Native advertising has become increasingly popular in recent years, much because it is a format that harmonizes with how people want to access information online (user-centric storytelling). At the same time, there are weaknesses compared to hosting content on your own domain. Luckily, there is an easy way to combine the best of native with the best of content on your own domain, to create compelling sales funneling. I will explain how further down, but let's start by looking at the strengths and weaknesses of going native.
Native pros and cons
Marketing experts argue that the most significant advantage of native advertising is that brands can piggy-back on the publishers credibility. Although we live in a time when no one seems to trust anyone, it is still a fact that most people trust the newspapers. Hence, if your content appears in an established media context, it will be both consumed and believed.
Another advantage is that you in most cases can buy a guaranteed number of views of the article. Serious publishers should also provide you with reasonably comprehensive statistics such as how long the visitors stayed on the page and how far down they scrolled.
A final positive effect is that it can be intriguing for you and your colleagues to appear in the esteemed newspaper. It may contribute to a sense of pride.
So what are the disadvantages of native advertising? To put it short, native advertising is a distribution 'quick fix', with few long-lasting effects. Why, because:
- Native advertising will not help you rank better in search engines. SEO calls for content, and if this content is hosted on someone else's platform, it will never benefit you.
- It will not build direct traffic to your site. Content published on a media partners website will just help the publicist to establish more direct traffic.
- You will be exposed to changes in algorithms and pricing models. Example: Facebook has not only erased organic traffic for brands, but they have several times made it more difficult and expensive to reach their beloved users.
- You will not have full access to, or control of, user data. If data is the new oil, do you really want to give it all away for free to your media partners?
Master of your own domain
The opposite of publishing your content natively with a media partner is to put it on your own site. Either on a subsection or on a separate domain. This way, you remain in control over both the content and the user data. And you can continuously evaluate and improve both content and layout, to create an optimal user experience.
The only weakness with content marketing hosted on your own domain is the traffic. Because it is tough to attract visitors in a world where quality content is abundant.
The best of two worlds
Content Discovery – or content recommendations – solves this problem by promoting your content in a premium media context (see image below), where credibility is high, and then bringing those users to your domain, where you build and keep the data.
Over and over again performance data has proven that content discovery delivers more engaged users than any other traffic source. For two main reasons:
Users are in content consumption mode - users arriving from media sites to your content have actively chosen to consume media, and are therefore more keen to spend time reading, than users coming via social platforms.
Only relevant content - by using contextual data (or green data as we like to call it in times of data integrity) intelligent content discovery platforms can make sure your articles or videos are recommended only when readers are likely to be interested.