After four years of preparation, our very own Native Advertising agency Yuri was launched on 4 October 2019. We can’t blame you for thinking that Native Advertising is so 2015. At the time, it was the next big thing in the advertising and PR world. Publishers established commercial editorial departments and a new form of proposition–paid storytelling–was developed. The latter allowed brands to broadcast their message within an editorial framework. This paid-for content was readily identifiable because of hash tags such as #spon and #advertorial. The concept has been maturing for four years now and we believe the time is ripe to ensure our clients reap the benefits. Here’s why:
It all starts with the fact that the way we communicate and the way we use (social) media are changing. The number of advertisements has grown exponentially in recent years. Research by Duke University shows that, on average, we receive 65 to 80 notifications per day on our smartphones alone. And that number doesn’t even include the commercial messages that we get bombarded with on a daily basis in newsletters, banners, pre-rolls, posters and on radio and TV.
There is no shortage of media channels that brands can use to connect with their target audience, but stiff competition and consumers who know how to block out bland advertising make spreading the message a challenging task. Advertising is losing its impact and the rise of ad blockers confirm that we no longer care for intrusive ads that interrupt our media consumption, be it editorial or streaming content. At Glasnost, we think that this development alone sets the score: Native Advertising: 1 – traditional approach: 0.
Purpose and storytelling
Newer generations, such as Gen Z and Millennials, show fascinating media behaviour which is vastly different from the generations that precede them. These younger consumers only express their loyalty when they can identify with a particular brand. Across the board, consumers have a much more critical attitude than in the past; for example in regards to the ingredients of the foodstuffs and drinks that they consume. Brands that embrace this consumer autonomy and know how to link purpose to their products and services in a credible fashion, are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
Although PR is the ideal way to broadcast these messages through storytelling, most journalists will find no news value or relevance in a purpose-led marketing spiel. Brands could choose to use their own social media channels instead, but Native Advertising provides a middle ground by which the media partner of choice ensures a good fit between the overall experience and credibility of the message. Brand-based storytelling through the use of Native Advertising is much more authentic when compared to traditional advertising. Native Advertising: 2 – traditional approach: 0.
Authentic and relevant
The final step is figuring out how to package the brand story well and to serve it up to the target audience in a place where they are receptive to it. We are talking creativity, format and planning, with authenticity and relevance as cornerstones. These last two elements are very interesting variables, as consumers’ expectations differ per platform. What is relevant on one influencer’s Instagram account, may mean nothing on a blog with the same target audience but a different angle. Creativity, format and planning must adapt to these challenges.
Native Advertising vs. brand campaign
Unlike what happens in traditional brand marketing campaigns, the same content should not make be reproduced in every instance of Native Advertising. Instead, both message and format should be adapted to each individual media channel to ensure a perfect match between the target audience and the message presenter or vehicle. That is how impact is created; that is where Native Advertising sets itself apart from large brand campaigns.
This begs the interesting question if large marketing campaigns are even necessary to convey a message. On the one hand, there is contact frequency and strong media pressure–both of which can help to reach targets more rapidly. On the other, the distinct possibility of wasted means. Native Advertising is all about quality over quantity; it is targeted and effective within the intended audience.
At Glasnost, we believe that interesting, well-produced content that is in line with the needs of the target audience can be at least as effective as old school campaigns. Native Advertising was (and is) often seen as a commercial message wrapped editorials, but when well executed it is just the opposite. A well-presented, content-based story which is made available in the right place demands to be read. Not because a marketer is pushing content, but because the audience wants to read it. The valuable contact that is thus established creates added value for both the brand and the target audience. Native Advertising scores a hat-trick!
Independent campaign measuring
At our new Native Advertising agency Yuri, we do not simply trust the data that our system spits out. Campaigns are evaluated based on measurements taken by an independent third party and we perform random audits on the influencers we use. This is the only way to produce genuine results with our authentic stories. Yuri is a strategic sparring partner for marketers and knows the ins and outs of positioning a brand story–be it (native) media planning, creating branded (video) content or employing influencer marketing. Just like Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, our Yuri is creative, independent and a true pioneer. And he comes with larger-than-life results.
Would you like to learn more about Yuri and our take on Native Advertising? Let us know! We have coffee waiting. And vodka too.