How to Win at Native: Four Tips to Get You Started

GUEST BLOG WRITTEN BY BEN YOUNG, CEO OF NUDGE ANALYTICS Follow Ben (@bwagy) and Nudge (@Giveitanudge) on Twitter. 

Last week, we hosted our inaugural native ad panel in partnership with PowerLinks. This month, we focused on how to win at native through distribution. While planning, we realized this is the first event that many of our attendees would have seen on the topic, so we would be best to keep it practical.

Shareen Pathak at DigiDay was first to come onboard as our moderator. As Agency & Brands Editor at DigiDay her focus is what do brands care about. This served as a natural and great starting point for discussion. For our panelists; John Chan from Native Lift first came to mind. His background includes a stint at Buzzfeed and before that, starting his own PPC agency Reprise Media (acquired by IPG). Native Lift provides content amplification to publishers. So they sit with a nice view of the market, what are people doing, best practices and targeted areas for improvement.

After John, we sought someone who would provide balance with a different, but complimentary viewpoint. Gabe Bender a strategist from ShareThrough fit the bill. ShareThrough focuses on amplifying all sorts of content through their in-feed exchange. With John’s publisher experience and Gabe’s background working with publishers at the Rubicon Project, we had our panel sorted.

The evening kicked off with a couple of drinks and cheese (our team’s favorite). For those unable to make it, here are the top take-aways from the event:

1) “Headlines are the new tagline”

We included this as our quote of the week. What Gabe was getting to: If you distill high performance down to one component, it’s the headline. All other things are derived from there. On writing the best headlines he said: “Work to telegraph the emotion in your headlines, instead of doing: ‘Shakeshack has great burgers’, try ‘This burger will make your mouth water’”.

2) The content has to follow

John was quick to point out, the headline gets you in, but the content has to solve a real problem for the user, it has to follow what the headline has promised. Otherwise, they will navigate away and leave the content.

3) Not all content must be new

John said many brands have older but still relevant content in the form of announcements, press releases and white papers. One does not always need to create new content to distribute. Gabe also mentioned to use cross platform content. For example, pull in your Vine or Tumblr content that is already proven.

4) On disclosures

John mentioned having it at the top of the content and Gabe at the in-feed display. It is in a brands interest to be effective with disclosure; both iterated GE and Netflix as doing great work in the space with early investments and fast learning. In summary, it was suggested to use part of your banner spend to experiment with older content. This helps you get started. Then once you get to producing it, focus on the headline, bring emotion into it and solve problems with the content that follows.

Ben Young is the CEO of Nudge Analytics, a native ad measurement company. They release This Week in Native Ads weekly to keep you up to date on the latest in Native. You can follow that here.

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