Marketers: Stay on brand and connect with consumers

By Paul Caluori

It’s a tale as old as the internet: How can advertisers create content that engages potential customers without sacrificing their brand’s integrity? We asked executives from Nativo for their insights.

Editor’s note: The Associated Press is working with Nativo to assist AP members with content marketing and native advertising. To see our Q&A discussing native advertising for publishers, click here.

Paul: Why should advertisers go native?

Justin Choi

Justin Choi, president and CEO, Nativo: Consumers are becoming increasingly blind to disruptive advertising strategies. Native advertising allows marketers to engage potential customers with content that informs and influences, not interrupts.

Native advertising has proven to be more effective than traditional digital advertising – brand recall doubles, and time spent on content increases to five times the industry benchmark for rich media.

How can advertisers ensure content will resonate with potential customers while remaining true to their brand?

Sarah Mandato, director of content labs, Nativo: If content isn’t high quality or doesn’t resonate with readers, readers won’t engage, making for an unsuccessful marketing initiative. Not only is that a poor use of advertiser time and money, it can also negatively impact purchaser decisions.

Content needs to be “on brand” while also reflecting how publishers typically speak to their audience. It should be contextually relevant and fit in with the information around it.

If the advertiser can provide value by educating, informing or entertaining, it won’t turn audiences away. Instead of pushing a particular product, it should focus on themes and culture.

Position content for dialogue, not a hard sell.

Why is it important for native advertising to match the look and feel of other content on the site?

Justin: Native advertising is about being non-interruptive, and that requires aligning the native ad to the look, feel and behavior of the other content on the site. Native ads that look out of place hurt the user experience — imagine if Twitter placed banners instead of promoted tweets within their feed. When a reader clicks on a native ad, he or she should stay within the site and not be directed to a third-party experience.

When a user’s experience with brand content is seamless and aligned with their expectations, it has a higher likelihood of driving authentic engagement. Truly native content generates four times more engagement and 15 times more time spent consuming it than other “native” advertisements that lead traffic away from the site.

Bad or unexpected user experiences result in increased ad blocking and an overall weakened response to native ad formats.

How difficult is it for advertisers to incorporate and measure the impact of native advertising?

Sarah Mandato

Sarah: All marketing campaigns should include content, but few readers actually visit a brand’s website to consume it. You have to bring content to the readers, wherever they are, so building native distribution into your plan is a must. My sense is that the hurdle is wrapping one’s mind around a “new” channel and adapting your media plan accordingly.

Look for partners who can help you reach your desired audience. They should provide metrics and recommendations that address your organization’s needs, goals and key performance indicators. Work with someone who makes it easy to understand why something performs well or doesn’t.

How can native advertising from AP, delivered through Nativo, generate revenue for advertisers?

Justin: Great content increases interest at all stages of the consumer decision journey. All action starts with attention and influence and there is no better way to drive that than with content — and native is the best strategy for driving scaled engagement with content, leading to greater conversion rates.

By developing content that facilitates positive relationships with audiences and scaling it with AP’s distribution network, brands can achieve high impact and vast reach.

How does the combination of Nativo’s platform and AP’s content differ from other options on the market?

Sarah: Using AP Content Services for content creation means you have one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering applying its experience and expertise. AP knows what works, and its team of freelance Content Services writers, photographers and videographers can craft content people want to consume.

Additionally, through the Nativo platform, advertisers access premium data on their content investment. The platform conducts A/B tests to optimize headlines and preview images for the most efficient engagement, deriving insights valuable for the advertiser for future campaigns as well as larger marketing initiatives.

Paul Caluori

Paul is the director of digital services at The Associated Press.

insights, content services, advertising