According to a recent AdWeek article, 46 percent of Millennials consume the content within the native ads that reach them. For context, native ads appear placed within the content of a website with a look and feel that closely matches the publisher. This makes the ad simple, unobtrusive, and easier to consume. These ads are more like previews to content and offers, and less like display ads that serve as a call-to-action that is increasingly disregarded.
Do use what works Millennials are a generation that grew up on the Internet. Display ads are part of the online landscape that disappear into the background. In order to reach this influential and increasingly affluent demographic you should first shift media spending towards native ads, a format that your audience prefers. It’s no surprise that a recent IAB industry study confirmed that 60 percent of online news visitors are more open to advertising that focuses on a story.
Do use quality content as the hook Considering that Millennials grew up with mobile devices, they are quick to consume information. To encourage discerning Millennials to engage, native ads need to be bright and brief. In order to hold your audience’s attention as they quickly engage, you need to offer immediate value or entertainment through your content.
Do understand performance metrics and the future of the industry Native ads perform better than display ads based on several metrics. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer notes the viewers of native ads are 3.6 times more likely to conduct branded searches, than viewers of traditional ads. Native ads are representative of the future of online advertising, where the messaging is more subtle and the viewer is more likely to receive value for engaging.
Do be authentic Some brands are producing native ads that resemble the look and feel of a consumer’s own content. You have to be careful with this approach because Millennials are a discerning group that quickly sees through inauthentic messages. Consider how your product or service enables your customer and celebrate it. The Vans® brand has used this approach to great success on social media. Do pick the right outlets In order to reach Millennials, you need to be sure you’re advertising on the right types of sites. Aggregated news content sites are used extensively by Millennials and should be a top choice for advertisers. Reach your audience through a broad network before trying niche, siloed outlets to reach smaller pockets of Millennials.
Do not just make digital advertorials While many native ads do work well as basic advertorials, it’s important to consider other approaches. User-generated content and social networks help build native ads and content into campaigns, beyond stand-alone messages. For example, Ford created the “Fiestagram” on Instagram that showcased the lifestyle of owners as they interacted with the car. The images and interactions, native to Instagram, helped Ford share its brand sentiment and grow its social media presence.
Do not forget mobile optimization All native ads need to be structured so they are easily clicked and read when the user is on a tablet or smartphone. Millennials are a mobile generation that consume content and perform a range of daily functions without ever needing a computer. Make it easy for them to interact with native ads by ensuring they look great on mobile devices.
Do not be irrelevant Native advertising content must be relevant to the typical user and be a logical fit for the chosen outlet. Otherwise, the content will “stand out” in a negative way as a poorly executed ad instead of a possible source of interesting content.
Do not present a novel-length ad Even the most exciting content won’t attract busy Millennials if it’s too lengthy. Brief and visually interesting ads are ideal, especially those that prompt some sort of emotional connection. In order to interject humor, it’s important to not try too hard to be cool. Think in quick, broad, and respectful terms when incorporating humor into your ads.
Do not interrupt The benefit of native ads is that they blend in to the content and present information in an unobtrusive way. Avoid being tricky with native ads, misleading consumers, or complicating an online task such as reading or moving from one piece of content to another.
SUMMARY Millennials’ information consumption habits, love of technology, and use of mobile devices to do things quickly is making traditional digital ads increasingly less effective. When used properly, native advertising capitalize on these characteristics and enables brands to connect with Millennials the way they want to be engaged – in a simple, unobtrusive and easy to consume manner.
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