Advertorials have successfully transitioned from print publications, television and radio, to the web. These incognito advertisements blending in with publisher content are clever, creative and engaging pieces that benefit both the publisher and the advertiser. When done well, visitors rarely realize they’ve just been hit with an advertisement.
With banner blindness, ad blockers and ad fraud at all-time highs, advertorials have become increasingly important in the digital advertising space. Experts predict native ads (an iteration of advertorials) will dominate ad revenue in the coming years. This blog introduces the latest trends in advertorials, and presents some ways you can take advantage of them in 2018 and beyond.
The Evolution of Advertorials
The term “advertorial” boils down to advertisements in the form of editorial content. Advertorials of old were unintentionally-blatant advertisements that later progressed into solid storytelling and useful content pieces related to an advertiser’s product or service. Nowadays, digital marketers have revamped advertorials thanks to sponsored content and native advertisements.
Key players in the digital space like BuzzFeed led the charge in redefining advertorials, and this kind of content has become a key component of digital strategies that convert. As results from old-school advertising options like banner ads reach historic lows, smart digital marketers are investing in modern advertorials to build their bottom lines.
Latest Trends in Advertorials
With digital advertising constantly evolving, what will advertorials look like in the future? How will they evolve as ad-blocking technology introduces new challenges? What can you do to ensure an investment in advertorials maximizes ROI?
By 2021, statistics show 80% of internet traffic will be video. This means advertorials will emphasize video content sooner rather than later. As you explore advertorials, consider creating content that integrates video to complement the copy. In fact, you may want the copy to simply complement the video.
As user-generated content continues to impact conversions, build brand loyalty and intimacy, and deliver unparalleled value to visitors, expect publishers and advertisers to find creative ways to tie user-generated content (UGC) into advertorials. This likely means a focus on content featuring media curated from social channels. A cousin of UGC, influencer marketing, has exploded in recent years, and the expectation is it will only continue to grow. Teaming up with influencers directly or through a network like SocialMob, is already a common practice that will continue to flourish. Publishers and advertisers will increase their budgets and enlist the assistance of influencers to create and distribute advertorials moving forward.
Native advertising is an iteration of advertorials, as native ads blend in with the content they’re placed in and around. The advantage of native ads for publishers is they do not intrude on the user experience. If they do impact the visitor, it’s generally in a good way that may lead to more conversions. Meanwhile, the advertiser is able to ensure their ads are targeting an audience who is likely interested in their products or services. It’s a win-win for publishers and advertisers, meaning native ads are here to stay.
Mobile-friendly advertorials are a must. More than 50% of global web traffic came from mobile devices in 2017, and it’s safe to say smartphones aren’t going anywhere. While mobile conversions are no sure thing, your mobile user experience needs to be clean and convenient to have a shot at converting. This principle applies to all content.
Auditing Your Advertorials
Are you currently investing in advertorials? How can you ensure your advertorials will convert? What are the best practices for creating advertorials as the industry continues to evolve? Here’s how to audit your advertorials and take advantage of the aforementioned trends.
Start by removing all brand mentions and asking yourself, “is this content still useful, interesting and engaging?” If so, you’re on the right track. Next, take a look at the page and ensure the design blends in with your other pages. Advertorials should flow with the site’s style and match what the audience is used to seeing. Also, the content should adhere to the same format and voice as the site’s most successful pieces. Does the content look and feel authentic? Is it line with the usual content the publisher produces? If so, your advertorials are set up for success.
As digital advertising evolves, advertorials can make or break ROI. New-age advertorials are trending in the right direction while old-school advertorials are on the decline. Staying at the forefront of the advertorial evolution is part of the formula for digital marketing success.