Like so many of you, I’ve used Facebook for years and grown used to its innovative platform. While never perfect, Facebook has found a way to engage us by making its platform the “homepage” for our personal lives. One pioneering effort in how this strategy succeeded is how Facebook has made advertising blend seamlessly into our news feeds. So what does Facebook have to do with Google’s recent announcement that marketers can now deliver up native advertising programmatically? Let’s start by defining native advertising. It’s a form of paid media that blends into another piece of content consumed by a user. The consumer is almost “tricked” into reading the ad because it so seamlessly shapeshifts into the format where it’s displayed. Native ads can range from sponsored content by a brand to ad units taking the form and function of an article. Native advertising works, as seen by social media behemoths like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—and media companies like Time and Slate have also jumped on board in a big way. A recent report states that “native ads will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021.” Now thanks to Google’s new features within DoubleClick Bid Manager, serving up native ads will be easier than ever for marketers. Instead of the time consuming pre-planning and producing of ad content and design, marketers can now simply upload basic information—a headline, images, and content—and Google will automatically format that information so it displays properly on every channel and platform. This update is important to marketers for four reasons:
- Users want more content and less advertising. By blending in with content in the context of a user’s experience on a website, native advertising appears more relevant and valuable as content—not as an ad. While traditional advertising still works to a degree, native advertising helps marketers get content and messaging past ad blockers, people zoning out ads, and heaps of content and social noise.
- User experience matters when delivering advertising. Marketers work hard to create ads, but if they look bad or out of place then they won’t be clicked. Google’s new features automates native ad formatting so that it’s more likely the ad will present a positive experience for users across any device.
- Marketers now have more control over native ads. Instead of working heavily with designers and developers, many native ads can get created without technical help. That makes it easier for marketers to worry more about A/B testing and ad experimentation rather than display issues and errors.
- Native advertising performs better than display ads. Research shows that users seem to like native ads better than display ads. If Google makes native advertising easier, then it’s a no-brainer to do more of it.
Advertising is evolving as quickly as your Pokémons, and marketing and advertising teams need to stay ahead of the trends. Audiences are growing numb to traditional display ads, so start sharing ads-as-content so that your audience tunes in rather than tunes out your brand. Especially now that the process is easier than ever thanks to Google.