What if my brand isn’t inherently visual?

By now you know the value of social media and even Instagram Stories (if not, check out our previous blog posts on these topics – we’ll wait). But maybe you’re not sure how to make these visually driven platforms work for you because your product or service isn’t inherently visual. After all, we can’t all be glamorous like hospitality, retail or beauty – where quality photography and videography goes a long way. So, what do you do? Throw in the towel? No way!

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Banner Ads are Dead

Sorry to break the news, friends, but banner ads are dead. They’re annoying, interruptive and ineffective and there’s a new ad in town – the native ad.

But before we get into native ads, let’s back up for second and make sure we’re on the same page. First off, what’s a banner ad? You likely encounter them every day while perusing the interweb – and you probably ignore them entirely or accidentally click on them when they’re in your way. Banner ads are those rectangular graphic display ads that stretch across the top, bottom or sides of a webpage. Exhibit A:

banner ad example

Why are they dead?

Well, they’re annoying and worse, they often interrupt you while you’re trying to do important things on the internet like read an article about the 53 cutest dog photos of 2018. Banner ads are next-level annoying on mobile devices where screen space is more limited and you have to use extra time and energy to scroll past ads to get to the content you actually want to see. Therefore, it’s no surprise that over half of clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental.

So, what should you turn to instead? The native ad!

What’s a native ad?

It’s an ad that looks like it belongs on the website you’re viewing – because it matches the form and function of that website.

For example, ads on your Facebook newsfeed look and behave like your other Facebook posts. The same is true for the ads on your Instagram feed – they look like the rest of the posts but they’re marked as “sponsored.”

native ad examples

Good native ads provide relevant, useful information to your viewer (related: check out our recent post about content marketing). Examples include sponsored content, like this article from the satirical news website, The Onion: Woman Going to Take Quick Break After Filling Out Name, Address on Tax Forms – you’ll notice that it’s sponsored by H&R Block. Makes sense, right? The Charlotte Agenda, a hyperlocal news website in our hometown also does this well – check out this guide to saving money in Charlotte, which is sponsored by Bank of America. Brilliant and useful, right?

another native ad example

Need more convincing? Native advertising performs – these types of ads are viewed 53% more than banner ads.

What other golden nuggets of learning do we have to share from the Digital Summit? Learn more here.

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