive app downloads.

Below I highlight the nine types of Twitter Cards available, starting with those that require coding. I also list key benefits and round it out with a Website Twitter Card case study from StrataBlue.

Pick a card, any card

Let’s start with the seven cards that require the most work. In order to launch the below cards, you must first install each card’s unique metadata to your website and then use the Twitter Card Validator. Once verified, your cards will show up in tweets and appear in the Twitter feeds of your intended targeted audience.

  1. Summary Card – This card serves as preview to a brand’s website and can include a snippet of web content like blog posts or restaurants menus. The biggest benefit of this card is that marketers can customize the content description in the card. Adios default text! Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Summary Card - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Summary Card with Large Image – With so much content being thrown at consumers, the Summary Card with a compelling image or graphic is a way to break through the noise and snag your reader’s attention. The image or graphic must be 280X150 pixels. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Summary Card with Large Image - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Photo Card – Highlight a chef’s dish or stunning photograph of your product with the Photo Card. The image will render across mostly all devices but must be 280X150 pixels. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Photo Card  - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Gallery Card – Highlight several pictures of an event you hosted or professional pictures of your company with this feature. You can also give credit to a photographer through coding. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Gallery Card - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. App Card – Direct download of  an app has never been easier. Although this is not available on mobile web yet, it is ready for Embedding the code allows your name, description, icon and a price to appear. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - App Card  - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Player Card – Rich media comes alive in users’ Twitter feeds with the option to embed video or audio. The process of installing the code is a little more complex, but have no fear, Twitter has guidelines to assist. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Player Card - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Product Card – Create an interesting visual to grab attention of a product you offer and instantly drive traffic to your website with this card. The extra information you can add, including a price and description off the product, can answer your prospects’ questions. Get the code now.
Twitter Cards - Product Card  - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

Now I’ll highlight the final two Twitter Card options that do not require coding and can be created within Twitter Ads under the “Creatives” menu:

  1. Lead Generation Card – Secure e-mail addresses for a webinar or newsletter with this simple step. Users’ Twitter e-mail addresses will already be pre-filled in the card and they will only have to click the button to submit. Create simple text explaining what users are signing up for and a simple call to action button. Twitter also provides you the option to download the generated leads at any time.
Twitter Cards - Lead Generation Card - Photo Credit: Twitter

Photo Credit: Twitter

  1. Website Card – Immediately drive traffic to a specific page on your website and include a compelling image or graphic with this card. If you are opting to include an image, be sure to follow these guidelines:

–          Max size is 1 MB

–          Minimum image width is 240 pixels

–          Minimum required image height is 96 pixels

–          Minimum 5:2 aspect ratio required

Putting the Website Card to the Test 

Recently, the StrataBlue team hosted a webinar on how restaurants can leverage OpenTable data to maximize profits. One strategy to gather e-mail addresses for the webinar was to run a Website Card to our target audience on Twitter for seven days. (We also pinned it to the top of our profile page, so when users searched for us or visited our profile directly, that would be the first post they saw.) Our call to action button read “Visit Now” and directed users to the sign up page.

Twitter Cards - Paid Media - StrataBlue Website Card - OpenTable Webinar

Running the Website Card was successful and we reached 8,381 people online but more importantly gathered e-mail addresses and participants for our webinar.

Interested in learning more about Twitter Cards and how to set one up? E-mail me at [email protected] or chat with me on Twitter at @whatupTUT.

Deciphering the Big Three: Paid, Owned and Earned Media

Sometimes us folks at online marketing agencies get so caught up in our own lingo that we often forget how to break it down for who we are working for: our clients! An online strategy plan for a client in the restaurant industry could have no idea what the difference is between owned and earned media and how they feed off of each other.

As a refresher and to help with communication when pitching an online social strategy, refer to the three explanations below when explaining why your client needs your services to conquer paid, owned and earned media.

Paid: Bottom line, if you are spending money from a client’s budget for a social strategy, coin it paid media. Paid media is excellent because you can control the content you distribute on different social channels to anyone online. Some examples of paid media include sponsored or promoted ads through Twitter, Facebook ads or pay per click campaigns. Using one or several paid media online strategies could help to drive traffic to a client’s website, assist in promoting a specific product or help to initiate conversations about the brand in general.

Owned: Owned media is created and controlled by the brand in different online channels such as a company website, LinkedIn or other social networks and newsletters. Like paid media, the content is controlled and distributed by the social media manager. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical for the owned media component. Content and links within the different channels for a brand should have strong keywords so the brand appears in Google or higher up in page rankings.

Earned: Earned media can most easily be described to clients as online word of mouth. Retweets, mentions, tags, shares, reviews and recommendations from fans mentioning a brand is earned media. This social strategy is where the client’s fans or customers play such a dominant role. Positive, or negative, customer shared publicity online is what potential customers will notice and consider first when searching out the brand. There is no control over what customers say online, however, there is control in how you respond as the social media manager for the client, which intertwines with the owned media aspect.

Paid, owned and earned media graph

It’s imperative to explain to your client, or potential client, that these three entities work together, not alone. For a more visual learner, take a look at the graph above from the view from here to fully understand how The Big Three work together.

Want to chat more about how The Big Three intersect when developing an online strategy? Leave a comment below!