Native advertising is becoming an increasingly popular way to capture the attention of the very appealing and lucrative Millennial market. This is a generation that’s grown up accustomed to the convenience of mobile technology, which enables them to consume and interact with a world of varied information at any waking moment. Not only does a millennial’s information consumption behavior make them more likely to interact with branded content, they’re also much more likely to share it with their peers.
This pattern, which increases the value of branded content exponentially, was recently highlighted by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. In her presentation, Mayer urged marketers to embrace native advertising and noted that 46 percent of millennials who noticed branded content consumed it.
To bring context to native advertising’s popularity among millennials, here are four key points why and how marketers should look to use this channel to reach this demographic and capitalize on this group’s tendency to share information:
1. Engagement is the key: Not surprisingly, customer engagement is the biggest value of running native ad campaigns. Engagement is the primary way to build long-term brand loyalty. The value of native ads that offer something of interest is the chance for a millennial to interact with the content in some way. The idea is to present a “conversation” through a native ad, instead of the “presentation” of a display ad, which mainly functions as a digital billboard.
2. Don’t interrupt: Native ads help marketers to “blend in” to the content and present information without being an interruption. Millennials are used to finding information with their devices quickly without any delay. Therefore, in order to get in front of them, marketers must avoid interruptions and offer relevant, meaningful content to their audience. Marketers also must not try to be tricky and mislead millennials into clicking something they don’t want. This audience is shrewd and won’t forget they were misled.
3. Integrate where they live: Millennials spend a considerable amount of time on sites that aggregate content, such as news, entertainment and, of course, social media platforms. Native ads enable marketers to unobtrusively become a part of these sources of content in order to reach the greatest number of millennial prospects.
4. Clicks and more clicks: Research is showing native ad formats are outperforming traditional display ads across the board, in both engagement and expansion rates. It’s this consistent quality performance that’s driving marketers to quickly determine that native ads are essential to connecting with millennials, who historically are quick to dismiss display ads.
While millennials are very digitally savvy, they’re also heavily influenced by native ads and sponsored content. Their behavior combined with their growing affluence makes this generation increasingly representative of the future of online marketing. As long as marketers can create content that’s relevant to millennials’ interests and encourage social sharing, brands will be able to rely on native advertising to reach this demographic.
This belief is supported by native media spending trends, which is expected to increase dramatically. A report from BIA/Kelsey predicts a more than 62 percent increase in native ad spending from 2014 to 2017, with total spending in 2017 reaching 71.4 percent of the spend for traditional display ads.
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Ash Nashed is the CEO and founder of Adiant, a digital media technology company.
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