Five Native Advertising Fails to Avoid

native advertising fails

27 Feb Five Native Advertising Fails to Avoid

Native advertising fails are something everyone wants to avoid. One part of my role as managing editor at Content That Works is working with new advertisers to help them understand how native advertising can help their business or organization.

That means wrangling deadlines and writers to make sure the advertiser’s vision is captured in ad copy and delivered on time (and error free!) to the hosting publication.

It also means making sure our ads are successful and written with best industry practices. We want our native ad work to be the best in the business, and that means making sure that each ad succeeds.

Or, to put it another way, avoiding native advertising fails. So here are some things NOT to do:




Format Fail

Let’s take a look at where a native ad will appear: someone else’s website. Sure, it will be marked with a “sponsored content” label (as it’s legally required to be) but that doesn’t mean the ad itself can be written just any way you want.

Instead, it’s important to think about the content style of the site where readers will encounter the ad. A native ad that appears on the site of the Wall Street Journal is going to be written in a different manner than something that appears on BuzzFeed – and for good reason!

Think about the voice of the publication, and calibrate the ad to match in order to integrate it with the rest of the site much more easily.


Target Audience Fail

Native ads are written for a specific audience, and that should be reflected in the ad itself. The content should educate, entertain or both (which is best).

In other words, consider your target audience and give them useful information. If a business sells HVAC equipment and services, for example, think about what customers (homeowners or business owners) want to know. It’s likely they won’t be interested in the nuts and bolts of how an air conditioner is manufactured. Instead, a well-written native ad that offers seasonal tips or instructions on how to avoid a catastrophic breakdown, or what to do when one occurs, will keep their attention.


Keyword Fail

Everyone wants their business to be findable via search. Native advertising is a powerful way to build organic traffic through quality, keyword-laden content. That’s why we build relevant and consistent keywords into our ads at the advertiser’s request.

Also, we make sure native ads contain multiple links back to an advertiser’s website. That way, a search engine – whether Google, Bing, Ask Jeeves or Duck Duck Go – will be able to use the valuable, entertaining content to grow search traffic.


Shareability Fail

There’s a huge audience on social media, so native ads need to have a unique and entertaining “hook” to encourage sharing. Think about a unique lead, and include an interesting (or unusual) image.

At Content That Works, we include suggested social media posts with every ad produced. These are then used by a business or publication for ready-made social posting.


Call to Action Fail

When readers reach the end of a native ad, they should be given something to do next. It might be something as simple as calling a phone number from clicking a link. It might also be filling out a survey, viewing a video or making a donation. Readers have made it through to the end of the ad – prompt them on their next step.

What are some native advertising fails you recommend avoiding?

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