The Psychology of Native Advertising – Why It Works

Why Native Advertising Works
Online consumers are constantly bombarded with all sorts of display advertisements. This leads to “banner blindness” and people end up either blocking or ignoring ads. In answer to this, a lot of marketers have turned to native ads for their online advertising strategy.

Native ads are already everywhere: from social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to renowned publications like the New York Times, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. By the end of 2020, advertisers are expected to allocate more than two-thirds of their display advertising budgets exclusively to native ads.
Why are native ads so popular among advertisers? The answer is simple. A typical internet consumer’s brain reacts to native ads better than to more traditional means of online display advertising, such as banner ads.

Let’s dig into why native advertising works.

Native ads receive more visual focus
A study by Sharethrough and Nielsen brought out some fascinating insights about how native ads compare to banner ads when consumed on a mobile device. The study found that native ads receive twice as much visual focus as banner ads. A reader processes banner ad using his or her peripheral vision (similar to how they process images). As a result, the reader may overlook important taglines that are part of the banner ad. Conversely, the headlines of a native ad—if properly optimized—can trigger meaningful associations with the brand.

Native ads can influence readers at a subconscious level
Unlike banner ads which appear at the top or side of a web page, native ads are displayed in a reader’s feed, forcing them to engage with the content and actually consume it rather than just taking a passing glance. Through this type of exposure, the conscious mind actively focuses on and engages with the content, making positive associations between the wording in the ad and the assets or benefits the brand is highlighting. This then influences the subconscious mind as the positive connections made by the conscious mind slide into the subconscious, strengthening the reader’s positive perception of the brand. Researchers believe this is an essential element of advertising because our subconscious plays a key role motivating us to choose which brands to buy from.

Consuming native ads uses both sides of the brain
Consuming a banner ad—usually an image—uses the right side of the brain, (i.e., the part in charge of multitasking and image processing). When a person consumes a native ad, however, they’re processing both text and images, which involves both the right side and the left side of the brain. Since the entire brain is used, a reader’s involvement with a native ad is much more comprehensive and meaningful than when they see a banner ad: They engage with native ads more deeply, retain more information from them, and are more influenced by them when making purchase decisions.

Native ads look and feel like content being consumed
Traditional online display advertising like banner ads distract from the user experience, causing the reader to block them mentally. This means that the company paying for the ads is throwing their advertising dollars into an internet black hole.

But with native advertising, the ads don’t take the shape of a typical ad: They’re displayed in the same format as the rest of the content on the website or app. This results in ads that are non-disruptive, presenting information to the reader in a way that doesn’t feel glaring or intrusive, and that doesn’t pull them out of their reading experience. On top of that, the ads are seamlessly displayed within (or immediately after) web content that the viewer is already consuming, making them more contextual. Thanks to the format and the placement of native ads, the consumer will be more inclined to take a desired action like clicking on a link or exploring the topic further.

Optimize your advertising dollars with native ads
Native advertising has captured the attention of businesses worldwide and shows no sign of slowing down. To make the most of your advertising dollars, it’s time to get on board.

But for your native ad to be effective, it needs to be relevant, contextual, and solution-oriented. If that all sounds a little overwhelming, why not get our experts behind you? The Brax team can help you with your native ads every step of the way—from creation to optimization to scaling.

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