B2B marketers are getting super creative with their content and nowhere is this more evident than in native advertising. Set to be one of the hottest trends in 2017, the popularity of native advertising continues to rise and it’s now firmly on the agenda for many B2B marketers.
Native advertising works because when it is done well, it is informative, entertaining and strongly targeted. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), it‘s an effective “gateway” to content marketing and can help successfully pull in a target audience.
So, what platforms specifically should B2B marketers get started with? And is native advertising really worth that all-important budget?
A go-to guide for understanding and getting ahead with your B2B native advertising:
What is native advertising?
Native advertising is the process of using content to build trust and engagement with new prospects through paid channels. The difference between native advertising and traditional display advertising is that native ads sit within the natural ‘flow’ of content on a social media platform or online publication.
One of the top examples of native advertising in online publications is this paid post from Netflix, which featured on the New York Times website. The post was promoting season 2 of Netflix’s series ‘Orange is the New Black’, and it’s a great example of how well chosen content can promote both a brand and the advertiser.
With native advertising, accurate targeting and relevant content are essential elements needed to drive engagement and ultimately those hot leads.
What platforms should I use?
As mentioned above, accurate targeting is essential so you need to advertise where you know your audience is, whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or an online publication popular within your industry.
There is some distinction between social ads and native ads but if you’re just starting out, stick with social media platforms first, as they provide very user-friendly interfaces and will give you full control of audience segmentation, budget and daily spend. All very helpful for keeping an eye on optimizing your cost-per-enquiry level.
Native advertising using social media can be anything from promoted tweets, to suggested Facebook posts, or LinkedIn sponsored ads. Because LinkedIn is 277% more effective for B2B lead generationthan Facebook or Twitter, it’s a good place to start. For example, you could boost your content exposure and generate high-quality leads with LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.
But LinkedIn ads come at a price, so don’t be afraid to try Facebook first, as it’s another great place to generate leads, just in a slightly different way.
What content should I share?
Relevant content is the second most essential element for successful native advertising. This is your chance to educate an extended audience with informative and innovative content that you’ve made.
Use every opportunity you can to get personal by segmenting your audience and delivering relevant content to them. Include industry specific case studies and function-related guides that are aimed at key decision makers within your target industries.
Just remember, native advertising is designed to blend in with its surroundings and there’s a fine line between promoted content and blatant selling. If your reader can tell the difference, you risk a negative reaction and even bad press from the likes of comedian John Oliver – watch his take on the topic here.
Is it worth the budget?
Native advertising gives B2B companies the opportunity to promote highly relevant content to a targeted audience AND to prove the return on investment of that content, based on ad performance – so it’s a bit of a no-brainer (as long as you get it right)!
Native ads also generate an 18% higher intent to purchase and a significant increase in targeted brand exposure. So, if you’re a B2B company in a highly-niche industry, then this could be a quick way to drive your brand reach and generate new leads.
But don’t forget to measure, test and analyze your results to determine whether you’re using the best channels and promoting the best content for your business.
How can B2B marketers make the most of the opportunity?
It’s essential that you have clear targeting and use data correctly to ensure your posts are served to the right audience. More and more web users are sharing native ad content, so if targeted correctly your prospects will naturally respond and help spread your message for you – pushing your social brand sky high!
With more and more B2B marketers creating innovative content strategies, it’s time to get ahead of the game. Give your kick-ass content a sponsored boost to get in front of new prospects, generate leads and boost that all-important ROI.
Find more details about native advertising, check out this post.