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Why Branded Content Is Better Than Programmatic Native Ads

May 21, 2020

Over the past decade, audiences have become more and more aware of how publisher platforms profit from their ad-related activities, and have since grown extra conscious of their ad consumption.

Ad fatigue and banner blindness have become the norm, causing a lot of consumers to resort to ad blocking. People are wising up; everyone is in ‘skip-ad’ mode,” says Donald Lim, chief executive officer of Dentsu Aegis Network Philippines.

Thankfully, brands have since adapted to overcome this growing desensitization to traditional ads through native advertising—wherein ads match the form, feel, function, and quality of the content in the platform on which they appear.

We at GetCraft like to explain native ads using this model:

ALSO READ: What is Native Advertising?

Looking at the image above, you’ll notice that the ad types are arranged from “less native” to “more native.” But how does an ad actually become more native?

An ad is more native when it’s less of an ad, and more a non-intrusive form of content that inspires, entertains, and educates your target consumer. In short: The less an ad feels like an ad, the more native it is.

Programmatic Native Ads or Branded Content?

You’re probably familiar with Outbrain and Taboola, two of the largest programmatic native advertising platforms. They make use of a variety of algorithms to serve content in the form of recommendation widgets at the bottom of well-known publisher pages such as Time, CNN or Huffington Post.

Click here to work with SoutheastAsia's Best publishers

See the “related articles” at the bottom of content you read on these websites, complete with thumbnail images and catchy headlines? Some of them are by publishers themselves, but others link out to content on other platforms. The latter are programmatic native ads.

We don’t deny the effectiveness and power of programmatic native ads. Besides, all of us have engaged with these kinds of ads ads at least once, and they have indeed influenced our purchase decisions in some way along the purchase funnel.

However, audiences engage more with ads that look more natural—or native, if you will—as they are less likely to interrupt user experience and content consumption.

True native ads are “ingrained in the site where the user is consuming content” and require no further action from an audience that’s looking to consume them, Optimal Fusion Vice President Zack Brown posits.

With branded content, your audience engages with your content on the environment where they already are. Programmatic native ads, on the other hand, require target consumers to click on the recommendation link and to actually jump into another platform.

Here’s why sponsored content is better at achieving this compared to programmatic native ads:

  • Sending users to another site (e.g. brand dot com) to access your content disrupts an otherwise seamless experience and may prevent them from even seeing your content. This is something comScore discovered by evaluating Nativo’s True Native Approach.

Sponsored content, on the other hand, allows brands to communicate their message WHILE remaining on the publisher’s site, thereby providing a more consistent user experience by matching the source’s editorial content.

  • Sponsored content allows you to work with publishers that are most capable of delivering your message in a variety of creative ways, and using messages that they know will truly resonate with your target market.

The unique voices and personalities of these creative individuals and platforms have the ability to add color to your campaign, which would eventually create meaningful conversations around your brand.

  • Because it is able to tap into the audience affinity of publishers (who themselves often have a loyal following or audience ), sponsored content tend to have higher click-through rates compared to less native ads.

Branded content generally has a click through rate of 1-2%; influencer marketing, 2-4%, while native ad units and programmatic native ads both only have click-through rates between 0.2% and 0.8%.

Programmatic native ads are still valuable to a lot of brands, and marketers still believe in its effectiveness in building awareness and widening audience reach. Still, targeting consumers across all stages of the purchase funnel is better done through quality branded content.

Looking for the right publishers to work with is a common challenge in running branded content campaigns. This is an issue we address at GetCraft by giving you access to high quality publishers, from niche bloggers to the biggest media sites, all from one place.

Visit the GetCraft Marketplace

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