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Native Advertising: An Introduction for PPC Marketers

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Consumer priorities are shifting rapidly as the world faces an unprecedented healthcare crisis.

Sensitivity to consumers’ needs is more critical than ever.

Brands must think carefully about how to engage with consumers in meaningful ways that not only increase conversions but help build brand trust.

Throughout the day, we consume content from blogs, news channels, television shows, social media channels, etc.

All of that content has the potential for native ad placements, which is why the native industry can be complex.

Advertisers know that in order to reach their target customers, they need to have a presence on channels where consumers spend their time.

This is where native comes into play.

Native advertising has been around for about a decade, but through the use of AI and machine learning to power its audience-first targeting, it’s more powerful and effective than ever.

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According to an IPG Media Lab study, 71% of consumers say they personally identify with a brand after viewing its native ads.

Is Content Network Targeting the Same as Native?

In short, no.

The content networks or yore through Microsoft Advertising and Google Ads was contextual targeting at its simplest – it predominately was keyword-based targeting on a syndicated network of content that allowed text ads to appear near various types of content such as text, videos, images.

The impression volumes were high and the click-through rates were low and the conversion rates were dismal.

But for most the goal of the content network was never last-click attribution – it was to drive reach and awareness (at first.)

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But native today isn’t the contextual targeting of yore.

Microsoft deprecated the content network in 2017.

However, Google Ads still allows content targeting in the Google Display network.

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Unlike the content network, native ad placements are not based on the keyword or the keywords within the article on page, they are based on audience targeting.

It is worth noting that Google Ads still allows content targeting in the Google Display Network based on:

  • Topics: Pages about specific topics. Google Ads uses factors such as text, language, links and page structure to determine the topics of a page.
  • Placement: Specific websites, or subsets of a website.
  • Keywords: Just that, keywords.
  • Display expansion for search: A combination of automated bidding and smart targeting.

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What Is Native Advertising?

According to the Native Advertising Institute, native advertising is paid advertising that matches the form, feel, and function of the content media and platform upon which it appears.

The publisher controls and is responsible for rendering the ad.

Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t really look like ads; rather, they look like part of the editorial flow of the webpage.

For example, a native ad might show up within an article you’re reading on your favorite online news source, or as a post on your Facebook feed.

Native ads are intentionally non-disruptive and more contextual than display or banner ads.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), there are six types of native advertising:

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  • Paid search ads appear at the top of — and look like part of — your Google search results.
  • In-feed placements appear directly in the article or blog post.
  • Recommendation widgets appear on a publisher’s website and presents recommended content or products that are related to the content you’re already consuming.
  • In-Ad with native elements look like typical ads but they are contextually relevant to the site on which they appear or the content you’re consuming.
  • Custom ads can appear within your app interface, such as a new filter in Snapchat.
  • Promoted listings, also referred sometimes as sponsored content, are designed to fit seamlessly into the browsing experience.

Sharethrough reports that native ads receive 53% more views than traditional display ads and increase purchase intent by 18%.

It’s no wonder two-thirds of all display spend ($44 billion) was spent on native advertising in the U.S. in 2019 and accounted for 61% of total digital display ad spending.

Is Native Advertising Programmatic?

It depends. (A marketer’s favorite answer.)

Programmatic is an automated way to buy the advertising placements.

Programmatic marketing uses real-time systems, rules, and algorithms to automate either targeted placements and/or creative experiences (ads themselves.)

Programmatic native ads add more power by leveraging machine learning and contextual signals to customize the ads by placing them at the appropriate place to reach the right audience and the audience preference.

Not all native advertising is programmatic.

Is Google Display Native Advertising?

Yes, Google Display & Video 360 has native creative formats that can be integrated into a display campaign.

The native creative can target:

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  • App install (Google Play or Apple App Store).
  • Site creative (square or rectangular display format).
  • Video (similar to site creative, but uses video instead of an image.)

The native creative is based on a bundle of assets and can include the following components: an image or video, headline, body text, call to action, logo or advertiser name.

” alt=”Examples of Google Display & Video 360 native ads ” width=”600″ height=”255″ data-src=”https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/googledisplay-video360-example-5e8383aec78c5.png” data-=”” />

Is Microsoft Advertising Native Advertising?

Yes, Microsoft Advertising has native ads through the Microsoft Audience network.

It is a programmatic native ads platform that pulls in audience data and intent signals from the Microsoft Advertising Graph to determine optimal placements at scale.

” alt=”Visual examples of Microsoft Audience network placements for image ads, text ads, and product ads across the audience network.” width=”936″ height=”661″ data-src=”https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/microsoftaudienceads-examples-5e838860b338a.png” data-=”” />

Currently, Microsoft Audience Ads are available in three formats:

  • Image ads.
  • Text Ads.
  • Product Ads.

They can be set up as part of an existing search campaign that is extended to native or as a separate audience campaign.

Even if you choose to opt into the Microsoft Audience network from within your search campaigns, the ad placement is based on audience targeting using the Microsoft Graph.

The Microsoft Advertising Graph captures billions of signals across our consumer products, such as browsing data, search history and behavior, and deep profile data from LinkedIn.

Microsoft’s audience network spans:

  • A wide range of brand-safe environments, including MSN, Outlook.com, and Microsoft Edge.
  • Select premium partner properties such as CBS Sports, Everyday Health, Fox Business, the Atlantic, Apartment Therapy, and Reuters.

According to ComScore, the Microsoft Audience Network reaches 92% of the online audience throughout the U.S.

AI-Powered Placements Focused on Quality & Giving Complete Control to the Advertiser

The audience network was created with two priorities in mind: quality and control.

  • Quality results from high-quality placements of highly relevant ads.
  • Control encompasses its ability to provide brand-safe environments and data privacy.

Microsoft enforces strict publisher standards and reviews and publisher partners are closely managed and thoroughly vetted.

There is an ongoing ad placement quality monitoring and controls to help you manage where your ads appear, as well.

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Global blocklists and the ability to exclude certain sites gives you even more control – and peace of mind.

The Success of Native Advertising Depends on Trust

Native advertising has grown in popularity because of success with engaging audiences and their ability to connect brands to consumers effectively.

However, when consumers don’t trust a brand, native ads lose their effectiveness.

Likewise, marketers also believe that they need to trust the distribution channels and environments their ads appear.

eMarketer’s 2018 study, The Brand Saftey Dilemma, found that 57.5% of more than 100 CMOs surveyed stated that they will focus their future advertising spendings on whether a distribution channel can provide secure environments.

How do organizations establish and maintain consumer trust?

By putting long-term strategies in place for actively engaging with consumers, listening and acting on customer feedback, adhering to data privacy and protection, and being transparent and authentic.

iProspect proposes that there are three key components to consumer trust: credibility, relevance, and reliability.

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  • Is your brand competent and legitimate?
  • Do you listen to and act on customer feedback and provide relevant content, products, and services?
  • Do you deliver a consistent experience that meets customer expectations across every customer interaction?

Brands that can answer yes to these questions are earning consumer trust, and native advertising done well can reinforce this effort by helping them deliver credible, relevant and consistent messaging.

With many available offerings, it’s critical to choose the right advertising partner – one that will enable you to get the best return on your investment.

Native Case Studies: Reaching Untapped Audiences

By applying advanced AI algorithms to this set of user attributes, Microsoft can determine when and on what platforms to reach users with highly relevant content, without damaging the trust those users have in your brand.

Ads are credible, relevant and consistent – but not invasive or intrusive.

As a result, click-through rates on the Microsoft Audience Network are consistently higher than on other native platforms delivering ads on those same properties.

For example, based on partner and internal data, click-through rates are consistently higher than other native platforms that are delivering ads across the same properties:

  • 2X higher on MSN Infopane.
  • 1.2X higher on Outlook.com.
  • 3X higher on publisher partner sites.

Driving Awareness & Leads Across Volvo’s Funnel

Volvo and marketing agency Mindshare decided to test the Microsoft Audience network as a strategy to support awareness and help maintain sales for their best-seller the XC90 luxury SUV.

Mindshare used audience campaigns to scale their marketing efforts, keeping the ads visually consistent with their social media efforts and using streamlined ad copy to reach their target audiences.

They combined LinkedIn, gender, remarketing and In-Market audience data to find new audiences to target and to uncover previously untapped audiences.

The campaign drove significant traffic and exceeded their expectations with conversions:

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  • 65,000 incremental site visits.
  • 83% increase in clicks from remarketing.
  • CPA on-par with their non-brand search campaigns.

Buyzone Driving Leads & Reaching Untapped B2B Audiences

Running native campaigns in conjunction with search campaigns helped Buyerzone reach business-to-business audience.

Buyerzone connects buyers with sellers in real-time. Like many lead generation companies, they were looking for conversions they can monetize into leads that can then be sold to a seller.

They needed native to be a cost effective buy that would not only drive leads, but leads that convereted for their sellers.

Buyerzone was a beta-tester of native ads through the Microsoft Audience network and saw:

  • 1,700% increase in impressions.
  • 20% profit increase on top of their traditional search campaigns.
  • 75% decrease in CPC.

Alan Barish, senior online marketing analyst from BuyerZone said, “almost every single conversion we’ve gotten from the Microsoft Audience Network has converted into a lead, which is amazing.”

Native combined with search can help advertisers reach new audiences across the funnel to help drive growth that is incremental to their existing search campaigns.

Maintaining Trust & Engagement in Uncertain Times

Never in modern history has it been so critical to create meaningful connections between your brand and consumers, and earn and maintain their trust.

With data privacy rising to the forefront of consumers’ consciousness and as recent global events add complexity to the consumer-brand dynamic, delivering targeted, trusted and relevant content is a critical strategy for continued business growth.

Be thoughtful with your images and your copy during these challenging times so that your native ads don’t come across as tone-deaf.

Start with a foundation of trust, success is inevitable.

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Test using native as a way for your brand to make meaningful connections with consumers that build trust and drive conversions, setting the stage for ongoing credibility, relevance, and consistency, even in uncertain times.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, March 2020

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MARKETING

8 Best Tactics to Lead a Team with Zero Experience

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8 Best Tactics to Lead a Team with Zero Experience

‘How to lead a team?’

This is a burning question for team leads, especially first-time managers.

The ultimate purpose of team leads is to encourage and help their team deliver peak performance while nurturing their skills. They need to establish clear expectations and supervise their team to achieve business goals efficiently.

However, developing effective leadership skills requires considerable experience. To lead a team with zero experience can be thus daunting and overwhelming.

If you are a first-time manager, you should embark on your journey by understanding your role and responsibilities. Taking small yet thoughtful steps will help you develop essential leadership skills.

In this post, we will share the eight best tactics that will help you lead a team with zero experience.

Key Tips to Lead a Team with No Experience

Here’s the comprehensive list of best tips and practices to help you lead a team successfully.

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#1: Admit Experience Limitations to Your Team

Helen Hayes once quoted –

“The expert at anything was once a beginner.”

These words accurately describe the fact that one cannot earn expertise overnight. It takes determination, time, and hard work to sail through the process.

So, if you want your team to thrive, you need to be honest with your team. Don’t conceal the fact that you lack leadership experience. Admitting experience limitations to your team will make them considerate of your situation. This will create a bond of understanding between you and your teammates.

Here are a few tips that’ll help you overcome your experience limitations.

  • Stay Focused: Unless you understand the client’s requirements, you won’t be able to guide your team. So, keep a sharp focus on everyday tasks.
  • Be Proactive: Participate actively in all the tasks to keep your team engaged and motivated.
  • Embrace Humility: Be open to listening to your team’s perspective. Embracing different viewpoints will help you deal with tricky situations with ease.

#2: Have the Confidence to Lead a Team

According to Gallup, managers that lead a team successfully have the following traits.

  • Ability to motivate and engage their team
  • Assertiveness to drive outcomes
  • Confidence to overcome adversity
  • Ability to build transparent relationships

Out of these traits, confidence is the most pivotal.

The reason? A leader’s confidence impacts their team’s confidence.

While it’s true that you lack experience, it doesn’t mean you can’t lead a team and make it big.

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Don’t let your experience impact your confidence.

Develop a constructive mindset to empower your team. Focus on improving your problem-solving skills and get involved with your team in the projects. Understand your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses to gauge their potential, thereby delegating tasks to the right people.

Show your human side and stay honest about everything to be approachable. If you commit a mistake, accept it openly in front of everyone. This will make your teammates comfortable working with you.

The key is to lead by example. This will help you stay confident and increase your chances of achieving desired business outcomes.

#3: Create Open Door Communication Policy

An open-door policy signifies a set of protocols encouraging employees to discuss their queries, challenges, or suggestions with their senior-level managers.

Since communication is a key to building efficient teams, an open-door policy can be a game-changer for you. It can help create and maintain a transparent and unbiased work environment by improving the communication between you and your team.

No wonder, leading companies like IBM follow an open-door policy to promote effective communication at the workplace.

Here are a few tips to consider.

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  • Communicate Expectations: Create a brief outline stating the communication rules. Further, educate your team about how it works and its benefits.
  • Set Boundaries: Providing a solid communication ground to your team is good, but without boundaries, it can lead to the loss of valuable time.

For instance, you can allow your employees to walk in the cabin at any instant. If this doesn’t seem feasible, you can standardize the process. Ask your team to book an appointment for the discussion.

#4: Reach Out to Experts for Assistance

Dealing with conflicts, doubts, and distractions may seem draining as you progress in your managerial journey.

Take the help of a mentor to cope with tricky situations.

An experienced mentor can help you develop decision-making skills while gaining a new perspective on leading a team. With their guidance, you can move on an upward trajectory and establish yourself as a strong leader.

Here are a few ways to connect to an experienced mentor for guidance.

  • Professional Network: Reach out to people in your professional network with expertise, experience, and industry knowledge.
  • Social Media: Leverage the power of social media channels like LinkedIn, Reddit, and Quora. These platforms have a plentitude of subject matter experts and industry leaders.
  • Comprehensive Platforms: Count on platforms like GrowthMentor and TheMuse to discover the best leaders from your industry.

Pro Tip: Become a part of the About Leaders community, where industry leaders share valuable advice and tips on positive leadership. Reading researched and well-written blog posts shared by experts on About Leaders will help you develop a leader-like mindset, thereby preparing you for success.

Besides, you can enroll in leadership-building courses by About Leaders, trusted by 30,000 international leaders.

#5: Set Clear and Realistic Expectations

Setting clear and realistic expectations for your team reduces the chances of project failure. It helps the team members understand their responsibilities and create a solid strategy to meet the expectations.

Here are a few tips for setting clear expectations.

  • Emphasize Goals: Define actionable objectives for each member. The goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (S.M.A.R.T).
  • Make Employees Accountable: Set milestones according to your team members’ skills and experiences. Set realistic deadlines to ensure successful project completion.
  • Track Your Team’s Progress: Keep a tab on your team’s progress by implementing productivity tracking tools like Trello and Toggl. These project management platforms can help you monitor your team’s performance, thereby boosting the chances of your success.
  • Share Timely and Honest Feedback: According to ClearCompany, daily feedback improves employees’ engagement by 3x. So, try offering feedback at the end of the day or at least in a week to boost team collaboration.  

#6: Provide Resources to Help Your Team

To be a good leader, you should support your team with a well-constructed tech stack. This will not just simplify and streamline their tasks but also increase their trust in you as a leader.  

For instance, if you are leading a team of sales reps, implementing customer relationship management (CRM) software can help your team collect customers’ data. This can boost their work efficiency and help them achieve their goals.

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The key here is to talk to the team and understand their challenges. Based on pain points, offer resources like task automation tools, communication platforms, and CRMs. This will help your team communicate, collaborate, and stay organized and efficient.

Pro Tip: Create a culture of learning and knowledge-sharing by organizing brainstorming sessions. Allow your team to collaborate once a week and discuss innovative ideas. You can even arrange monthly webinars or seminars by inviting guest speakers. This will foster a happy and productive environment, thereby keeping your team motivated.

#7: Ask For Feedback at the End of the Project

As a first-time manager, you should keep learning and improving your leadership skills.

Your team’s feedback on your leadership can help you lead with high effectiveness.

So, ask your team what went right and wrong during the task.

Here are a few crucial questions to consider:

  • In what ways can I improve team communication and time management?
  • Did I do justice to my role?
  • What skills can help me lead a team efficiently?
  • Do you consider me a fair and unbiased leader?
  • Do you trust me for our upcoming projects?

Encourage them to offer honest feedback on your role as a leader. This can help you understand your team’s perspective on your leadership style.

#8: Reward Your Team for a Good Job

Acknowledge and reward your team for a job well done.

This will let your team know their contribution and effort are highly valued and appreciated.

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What’s more? Appreciation can boost their morale and motivate them to perform even better in the future.

Notice the following screenshot of a survey conducted by O. C. Tanner. As you can see, it reveals that employee recognition is the most vital driver of great work.

Here are a few tips to reward your team.

  • Offer Time-Off: Allow your team to take some time off and unwind. This will promote a healthy work culture.
  • Share Thoughtful Gifts: Give small gifts such as chair massages, movie tickets, and more.
  • Offer Non-Monetary Gifts: Rewards don’t need to be monetary always. You can give them a quick shoutout in an email with kind words. This will make them feel valued.

Summing Up

Team management is a challenging task.

Lack of experience can make it further difficult for first-time team leads to justify their role. They need skills, a learning attitude, and patience to develop a good rapport with their teammates.

The shared tips can boost your confidence and help you establish yourself as a trustworthy leader. So, follow these tactics to find your footing as a manager.

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