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4 Native Advertising Best Practices for Local Businesses

By Jenna Bruce on Tue, Apr 05, 2016 @ 01:00 PM |


Have you tried native advertising yet? If not, let me throw a couple of quick stats at you:

  • Research from BIA/Kelsey suggests that native advertising on social media alone will grow to $5B in 2017. That’s up from $3.1B in 2013.
  • A 2013 study conducted by Sharethroughfound that consumers engaged with native ads 53% more frequently than display ads. The study also found that native ads resulted in an 18% lift in purchase intent than banner ads.

These numbers speak to the effectiveness of native ads and the ability they have to help small, local businesses create additional revenue streams.

Why Does Native Advertising Work So Well?

Native ads are essentially content marketing and are used to build relationships with consumers, not sell to them.  They are called “native” because they mimic the content around them. For instance, in a health and fitness magazine, a native ad may appear as story or column about a new dieting trend.

Because they blend in with the editorial content, consumers do not view them as ads so much as valuable information. The only thing really separating these ads from the editorial content is a surreptitious label indicating the content is sponsored.

Nowadays, native ads are all around us. They are on Facebook as News Feed ads, Twitter as Promoted Tweets, as well as in other digital channels, and can be placed almost anywhere within that media.

4 Native Advertising Best Practices

As with any advertising strategy, your success will be determined by whether or not you’ve used the best (or worst) practices. Here are some of the best for developing and launching native advertisements.

Be SubtleBe Subtle

You’re probably used to creating ads that stand out and grab attention, but native ads work because they blend in to their surroundings. You’re Elmer Fudd and you’re hunting rabbit. Are you going to wear bright orange hunting garb so you can be easily spotted, or camouflage so you can blend in and get that bunny?

Make sure your font’s color and style blend in with the editorial content of the publication, and opt for light shading as opposed to high-contrast backgrounds.

Develop Strong Headlines

Here is where native ads are similar to other forms of advertising. Just like developing headlines for print ads, blog posts or email subject lines, you want to be sure you create a headline that gets the readers’ attention quickly.

The key is to make sure you promote benefits in your headline. What does the reader get if they take the time to read your entire ad? Remember, native ads are content, like an article, and they will require a reader to commit a bit of time. So be sure you talk up those benefits right away.

Will the reader learn how to lose belly fat in 21 days? How to retire to somewhere tropical and affordable? Or how to remove the stains from their kitchen countertops?

Besides leading with benefits, be straightforward, not coy or clever, and keep your headlines short and sweet.

Make Your Ad Relevant

You won’t be successful if your ads aren’t contextually relevant. Native ads have one job and one job only: to serve the reader. Once the reader is served, then the brand can be served, but only in this order.

No sales pitch or same-old-same-old brand messaging will do. You must give consumers what they expect: content they actually care about and that helps them in some way.

Partner with Trustworthy PublishersPartner with Trustworthy Publishers

The value of your add can only be as good as the publication it appears in. Partner with a publication that has a loyal and trusting following and you can leverage their credibility.


Native advertising may be just what your integrated campaigns have been missing. If you follow these 4 best practices, you’ll have the best chance of connecting with prospects and nurturing lasting relationships.

 Download this fact sheet and learn 10 reasons why newspapers are still an effective advertising channel.

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