Digital Marketing Trends for 2019

To kick off 2019, we’ve identified the top trends you can leverage to improve your marketing strategy, reach a growing audience and boost branding and sales. We cover the advancement of voice search, the increased adoption of streaming video and the implications of artificial intelligence on how chatbots can improve your business to name a few.

Watch the webinar for a full breakdown of the 2019 trends worth noting for your marketing strategy.

5 Tips for Creating Native Ads That Drive Engagement


Since 2016, native ads have been the darling of the online publishing industry, showing double-digit growth year on year. Digital research firm eMarketer forecasts that spending on native ads will eclipse $33 billion this year. That's about a 30 percent increase from 2017, and a healthy expansion of this dynamic ad category.

Have you heard of native ads? Perhaps you've seen them in your social media feeds, on phone app news feeds, and on publisher sites on the web. Native ads are sponsored content pieces that are designed for, and live in, the environment on which they are published. Native ads follow the form and function of the publishing environment, and the content of the ads is often aligned with the publisher's look, feel, and style. 

Here are some key reasons for the explosive success of native ads in recent years:

  • Native ads significantly affect conversions and brand awareness. One study showed an 18 percent increase in purchasing intent by consumers after viewing native ads, and a near 10 percent uptick in brand affinity, compared to online banners advertising.

  • Consumers are more likely to check out a native ad than glance at a display ad banner.

  • Native ads reach digital consumers in ways that feel natural, not invasive. But striking that right balance is tricky. You need to create targeted native ads that have the look and feel of the sponsoring social platform, website, or publication, while standing out and positioning a brand in the right light.

Let's walk through some of the ways that digital marketers can create great native ads. For example, in your news and information feeds on your mobile device, alert users can see sponsored native ads fairly quickly. But to the untrained eye, they look like another story from a favorite publication. Therein lies the beauty of native ads: They blend into the environment with a marketing-sponsored message and call to action.

1)    Know the publisher's look, feel, style, and demographic audience. This is number one for your native advertising success. Know the culture and design of the site or platform on which you're aiming to place your native ad. Reflect the values, style, look, and feel of the content there in order for the audience to embrace your native ad with open eyes.

2)    Add value with useful information. Be the voice your audience wants to read. Show you know what they want. Do your research to make your sponsored content stand out. Bring some insider knowledge to the table, and share that info in your native ad to grow impressions.

3)    Include a brand logo to increase recognition. You can use the brand logo in your native ad, but be careful not to turn your content into a public relations piece for the brand. Native ads are all about showing value for the readers, not trumpeting your brand and assets.

4)    Choose supply partners that limit native ad space. Native ads will work better when they are used sparingly. Publishers and brands both know this. If a publisher oversells a platform or site with native ads, the tangible impact of those ads will decrease. Brands should look to partner with platforms and publishers that limit the number of native ads.

5)    Integrate your call to action seamlessly. In native ads, brands can discuss the value and opportunity of their products, and follow up that information with calls to action. But it's imperative to integrate that CTA so effortlessly into the content that the viewer may not even be aware it's a CTA. You want the reader to be so excited about the brand that moving ahead with a conversion is inevitable.

Other qualities involved in creating great native content include shareability and quality. Native advertising success can grow by imbuing the content with a viral nature to enhance the prospect of web shareability. By being distinctive in the quality of their native ads, brands will potentially attract more viewers with great content.

5 Ways to Take Advantage of Native Advertising


Native advertising is more powerful than you may realize. This form of advertising is like a chameleon — a piece of advertising that seamlessly fits into its environment, whether that's social media, a video channel on the web, photo streams, or other forms of content.

Experts predict this type of advertising may well dominate the market in the near future, and for good reason. It gets more views, higher engagement rates, a higher lift, cheaper costs per click, and a better click-through rate compared to traditional banner ads. This advertising also performs particularly well among the coveted millennial audience. If you aren't using it already, the time to get into native advertising is now. Here are five ways to get started.

Choose the Right Ad Channels and Platforms

For most brands, starting with a list of where you want your ads to appear is the easiest starting point. But you should know that it's not an option on every channel and platform. Start by taking that list and highlighting the ones that offer native advertising. Then take it a step further to find the channels that best align with your brand and target demographic.

Align Your Ad With User Intentions

Once you've identified your channels, it's important to make sure your native ads are in keeping with what users are looking for on those channels. For example, if you're among the 48 percent of marketers running native ads on Facebook, you want yours to look like something users would naturally see from their friends. Likewise, if you're creating a travel-focused ad, you wouldn't want to run it on a gardening website.

Consider Design a Top Priority

Mobile-first and "designed to fit in with the channel you choose" are two key design elements that you need to consider. Mobile-first is essential to providing a seamless user experience, which is more important than ever. Additionally, it should look like other content provided on the platform. Ideally, it should look even better and be a step above what everyone else is already doing.

Provide Value to Readers

Quality, relevance, and positioning your brand as an authority go a long way to gaining users' trust and engaging with your audience. Entertain them, inform them, challenge them — just make sure the content is on point and providing value all on its own, which will ultimately strengthen your marketing message.

Run A/B Testing on Ads

As important as location, design, and content are in native advertising, you can't really gauge how well your ads are working without testing them. A/B testing is a great tool that lets you optimize your native advertising to make sure it's perfectly placed and contains effective call to action (CTA) buttons, the right shading and colors to enhance user engagement, and the right image size and ratio to maximize ROI. A few A/B tests to consider include:

●      News feed mobile vs. desktop

●      A/B versions of your landing page with different color schemes, languages, and tones

●      Test creative and messages on age ranges within your target audience

When it's done correctly, native advertising offers readers fresh content and helpful information while offering brands and marketers a new, exciting, and effective means to get their message out there. Great headlines, great platforms, great design, and compelling content all add up to huge success.



They've Got the Power: 5 Ways Native Ads Beat the Competition


Brands are increasing their use of native advertising to connect with consumers and build trust. These ads mimic a publisher's or channel's editorial look, but are focused more squarely on consumers' interests and attention spans. Native ads are expected to become the fast-growing segment of digital advertising.

According to Business Insider, ad revenue from native advertising will make up some 75 percent of all U.S. display ad revenue in the next few years. Data from PwC, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and others were analyzed to note this growth, which is up from 56 percent of all display ad revenue in 2016.

From the consumer side, about one-quarter of consumers view native ads more frequently than display ads. Additionally, native ads help to increase purchase intent. One study showed purchase intent rises more than 50 percent with native ads compared to traditional online ads.

Higher Click-Throughs

A native advertising effectiveness study conducted by My6Sense found native ads that appear in feeds showed twice as many click-throughs and engagement rates as recommendation widgets, and nearly 10 times higher click-through rates and engagement than ad units.

The report also found native recommendation widgets are the most widely used form of native ad units (38 percent), followed by in-feed units (30 percent), in-ad units (25 percent), and textual and custom designs (7 percent). The data were derived from an analysis of the company's programmatic native ad platform from July through December 2017.

Leveraging the power of native ads is something advertisers should consider. Here are five more reasons advertisers can benefit from native advertising:

Native ads blend seamlessly with site content, so there's less resistance from consumers.

Native ads work because they resemble the editorial style of chosen publications on a consumer's feed. For this reason, they are better received by target audiences. Viewers may not see them as intrusive, and may read the content rather than gloss over it. "The Washington Post," for example, features a native ad that has the look and feel of an op-ed. Readers are more accustomed to that style, and more likely to click through to read the sponsored ad content.

Native ads' custom targeting can result in lower CPC and higher CTR.

Blatantly sponsored article content can turn off viewers, but bringing readers higher value with relevant, targeted paid content can bring about higher click-through rates (CTR) and a lower cost per click (CPC).

A business of any size can use native advertising to reach consumers.

Small, local brands can use native sponsored content in the same way as large advertisers. It's all about targeting your audience with relevant content. That's important to news publishers, who are increasingly offering native advertising formats. At least half of the respondents to a recent native advertising survey say they offer native ad formats; the other half are on their way to doing the same.

If a niche industry brand can use LinkedIn or Facebook to run B2C or B2B native ads to reach its small audience and achieve its CTR goals, then native advertising can be a valuable investment.

Native ads can get more shares because they're frequently paired with informative content.

Shareability is a large part of native advertising success. By combining useful content with relevant targeting, the probability of sharing grows.

Design your native ads with quality in mind. By leading your brand with seldom-seen topics, your sponsored content could attract far more viewers than with overused content.

Native ads attract consumers who are generally more interested and of higher quality.

The trust level of native ads has helped to make them relevant to smart consumers. They are likely to know the content of a native ad will be relevant to their interests. This cooperation between you and the consumer is one of the reasons for the growth of the sector and its continued quality.

Use of native advertising is expected to increase and evolve over the next few years as it maintains its leadership in online advertising.