How Native Advertising Can Boost Content Marketing: 6 Key Takeaways [webinar recap]

How Native Can Boost Content Marketing


Here at IMI we’ve been using native advertising to distribute content for a while now. What we’ve found is: whether your budget is $50 or $50k, native advertising is a sure-fire way to amplify the reach of all that great content you’re creating.

We recently attended a webinar with Ural Cebeci from ScribbleLive & George Carney from Nativo about how native advertising can boost content marketing and want to share our findings.


Content marketers and advertisers are currently facing a big problem.

It’s no secret that ad blocking and “banner blindness” have changed the way marketers look at advertising. In fact, 86% of traditional banner ads go unseen and advertisers are wasting billions on ads that ultimately get blocked.

banner blindness and ad blocking stats

In addition, there’s more content being created now than ever before, but the consuming audience isn’t growing in proportion. And, if that wasn’t enough, content marketers aren’t always effective in connecting with their audience. According to a 2016 survey by the Content Marketing Institute, only 38% of content marketers would rate their organization effective at content marketing.

With these major shifts in the digital marketing landscape, what’s a marketer to do?


Good news! You can still reach your audience.

Yes, there is good news. You CAN still reach your audience thanks to the rise of content and native advertising. Nearly 90% of publishers are now offering native placement for content, either bought directly or through an exchange platform. Considering the fact you want your content to be on the sites where your consumers are already spending time, and publishers want to deliver relevant content, all you have to do to start is create great content.

“Maybe this whole native advertising thing is a chance for us marketers to get it right this time.” – Doug Kessler, Velocity


What Is Native Advertising?

Native advertising can be defined in many different ways, but for the sake of the webinar, the presenters chose to use the following definition from Nativo:

Brand content that looks, feels, and behaves like publisher editorial, preserving the expected consumer experience.

Given this definition, all native ads would seem to be the same, but marketers must consider their client or campaign’s specific goals when choosing from the 3 main types of native ads.

Recommendation Widgets

Examples: Outbrain, Taboola, Gravity, Adblade and Yahoo!

Recommendation widgets most often appear at the end of an editorial article. If your budget is minimal and your main goal is to drive traffic, a recommendation widget is the way to go.

example Outbrain ads

Source: New Content Collective, Mashable


Linked In Feed (also known as “in-feed click out execution”)

Examples: Sharethrough, Yahoo!, OpenX, triplelift, AdsNative and mopub
These ads always match the form of the site and are found sandwiched in between editorial content on a publisher’s site. Although considered a “good fit for both branding and DR campaigns” this is likely not the best choice if your goal is storytelling and engagement. Carney offers the warning that “because the execution is often a click-out, meaning that when the user engages with a native ad, they leave the site so it doesn’t mimic what often a user expects when they click on content.

example Adsnative ads


Endemic In Feed (True Native)

Examples: Forbes, BuzzFeed, The Wall Street Journal and Nativo

Truly native ads always match form and function. These ads are either bought at scale through an ad platform or directly from the publisher and typically, require a larger budget than the other 2 types of ads. You’ll also find another key difference in the user experience as these ads do not click-out to your site but rather deliver your content within the publisher’s site where the user is already consuming content they are interested in.


Source: Kissmetrics, Forbes

Source: Kissmetrics, Forbes

In our experience at IMI, we also know budget and resources will often dictate the type of ad platform you choose and advise marketers to do their homework. Request information and demos from as many platforms as you can in order to find the one that best suits your needs.

Consumers actually like native advertising.

According to a study from ScribbleLive, people prefer to get to know a company via an article rather than ads. When content is relevant and positioned correctly, it is valued as much as the other editorial on the page. Beware, however, consumers do not like to be tricked, so be sure to be transparent and include proper disclosure.


Native can be used to inform future content strategy.

In this webinar, Carney passionately stresses how “native advertising can be a testing channel for you to help inform your wider content strategy.” Consider using A/B testing across headlines, images, content, publisher sites and devices to discover which of your content receives the most engagement to improve overall performance. The presenters offer the concept of the Virtuous Cycle to simplify:

virtuous content cycle



Tag and retarget to connect the funnels.

Consumers use content to help inform major purchase decisions (also according to a study by ScibbleLive), so marketers should take advantage of this by “connecting the dots from upper funnel storytelling tactics to lower funnel conversion.” The key to this tactic lies within tagging engaged users of content and retargeting them through display ads to bring them closer to a conversion on your site. Most platforms now offer a tracking pixel making it easy for brands to implement on their own site.

Regardless of experience with paid media, marketers need to acknowledge this new digital ecosystem and experiment with native advertising if they want to sufficiently amplify their content. After all, content may be king, but “distribution is queen and she wears the pants.”

quote: "If content is king, distribution is queen and she wears the pants."


How Native Advertising Can Boost Content Marketing [Webinar] presented by Ural Cebeci from ScribbleLive & George Carney from Nativo

Native advertising: a chance for us to get it right Doug Kessler

25 Content Distribution Channels to Reach a Bigger Audience New Content Collective, Miguel Bravo

How B2B SaaS Companies Can Drive Sales With Display Advertising Kissmetrics

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