You’ve all been exposed to native ads at one time or another. You know, those little image ads that blend into the theme of the website you see them on. That’s why they’re called native ads, by the way.
Native ads have started to dominate the advertising spend world, and over the last few years, more and more advertisers have increased their native ads budgets exponentially. In 2016, the spend on Native Ads by advertisers in the United States was $16.68 billion. By 2020 that figure rose to $52.75 billion, with the ceiling nowhere to be seen.
Over the next five years, native ads are projected to dominate the online advertising landscape. Some industry estimates predict native ads will account for eighty-percent of ad spend on digital marketing campaigns.
If you haven’t tried native ads, it’s time you give them a go, so here is our quick and dirty primer on images for your native ad campaigns.
Imagery plays a significant role in native ads. One of the downsides of the format is blending into the background theme of the websites they appear on. To get clicks and hopefully lots of nice conversions, your ads need to attract attention. That means vivid imagery.
From my personal tests on native ad networks, I’ve found three types of images that get me the best click-throughs and, ultimately, the best conversions.
- Images that shock
- Images with cryptic messages
- Images that promise to solve problems
Images that Shock
This is a recurring theme in native ads. Shocking images, images that sometimes even border on gross. Using shocking images is a proven tactic. I’ve seen double-digit improvements in click-through rates with shocking images.
The images below fall in this category. Shocking enough for your traffic to want to click the ad for the rest of the story, and that’s precisely what you want your images to do. Elicit the click.
Images with Cryptic Messages
Native ads make limited use of text. You’ll be limited to something like 25 characters for the title and a maximum of 90 to 140 characters for the description on most networks. That text limit makes it difficult to answer the questions your traffic is searching for answers to.
Using images with cryptic messages is one way around this problem. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in the case of native ads, a sufficiently intriguing image is certainly worth a few characters.
The images below are good examples of this. Meghan Markle could be staring at something perfectly innocent, but with the associated “sad news” text, that image now takes on a completely different meaning. What is the sad news? Click to find out – job done.
Every search online comes about as an attempt to solve a problem. Even something that seemingly has nothing to do with problem-solving is still about problem-solving. Take, for example, a travel-related search “hotels in Madrid.” That’s an attempt to solve the problem of where to stay in Madrid. It’s all about problem-solving.
Images that promise a solution to a particular problem have been proven to convert well. When used in conjunction with phrases like “simple, disappear, solve, easy,” native ads with this type of imagery have a track record of performance.
Look at the images below. The ads are designed to address a particular problem and offer a simple solution to that problem.
While you might view these tactics as click-bait, if you don’t use these types of images in your native ads, your competition definitely is.
Try these types of images in your next native ad campaign. The results may well prove to be an eye-opener!
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