How to Select the Best Native Advertising Services

May 9, 2015


Paid media has become a valuable part of a brand’s content marketing mix, and native advertising is one way marketers are enjoying it. Native advertising improves brand image, engages viewers, and has a click-through rate that is orders of magnitude higher than display ads. So much, in fact, that traditional publications like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have embraced native advertising and sponsored content.

A well-studied, 2014 native advertising campaign by Hearst within Harper’s Bazaar challenged traditional banner ads. The article opened to a product description page, and allowed consumers to share the content and purchase the product, and produced a click-through rate of  1.5 percent compared to the industry average of 0.1 percent on traditional online banner ads.

Here’s an example of native advertising The Onion did for H&R Block.


Native advertising is effective, but it has its critics, and done poorly it can create a backlash against your company. Here are some qualities and criteria to consider when selecting native advertising services for your brand. A great native advertiser:

Sources Expert Quotes to Support Your Content

Native advertising mirrors the content of the site it appears on, which means that native advertising writers have to be as much journalists as they are marketers. The best way to lend credibility to native advertising is to present validation from third party sources.

This is one of the major factors separating native advertising writers from traditional marketers. Not all marketers have significant experience in digging up facts and sourcing quotes from experts, so seek out the ones who do.

Matches Your Story with the Right Publication

Picking the right publication for your marketing is important no matter what, but it becomes doubly crucial in the case of native advertising and sponsored content. Readers of The Atlantic were incensed in 2013 when it published sponsored content from the Church of Scientology. That’s an extreme example obviously, but the point is that sponsored content can backfire tremendously if it’s presented to the wrong set of readers.

Good native advertising providers will understand how to match your brand to a publication that fits your needs. That means finding a publication where you can reach a significant number of new readers, fans and ultimately, consumers receptive to your message and content.

Being able to match you to the right publication also means that a native advertising service must be capable of writing flexibly, to meet the styles and fit of various types of publications. You need to be working with writers and designers who can convey your message in a way that mirrors the tone and feel of the rest of the site’s content.

Understands Your Brand

Fundamentally, good native advertisers need to be able do the same thing that advertisers and even PR experts have been doing for decades–fully understand and communicate a brand’s qualities and values. Native advertising should be a story that adheres to these brand assets, yet has more space to unfold than in a traditional advertisement.

The best native advertising writers are capable of storytelling the same way a journalist would.  In this case, they’re telling the story of your brand.

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