Implementing a Native Advertising Strategy: Q&A with Mick Loizou, Verizon Media

In association with Verizon Media.

In this exclusive interview with ExchangeWire, Mick Loizou (pictured below), Senior Director, Product Marketing, International at Verizon media, discusses the benefits of implementing a native advertising strategy, how these approaches can be adapted, and upcoming technologies designed to build native capabilities.

What are the main advantages of implementing a native advertising strategy?

When deployed effectively, a native advertising strategy should add value to the consumer experience, rather than disrupt it. This is ultimately the end goal for us; to make the experience as smooth as possible for the user, it must be relevant, personalized and inspire confidence. Simply put, native ads drive better engagement, which leads to increased purchase intentions. We conducted our own research which shows that native ads generate increased brand affinity, with 26% of UK consumers more likely to recommend the brands they’ve seen on native ads and 15% more likely to consider ‘buy from these brands compared to traditional brands. display. We are also increasingly seeing that consumers view certain more traditional types of display ads as disruptive. In fact, 40% of 18-24 year olds now use desktop ad blockers in the UK (19% on mobile), which strengthens the case for investing in an appropriate native advertising strategy. The study showed that native ads provide a superior online experience; content looks more natural on the page on mobile, for example, increasing overall page engagement by 21%. Clearly, better customer experiences deliver greater impact and brand returns.

How has Verizon Media varied its native products between different brands and platforms? Are there approaches that offer consistent success, or is a more tailored program needed?
Mick Loïzou

Mick Loizou, Senior Director, Product Marketing, International, Verizon Media

As a native advertising provider, we can help brands strategically place native ads on websites like Yahoo, HuffPost, and TechCrunch as well as other premium third-party publishers through our native marketplace. These sites are trusted by consumers and brands, and combined with a range of ad formats that are adaptable to meet different needs, each campaign can be customized to suit its goals. For example, if the goal is customer loyalty, it is possible to combine native ads with meaningful data to deliver personalized ad creatives based on each user’s unique purchase history based on triggers such as as abandoned carts and buying behavior.

The scale and diversity of our first party data allows us to provide better targeting and behavioral insights. We are able to use data from all of our owned and operated brands, along with our other unique data signals, to better understand how people consume content, what they want to interact with and, most importantly, how reach out at the right time with commercial messages that will resonate and be truly helpful.

This gives advertisers the ability to reach a wide range of audiences, which allows for specific targeting and provides detailed insight into consumer behavior, along with an equally important ROI: which, as you would expect know, is so crucial to delivering successful campaigns that give us the information we need to continually improve the effectiveness of the next campaign, and the next, for our clients.

When we talk about premium and quality content, our owned media, from Yahoo to HuffPost, all provide a high quality environment for advertisers, as do our strong partnerships with premium publishers. Partnerships are at the heart of our strategy to ensure that our business continues to grow and are an integral part of any media plan that aims to reach audiences through quality premium content environments across the globe. Our content, and the content of our partners, is professionally produced, which means a safer environment for the brand, and our platforms are the IAB “Gold Standard” for brand safety.

The approaches that are most successful for brands are those that are suited to their business goals. Every campaign is different and, as a partner, we help our clients tailor content and ad formats to better meet the needs of the brand and the consumers they are trying to reach. Any program should be developed with the end consumer in mind, with native advertising helping to make the ad experience as seamless and natural as possible to encourage engagement.

How to foster and maintain effective native advertising partnerships? What are your recommendations to ensure alignment between the editorial voice and the advertiser’s message?

The most effective native advertising partnerships rely on combining the power of content, scale and data to create smarter marketing solutions that strengthen relationships with consumers. That’s why trust and innovation underpin everything we do. From changing the smallest interaction with our consumers and customers to creating next-generation content experiences on 5G technology, we are committed to improving and innovating in everything we do.

Much like search engine marketing (SEM), copywriters play a critical role in ensuring campaign success and subtle changes to headlines and descriptions can have a significant impact on engagement rates for a campaign. native unit.

Optimization teams should help advertisers find the best performing combinations of text, video, and images to deliver consistent results. Continuously use A / B testing and leverage your platforms’ algorithmic decision tools to deliver better business results.

There are some copywriting principles that work universally, but marketers should be aware that what works on a social platform may require adjustments when used in premium editorial environments. It’s about finding a good marriage between the tone of voice of the surrounding content, the interests and intentions of the target audience, and a vocabulary and imagery that is exciting enough to stand out.

What are the main challenges encountered when planning and implementing its native strategy? What rejection have you seen from readers skeptical of native ads, if any?

By now, native advertising is well understood by consumers, and clear labels such as “Advertising” or “Advert” appear on native units, as well as those seen on social platforms (specifically speaking about advertisements). , rather than paid content with an influencer which is a different conversation), ensured that users understood exactly what they were seeing. In fact, we’ve tested several label variations to make sure people are comfortable with the experience. Our recent research shows that 79% of consumers say they would like to see ads that blend into the page, with four in five confirming that they accept native advertising as a form of content.

As with copywriting, image choice also plays a key role in creating native advertising and we encourage brands to test ads with and without their brand logos to determine if this has an impact on the image. receptivity, commitment and memorization. Recognizable and visible logos can of course also make it more clear to a user whether the content they are seeing is editorial or sponsored content.

How can technology solutions help create effective native ads? What new technologies are you monitoring to help you with your native advertising strategy?

New technological advertising capabilities drive innovation at all times. Interactive, immersive and dynamic content becomes more than just an advertisement – it’s an integral part of the experience. We know that native ads improve the user experience before the click is made, and we want to extend that post-click as well. If a user feels involved with an ad, gives the brand their time and clicks on it, only to feel that they’ve been given something irrelevant, then the brand could suffer. So we’re using new technologies like XR and AI to help advertisers create meaningful experiences that reach consumers in new and exciting ways, as well as purchasable formats that help customers do things like ‘add to cart’ and even checkout from the ad itself.

We recently launched AR capabilities for our Successful Moments fullscreen native ad format, and our creative teams can create AR formats that span our native market to maximize a brand’s reach and engagement. This follows the availability of AR in our native Mail format at the start of the year, where we saw an average stay time of over 60 seconds.

With the new AR features, advertisers can now enable consumers to interact with, rate and test multiple products in their current 3D environment through their smartphone camera and screen. Users have full control over the digital augmented reality experience of each product, adjusting for size and position. Additionally, brands now have the ability to switch the AR experience to a smartphone’s front camera, opening up new opportunities for engagement with a collection of facial features.

Our RYOT Studio teams around the world are continually experimenting with new experiential and extended reality (XR) formats, alongside our colleagues at Verizon in our 5G labs in the US, to ensure we are at the forefront. of the next industrial revolution that is shaping up to be 5G becomes more widely available around the world. Devices and the consumption of mainstream content on them will change dramatically, and XR experiences are expected to be crowded and in real time.

But there are also great ways to develop both online and offline XR experiences that our teams are currently creating, which can be leveraged by producing content around the experience and distributing it through effective channels like native advertisements that can present a brand as innovative in this area. space out.

In summary, native advertising can be effective for brands of all sizes if the content and distribution are tailored to business goals. And it’s a creative canvas that can be as experimental or as simple as you want it to be. If you work with the right partner, you can produce great results with either approach.

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