Almost overnight, native advertising has emerged as a viable revenue stream for leading media companies like Digiday, Forbes, Business Insider—the list goes on. But what about smaller, niche publishers? Is native advertising a numbers game, or is there value in helping advertisers reach a smaller, niche audience?
The answer is far from black and white and depends on the unique consideration of your audience and advertiser partners. You need to take a step back, evaluate your position in the market, and determine whether native fits into your core strategy. This process of analysis may surprise you: even if you’re a small publisher, native advertising may be the perfect way to build upon the value that you deliver.
Here’s Why Publishers of All Sizes Should Consider Native
Worried That Your Reach is Too Small?
For many brands and media companies, native advertising is a numbers game: the goal is to reach as many eyeballs as possible. You may think that as a small publisher, you’re unable to deliver the high view counts that advertisers expect to see. But there’s more to the story.
There are many publishers who are in your exact position. Why not sync up with them to create a unified native ad offering? You can share traffic across platforms, cross-promote your ads to one another’s mailing lists, and split ad revenues based on the proportional value that you’re delivering. You can also work together to keep costs down. There’s no reason why native should be limited to the big media players.
Think Native is Too Expensive for Your Advertisers?
Smaller publishers will often appeal to smaller advertisers who have limited budgets for top-of-funnel advertising. Sponsored posts are challenging to produce and can cost thousands of dollars as a result—much more than display ad placements. When your advertisers compare the two based on cost alone, display and native, they’re likely to shy away.
When it comes to native, however, cost is only part of the equation. The fact is that you can’t compare the two mediums, display and native, because they have very different use cases. Display is a megaphone-style technique for broadcasting a marketing message. Native, on the other hand, provides a platform for media companies and advertisers to converse with their audiences in-depth.
When communicating the value of native to your advertisers, prioritize quality over quantity. Native can be more expensive than other forms of advertising, but the quality of leads and clicks will be higher because audiences will be more engaged. With native, you appeal to human nature, not eyeballs.
Wondering Whether Audiences Will Pay Attention?
It’s no secret that digital audiences ignore anything that looks like an ad. Study after study shows the prevalence of banner blindness online: people are clicking away from marketing messaging, no matter how good it looks.
The bottom line is that people are on your website to browse your great content. The best way for your advertisers to make an impression, as a result, is to fit into that ecosystem. In the wake of ad-blockalypse, native advertising is one of the few formats that can still break through to readers—particularly on mobile where pop-up and display ads are even more obtrusive. Just take a look at the reasons why consumers ignore banner campaigns: often, the value proposition isn’t strong enough to strike an emotional chord.
Native is integrated into your website’s core browsing experience. It really is another article on your website and when executed well, is something that your audience will enjoy and even share.
By now, you have a stronger understanding of what the first paragraph of this blog post was hinting: every publisher can be a strong fit for native advertising.
If you’re not sure how to get started, talk to your advertisers and audience. Understand how these two groups’ interests align, and develop a native advertising program that is unique to your own media ecosystem. There’s always an opportunity to reach and engage your advertisers’ target audiences in engaging ways. Listen, learn, and help your sponsors create great content.