5 Native Advertising Tips for Publishers: Successfully Incorporate Events into Your Strategy

November 05 2015

Readers are responding well to native advertising. A recent study shows that they prefer tailored content that tells a story over typical product ads. 

In a digital news report, Shaun Austin, director of media research at the London-based market research firm YouGov, says that Millennials in particular are more accepting of native advertising, because “they are more likely to visit websites where native advertising is present, such as BuzzFeed, and therefore are more accustomed to reading it. Young people have been brought up more in a brand culture, where they can ‘like’ a brand on Facebook or its content on Instagram. Seeing brands crop up in different contexts and unusual guises is part of the everyday for them.”


Types of Native Ads

The Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) Native Advertising Playbook defines six core types of native ad formats. Understanding these formats will help you decide where to display event-related native ads. The six types are:

  • In-feed units - These ads appear in news outlets and social media networks with a “sponsored content” label or something similar.
  • Paid search units - The advertiser pays to be listed at the top of keyword search results on Google and other search engine.
  • Recommendation widgets - These units display related content and list them at the bottom or to the side of your editorial content (e.g., Taboola and Outbrain are popular platforms).
  • Promoted listings - They are similar to paid search units, but are more widely used on marketplace sites like Amazon, Etsy, and Foursquare. 
  • In-ad with native element units - These are placed alongside editorial content based on contextually relevant topics and keywords, but link away from the page.
  • Custom units -  Very platform specific ads (e.g., customized playlists on Spotify).


Selling Native Ads

Native advertising has proven to be effective, but what ad categories should you sell? Your clients can include, travel, real estate, fashion, and healthcare. Event promoters should also be included. When approached the right way, they are a natural fit and can be quite beneficial to your publication.

Why do events make sense for your native advertising strategy? 

  • Events are relevant to your audience.
  • Event makers are willing to spend money to get the word out. In fact, according to an IBISWorld Industry Report, event promotion is expected to grow into a $32.1B industry by 2020.
  • Events are easily condensed into the popular “list story” format (e.g., Top 7 Fall Events, etc.). 

For many publishers, native advertising is a work in progress. Here are a few tips to help you successfully include events as part of your strategy.

  1. Control the experience. Not all events are relevant to your publication. Be prepared to walk away from event advertisers who don’t make sense for your brand, your voice. You know your audience; make sure to craft or accept content that enhances their experience.
  2. Consider which type of event makers you want to target. SpinGo works with all types of event makers, from full-time producers to part-time non-profit promoters. Each audience has a budget, event category, and timeline that may or may not make sense with your pricing points. 
  3. Manage event maker expectations. In our research, SpinGo has determined that when an attendee is deciding on which event to attend, local news media channels are an essential component in the awareness and discovery phase. Advertising an event on your website will certainly drive clicks to a landing page, but it might not translate into ticket sales and registrations. By helping your clients understand these expectations, you will build the relationships needed to attract repeat business.
  4. Determine how to measure success. What metrics do your clients typically use to judge success? Again, it’s all about getting on the same page as the event makers. You’ll want to attract promoters who are more likely to use top-of-the-funnel brand engagement metrics (e.g., views, likes, shares, time spent) rather than bottom funnel ones (e.g., sale, download, data capture, register, etc.) 
  5. Gather feedback. Like with all of your products, it’s important to learn what is and what isn’t working. Asking for feedback helps in furthering your relationship with event advertisers. 

With native advertising becoming more prevalent, publishers, advertisers, and readers alike are at a turning point. Event content may not be the highest priority for everyone, but with the right approach, it is possible to display tailored event content that engages your readers and sees success for your ad clients.

Have you sold native advertising to event makers? We’d love to hear how it went. Leave a comment below or send a message to partners@spingo.com.