According to HubSpot Research, the most popular reasons why a person would use AdBlock are that ads are too annoying, intrusive and disruptive. This notion of annoying and intrusive ads likely plays a role in the subscription-based models as well. Fortunately, advertisers have developed ad formats and marketing strategies to combat this directly, something I have witnessed firsthand as the senior vice president of a multiplatform network (MPN) agency.
Native ads are essentially just that, an ad that fits natively into a feed or website and is inherently nondisruptive. Native ads aren’t limited to these mediums, however. Some are crafted as completely distinct and separate experiences, such as an interactive educational experience or a video series.
To serve an effective ad, one must first put aside traditional advertising adages à la the hard sell. Native ads are most effective when they simply inform and answer questions. The goal is for your audience to not even realize they are being advertised to.
Enter content marketing, a format where brands create valuable content like videos or blogs instead of traditional ads. Essentially trading something valuable (the content) for something else valuable (eyeballs). The fickle nature of our attention spans demands that content be consumable at a glance while conveying a level of knowledge and expertise. Combine this with a level of variety in your content and it is sure to be an effective force for small businesses.
For blogs or articles, avoid dense paragraphs. Use bolding and italics to make pertinent information stand out or consider bullet points under subheads. Don’t be afraid to use infographics, GIFs, videos and images. All of which can be completely user-generated and inexpensive to create which helps those on a tight budget and when outsourced to folks with actionable audiences already interested in your brand.
And lastly, influencer marketing, or the modern-day word of mouth, connects brands with influencers. By sponsoring or utilizing an affiliate method, brands can tap into the extremely engaged fan bases of influencers for successful campaigns.
Identifying influencers relevant to your brand via a search tool or through a network is the first step towards a successful relationship. Remember, just because someone has an enormous following doesn’t mean that they will be the right influencer for your brand. The next step is to have a compelling narrative to share with your selected influencer. The goal of an ad campaign is to action something. Without a compelling call to action, even the most engaged audiences will check out. Most importantly, remain authentic. Don’t overproduce or over direct an influencer. If step one and two are given the proper due diligence, then step three should fall into place. Nevertheless, communicate your expectations to guarantee a positive interaction.