Most people don’t want to be sold to, especially when they’re on social media.
Web users tend to ignore ads or any content that looks like one, a behavior known as banner blindness.
Thankfully, there’s a way for businesses to reach a broader audience on social media without being too salesy or promotional: native content.
Native Content: Low-Key But Effective Advertising
Native advertising is a paid marketing strategy that uses content that looks like a site’s non-ad media. Native ads are served to a targeted audience and are more focused on providing useful information or entertaining content. In addition, they blend in with a platform’s natural design and content location.
The non-disruptive presentation, combined with relevant, useful, or enjoyable content, allows native ads to avoid banner blindness and get customers to engage with a sponsored or promoted article or video.
3 Core Native Ad Formats
The IAB Native Advertising Playbook 2.0 released in 2019 has reduced the number of core native ad types from six to three:
In-feed or in-content native ads share the aesthetics of its surroundings, thus flowing with the rest of the platform’s non-ad content.
There are three main types of in-feed/in-content native ads:
- Content Feeds, which are videos, articles, and other native ads that appear in content or news sites;
- Product Feeds, which are shown in retail websites and app listings;
- Social Feeds, which are native posts (articles, photos, videos, or stories) on social media and messaging platforms.
Content Recommendation Ads
Also called a content discovery or sponsored content ads, these native ad types are placed below or next to other publisher content. Similar to in-feed/in-content ads, customers who click on content recommendations are led either to the publisher’s other pages or to an external site.
Also called brand/sponsored/custom content, these paid content appear as a full editorial on the publisher’s site. The branded content may either be created by the publisher for a company or crafted by another content marketing team or blogger.
To increase the content’s reach, these branded content are promoted through in-feed/in-content ads or as content recommendations.
Native Ad Statistics Marketers Must Know in 2020
Below are some key statistics on native content performance, trends, and spending to help inform companies’ marketing strategies for 2020.
- Most (85 percent) apps on the Facebook Audience Network get better native cost per mille (CPM) than banner CPMs.
- Compared to traditional display ads, native ads get 53 percent more views.
- US native digital display ad spend is expected to climb up to $52.75 billion in 2020, or almost two-thirds of the digital display ad spend.
- A 2019 study of 50 content-focused Alexa sites with display ads found that less than half (42 percent) were using native advertising.
- The US native display ad market is expected to become more mobile (in terms of device), more programmatic (in terms of buying method), and less social (in terms of ad medium).
Aside from providing relevant, non-disruptive content, native ads also offer businesses another advantage: social shares.
Many web users skip promotional media but are more likely to view it if people in their circle have liked or shared the post.
And even if none of their connections recommended it, web users see post engagements as signals that a sponsored content is worth checking.
Native content makes it easy for your audience to share your article, image, or video via social media, email, or a messaging platform.
As such, your reach is no longer limited within your followers or people who see your native ads. You can deliver your message to their contacts as well, helping generate more unique views and bringing in new leads.
With native ads, your potential clients are not limited to viewing your content and taking a conversion step.
They can leave a comment, tag their friends, share their opinion, or post your content on their page or group. This encourages people to talk about your business and gives you more opportunities to build and nurture your relationship with your current and new audience.
A high social media engagement can also boost a company’s SEO. It can help them build links, increase their E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness), improve branded search results.
Native advertising enables companies to be discovered by the right audience at the right time. Native ads also enable companies to leverage the trust the audience has on a specific platform.
For instance, web users who trust and enjoy National Geographic content are served both non-ad and native content.
The partner content below from Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism looks exactly like other content recommendations and editorial articles, except for texts that indicate that this is a partner post.
This paid content is placed under the National Geographic’s travel section, where people who are interested in the topic are already browsing relevant articles. Readers who liked the article may decide to follow Visit Abu Dhabi on social media, download the app, or book a trip, providing the promoter with new subscribers and potential clients.
As social networks prioritize content produced within their own platforms, posts with external links–i.e., those that encourage readers to leave the social site–are getting less views.
As such, brands are going omnichannel but are prioritizing platforms and content formats that help them reach more of their target clients and strengthen loyalty among existing customers. They then maximize native content and social shares to spread brand awareness within each priority platform.
Aside from going omnichannel, brands can also pick up a social media silo workaround suggested by Brian Dean. The Backlinko founder has been including valuable content on his social media post instead of simply sharing a link to their website.
5 Social Native Content Examples for Brand Promotion
To help you brainstorm native advertising ideas, below are examples of platforms and brands that nailed their campaigns.
Facebook Sponsored Post
Even if your business page has numerous followers and likes, there’s no guarantee that your followers will see your content.
With sponsored posts, you increase the chances that they will see your post the next time they are online.
Oreo’s 50-second video Game of Thrones Title Sequence above has 3.4 million views, 45,000 reactions, 20,000 comments, and 62,000 shares on Facebook.
Brands on Twitter can increase content engagement by promoting new or existing tweets both to their followers and to new audiences.
Sponsored Instagram Videos and Posts
Other brands also partner with influencers to create content that matters to their target audience.
Pinterest Promoted Posts
Since Pinterest is a visual platform, advertisers use attention-grabbing static images or videos, and partner this with copy that gets their viewers hooked.
MasakTV, a cooking tutorial company, used organic video pins to increase traffic from 18-24-year olds and triple their total video views.
LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
Using LinkedIn’s information on users’ location, jobs, titles, education, interests, and affiliations, you can put your native content in front of a highly qualified audience.
Using sponsored content, Lenovo saw a 17-percent increase in brand favorability as well as higher engagement rates.
Even users who steer clear of promotions and use ad blockers will consume promoted or sponsored content if these are in line with their interests.
So make sure to incorporate native advertising in your social media strategy as well as your SEO proposal or plan. Plan them well, make them stand out, and prioritize engagement and value delivery instead of going straight into selling.
Has your business used native advertising to spread brand awareness? What worked or did not work for you? Share your native content best practices and other tips below.
Adding Expert Quotes Into Your Content: A Beginner’s Guide
Writing an insightful, engaging article on a topic that you’re unsure of is always a challenge, but getting readers to respect your opinions and ideas is even tougher.
If you don’t have evidence to show that you’re offering an informed opinion, then readers will check out, and your content won’t resonate in the way you expect.
An ideal way to enhance your content and back up any ideas you may have is to include expert advice and quotes.
So, if you’re writing about a topic on which you are not well-informed, or you just want to back up your theories, then asking professionals and experts for quotes and insight could be the ideal solution.
The majority of the article will be your own work, but adding short quotes from experts can give your writing gravitas.
Working with respected experts in their field can add prestige to your work, and if they agree to promote your work if they are included, then they will give you additional reach.
To find out more about how to source the best experts, and get quotes that benefit your content, carry on reading.
Send Out A Media Request
One of the easiest ways to get experts to send you quotes and collaborate on your writing project is to send out a media request.
Effectively, you’ll be getting them to come to you, saving yourself time and effort seeking them out.
Media request services such as ResponseSource, ExpertSources or Gorkana can give you access to a wide range of experts and PR representatives.
Some sites don’t need you to make an account, but if you’re regularly sending out media requests, then it might be an idea to make one so that you can keep an eye on your requests.
If you write on the same topic regularly, you can even repeat your requests to get a steady stream of responses.
For each request, you need to select relevant categories; try not to choose too many, so that you don’t end up with everyone responding to you.
At the same time, if you go too niche then you might find yourself with too few replies, so try to strike the right balance. It might take trial and error, but eventually, you’ll get there.
When describing your article, share very few details so that no one else can steal your idea, and you can vet experts before you ask them for a quote. You can inform experts once they respond and offer you a quote.
Tell them what you’re going to offer and then ask them to reach out to you if they’re interested in contributing, then send your request and work with the service provider to get it approved and up on their site.
Personally Reach Out To High-Ranking Experts
If you have specific experts that you’re interested in featuring in your article, or you just want to boost your chances of getting relevant quotes quickly, then you can do a little manual outreach alongside your media requests.
First of all, you need to find relevant sources. If you already know who they are, then you’re good to go, so skip ahead a few sentences.
If you still need to find them, then try putting keywords related to your chosen topic into Google to find organisations or businesses in your niche. You can then get in touch with them to see if a spokesperson would be happy to collaborate with you on your article.
Another great way to find relevant sources who will be willing to share information with you is to find experts who’ve already done it. Read articles on your chosen topic and identify any experts who regularly contribute, then seek out their personal websites to find contact details.
Once you have a list of individuals and companies to contact, reach out to them or their media spokesperson. Much like your media request, your email should be brief- once you have confirmation that they are willing to provide a quote, you can give them a definite topic to write about or a question to answer.
Offer A Link Back In Return
As you are asking for their time and expertise, most experts will want something in return, but it is uncommon to pay for this opportunity, and if your sources do get paid then you might need to disclose this to readers.
Usually, most expert sources will be happy to provide you with a quote, particularly if it’s only a short one, in return for a backlink to their website or professional profile.
Backlinks are crucial for any website’s SEO, but it can be time-consuming and expensive to build them yourself.
Offer all of the experts that choose to provide a quote, and whose information you use, full credit and a backlink. They can suggest the anchor text, and as long as it isn’t spammy you can use this.
You can also suggest that if they share the article on social media and tag your pages, then you will reshare their post. This approach incentivises them to share the content with their followers, giving you additional promotion for very little effort.
Check The Credibility Of Your Sources
When you receive responses from media requests, you need to verify that they are legitimate experts in your niche.
If they haven’t already provided one, then ask for a link to their website and review it to see how legitimate they are. Put their name into Google and look out for any reference to them, so that you can verify that they are, in fact, an expert in their field.
If possible, try to find some examples of work that they have contributed to, so that you can see what kind of quotes they provide and whether or not they will be a good fit for your article.
Be prepared to share examples of your own writing with experts; this verification process works both ways, and they will want to make sure that they are providing their expertise to a respected website and a writer who will create a high-quality article.
Get Approval For Any Edits You Make
When you’ve received a positive response, you can ask a question or request a quote on a particular topic which will fit into your article.
Every expert quote is different; some might be complete, proofread and ready to go, while others will be rough bullet points or long, run-on streams of thought.
As such, you might need to write up the quote. You can also remove any irrelevant information that’s been provided, and turn it into a professional quote that shows the expert, and you, in the best possible light.
It’s crucial that you send this amended quote back to the expert, and get written approval before you publish your article.
If you’ve just reworded their information and not changed what they say, just how they say it, then you should be fine.
Once it’s all approved, you’ve got at least one quote to add gravitas to your work.
Send A Link To Your Content To Contributors
As soon as the article is published, part of your promotional activity needs to be to tell all of the contributors and ask them to share the link.
As mentioned earlier, you can offer to reshare their posts if they tag you on social media. You could also ask for a link to their piece on their site if they are willing.
Remember to stay cordial and maintain the relationship; you never know when and where you might encounter them again. Even experts that you don’t put in your article should be treated with respect and manners.
Overall, any content creator or SEO that wants to write engaging, insightful articles that readers and algorithms love needs to be finding experts to back up their claims.
As this article proves, it’s easier than it looks to find these experts and many of them are more than happy to help. By providing a quid pro quo, you will both benefit from your association.
Hannah Stevenson is the Content Marketing Manager at UK Linkology, the UK’s highest-ranking link building agency. A former journalist and experienced blogger, she has written a wide range of articles and included experts from across the corporate and public sector landscapes in her writing.
Email Conversion Rate Optimization: A Comprehensive Guide
Email doesn’t work anymore.
Do you agree with this statement? If yes, let me show you how important it is today and how to write an email that really converts. If no, this comprehensive guide will help you improve the email conversion rate at no cost.
Let’s start with a few numbers:
- Email is the top connection for 86% of professionals (HubSpot)
- Email is the most widely used tactic for customer engagement in Europe, North America, and APAC. 77.6% compared to 62% and 61% produced by content and social media respectively. At the same time, 37% of respondents claim email as the most effective method for customer loyalty and retention (only 13% mentioned websites and 11% named social media) (dotdigital)
- 47% of respondents mention email marketing as the most effective marketing channel (GetResponse)
- ⅕ of the emails are opened within the first delivery hour (GetResponse)
- Compared to social media, email is 40% better at converting (The Annuitas Group)
Is email dead? Hardly so.
The next step is to define what a conversion rate optimization is and why it is important to you as a professional.
Understanding the Conversion Rate Optimization
If you are new to email marketing, let’s first find out what an email conversion, conversion rate, and conversion rate optimization are.
Email conversion is a change of the recipient’s status to an upgraded one. For example, from a cold lead to a subscriber, from a subscriber to a free user, from a free user to a once-paying, and so on. So every time a person upgrades to a higher position, this is called a conversion.
The email conversion rate is the proportion of delivered emails to the conversions. The formula is as simple as ABC:
If you’ve sent 500 emails and only 20 of them converted people, the conversion rate is: 20/500*100%=4%. Fast and easy to calculate.
The email conversion rate depends on the goal. The more goals you have, the more conversion rates you will have to calculate.
As a professional, I have to give a few numbers and disclose info on what a good email conversion rate is. I’m sorry, but I cannot do that. The reason is not that I’m too lazy to find this data on the web, nothing of that kind. There’s no exact number on this issue.
Here’s the thing. At least, there are two niches, B2B and B2C, and the CR for them varies. There are dozens of email types, and their conversions are multiple. There are hundreds of industries, and their CR differs. There are thousands of campaigns and goals, and each of them is unique.
The conclusion about the good email conversion rate is a cliche, but the truth is: the good email conversion rate is the higher one than you have now.
The email conversion rate optimization is a combination of actions aimed to improve the email conversion rate. Its importance is obvious. If you aim at high sellings and growing revenue, you aim at high conversions.
How to Improve the Email Conversion Rate
The email conversion rate needs thorough studying. With a few years in email marketing, I’ve found that the email conversion rate depends on two factors. The human (the way people perceive your message) and technical details (that do not depend upon your recipients).
How to Write a Converting Email
The email conversion mainly depends on the way you write them. The subject lines, design, appropriateness, and many other details. Here’s a shortlist for you to check whether your email is attractive and converting.
Tip #1. Persuasive subject line
The first thing that catches your eye is the subject line. It defines further interaction with an email and whether your email is doomed to success.
- 32 characters are enough; stick to 6-10 words
- Think of whether emojis are appropriate. Note that they may cause low delivery and high spam complaint rates
- Reduce spam triggers to a minimum; use conversion words
- Ask questions, create a sense of urgency, use numbers, personalize the subject line
Tip #2. Pre-header
The pre-header goes right after the subject line and it gives the readers a brief overview of what your email is about. This is the next step that tells them whether the message is worth their attention or not.
- DO write it
- The pre-header limit is 40-130 characters
- Do not copy and paste the email subject line; continue its idea
- Engage people to open the email
Tip #3. Personalization
The personal approach is the king.
To not look like a spammer who sends emails right and left, reach out to every recipient in a personal way. The name is not enough, you need to go deeper: the company they represent, the content they share, their pain point, etc. The more details, the more personal and human-like you sound.
Tip #4. Email design
The email design matters. Using colors in emails is a science. To evoke a definite feeling or emotion, you can use different colors. When crafting an email, you turn into a designer. How awesome is that?
- Don’t go over the limit of three colors
- Use corporate colors
- Implement one-column layout
- Insert many white spaces
Tip #5. Appropriate content
Two things demand mentioning.
Do not send people what they do not need. Otherwise, you are not a professional email marketer, you are a spammer.
And the second point. Share the content that aligns with the stages of the customer lifecycle. How can you re-engage someone who has just subscribed? That’s the thing.
Tip #6. Visuals
People love visuals and respond to them better. With pics and videos, you can engage and grab the attention of your subscribers and clients. On the other hand, they may have a negative impact on both the tech filters and people. To be on the safe side:
- Keep the ratio of pics to text 20-to-80
- Reduce the files’ size to make the email fast-to-download
- Use gifs and cinemagraphs if videos are too heavy
Tip #7. Bright CTA
A high open rate is great. Yet, you are searching for high conversions. To improve the email conversion rate, you need an outstanding CTA, call-to-action.
To design it, use the color that contradicts with the email background. Use a link to a purchase page or the one you need; no one will spend time redirecting from one page to another. Make the CTA short and super-fast-to-read.
Email Conversion Rate Improvement: Technical Details
You can compose the best converting email, but you may still not achieve the desired result. This could be due to not only the email content but a few tech details.
Tip #1. You are sending too many and/or shortened links
Links always have a negative impact on emails. They trigger spam filters. If your email doesn’t reach the inbox, there’s no way that the conversion will happen.
To track the links, the tracking tool covers your link with its own one. So the link doesn’t look as it is. People may get confused about it and guess it’s spam or a virus. Moreover, you may want to shorten links that influence the email deliverability and recipients negatively too.
Solution: One link per email. No shortened links.
Tip #2. The emails you send are overloaded
Attachments. These files help you disclose more info on an issue but they compromise either. They make your message heavier. Moreover, HTML-emails professionals love are heavy too. These two things can lead your emails to the spam folder.
Spam folder = zero conversion.
Solution: Avoid files within your emails, send links instead. Give preference to plain-text emails.
Tip #3. You are reaching out too rare or too often
Did you know that 48.5% of email recipients report spam if they are emailed too often? At the same time, 43.9% of respondents state that they would love to get fewer emails. Here’s what the stats show:
You can read dozens of reports and studies (as I did), but be not on time. Most researchers agree that the best time to send emails is from Tuesday to Friday in the working hours. The keyword is most. Not all. It depends on your niche, industry, target audience, and a few more details.
Solution: Research. Communicate with your audience to know how often and when exactly they need your emails.
Tip #4. No A/B tests
There’s only one link in your email, you’ve found the best time and frequency for emails. But the email conversion rate is still not as high as you expected. What’s wrong with it? As you know, the issue may be with the subject line, colors, length, CTA, or anything else.
Solution: Conduct A/B and split tests to find what doesn’t work in your emails. Draw a hypothesis, create emails for the test, and… Test them out!
Tip #5. Your emails are not optimized for mobiles
User-friendly interface and usability. Over ¾ of people check their mailbox on mobile devices. Do you realize how many potential clients you may lose if your email design slips on mobiles or loads for too long? No one will wait for an email to load or re-open it on their PC.
Solution: The email mobile-optimization is a must-have for a professional like you.
Tip #6. You are not aware of the email campaign stats
How many emails do you send? How many people open them? How many recipients convert? These and a few other metrics are vital to you. When reaching out to people by means of emails, it’s of the highest importance to follow the campaign statistics.
Solution: Choose an automation tool, like email drip campaigns, that allows you to get the fullest insight into the email campaign performance.
Convert to the Fullest
With a clear understanding of what the email conversion rate optimization is, it gets easy to realize why you need to work on it. With a clear understanding of why you need to optimize your emails, it gets easier to craft an email that will grow the conversion rate. With an easy-to-follow list of tips and solutions, it gets super-easy to compose a converting email.
Ready to boost email conversions? Just do it!