The concept of native, sponsored, or 'advertorial' content is not new to digital audiences, but when it comes to native video content, many publishers struggle to get beyond one-off executions. A recent Mixpo survey found 53% of publishers already offer a native advertising solution and 74% of respondents believe it is extremely or somewhat important to have a native product offering.
The opportunity lies in the execution: 47% of those marketers indicated they were unsatisfied with their ability to distribute native content. "Marketers want to spend money in this channel," says Rob Rasko, CEO of the consultancy 614 Group. "If publishers give them what they’re looking for, they’ll grow their revenue."
Benefits of Incorporating Video into Native Ad Products
For publishers, adding video to a native strategy provides an incremental revenue opportunity; video performs better and rightfully commands premium pricing.
Sports franchises have been early adopters of native video, as Ted Dalton, SVP Corporate Partnerships and Business Development of the Boston Celtics illustrates:
"The Celtics recognize fans will engage with the team beyond live games. We provide corporate partners ways to associate with the brand beyond traditional means. This includes 50+ hours of branded video content we produce and distribute, knowing our fans will access that content online and across mobile devices. There are more options than ever to deliver value to our fans and corporate partners alike."
TV has been in the native business for a long time. On-air promos and product placement are the original "native" ads. What's changed is technology and audience behavior. Online and mobile offer a deeper level of engagement than TV alone ever could. The challenge (and opportunity) is to extend co-branded video content in a multiscreen world that is relevant to audiences and scalable for publishers.
Marketer Benefits for Native Video Advertising
TV has traditionally done native advertising through on-air sponsorships and product placements. With the proliferation of video and resources devoted to its production, only a fraction of this content ever makes it to "TV." With digital native advertising, brands can make their video available to consumers that is contextually aligned to publisher’s content, providing more engagement in a trusted environment.
Native content has the added benefit of reaching an audience that has "opted in." This means brands can break out of the restrictive formats of 30-second spots and clutter of "tagged" promo spots and embrace formats that offer long-form options and interactive experiences.
Best Practices for Native Video Ads
1. Context is Key
Create compelling native ads and ensure brand content is contextualized for the publisher's site. Let the publisher determine the delivery mechanisms that are most appropriate for their audience, whether that's "opt-in" native video experiences that spawn out of display, interactive pre-roll, or directly within news feeds and content modules. Be sure the experience is appropriately consistent across formats and screens.
2. Easy Access
Publishers should limit the number of clicks it takes for users to get to native video content. For example, if the user clicks on a native ad, have it automatically play the video, streamlining the "work" to opt-in to the experience.
3. Strong Supporting Content
Have the native ad unit include additional relevant content directly in the ad. For example, an ad with panels can include visual links to additional long or short form content. Make it easy for consumers to interact and engage on their terms.
4. Distribution and Sharability
Bring scale and social to the campaign. The native experience can be placed beyond O&O sites through audience extension partnerships. Earned media adds greater reach through social sharing. Advertisers want lots of engagement. Great video gets shared.
The Time is Now, There are Vendors Who Can Help
Native advertising is not hype. Including video in your native ad solution increases revenue by leveraging existing, high-value brand content that delivers better performance and reach for brands.
When developing native advertising products, particularly with video, you don't have to go at it alone. Plan for scalability and flexibility. The true promise of native is to create a mutually beneficial solution with better content delivering better performance. Make sure your vendor can differentiate your native ad products through a collaborative process that supports your unique editorial, sales and brand requirements.
David Cole is VP Sales & Business Development, Publishers at Mixpo