Welcome to Part Three in a series of interviews with media buying experts providing helpful strategies for smarter media buying. Part One covered general media buying strategies from Userbase, and Part Two included Facebook ad buying with YellowHammer. In Part Three, we’re covering a less understood channel, Native Advertising. Here is media buying experts with Ryan Scibelli of Advida.
Native Advertising is an effective channel for driving direct performance.
Native Advertising is ad content that blends into websites and their articles. Here is an example of an Amazon ad on Yahoo Sports:
Native Advertising is a compelling channel for driving direct performance. Generating valuable brand awareness should appear next to high-quality content. For finding examples, and for recommended placements for testing out this channel, Ryan recommended MSN, AOL, and Yahoo.com.
Effective Native Advertising requires understanding that it’s true ad content: There is the native content ad placement next to the articles, and when clicked, that ad delivers the user to promotional content built for performance.
You have two critical levers with Native Ad Units:
1) The higher the click-through rate on your Native Ad unit, the lower the cost per click.
2) The quality of the destination landing page to entice and convert the user.
First off, do you mind introducing yourself and your media buying specialty?
Sure. I’m Ryan Scibelli, CEO of Advida.com. Advida is a performance marketing media buying agency that helps businesses acquire more customers. What makes our model unique is that we’re only paid for results.
How did you start learning and buying media?
I’ve been involved in the performance marketing industry since 2008. For a long time, I ran a business that connected brands with performance marketers.
In 2013 I had a friend who asked if he could incubate a new business venture from my office. The friend and his team were heavily involved in native advertising and media buying. They suggested that I try it out, and within a few weeks, I was spending $10,000/day on native ads promoting my client’s products and helping them generate new customers.
How did you have such immediate success in native?
I was in a unique position, as I already had a deep understanding of performance marketing and a bird’s eye view of top-performing online advertisers. I would say the most critical catalyst to having immediate success was jumping into the trenches versus spending too much time researching and planning.
You can research performance marketing, media buying, or native advertising for days, weeks, or months, but nothing compares to real-world experience using your own money.
What recommendations do you have for advertisers who are considering testing Native Ad Networks?
To succeed in native, you need a versatile product that appeals to a broad audience. You won’t have the laser targeting you might be used to with Google and Facebook Ads. Your product, marketing message, and landing pages will need to appeal to the masses to succeed and scale using native ads.
Once you’re ready, you will need to produce performance-oriented content. The best way to do this is to analyze your product and the problem it solves for the consumers. Then develop content that educates potential customers on why they should use your product or service.
You’ll come to the market with multiple creatives, landing pages, and product pages for native ads.
Understand it may take days or even weeks of testing to find a profitable funnel. Keep your testing process simple in the beginning by using high-quality native ad networks like Taboola, Outbrain, Verizon, or RevContent. Deploy your native-oriented content across a handful of high-quality placements like MSN, AOL, and Yahoo.com. Start with the best native traffic available and limit potential variables.
Native ad networks auctions operate off an eCPM model.
Focus on figuring out a high CTR creative for your product that also generates sales. That will allow you to get to quality native traffic on premium placements at the lowest CPC possible. Use every available resource, including connecting with a rep at any native ad network you’re working with.
Reps at a native ad network can provide you key insights to help you better native the platform and succeed. Ask your rep questions like what’s an average CTR on your premium news inventory? What’s a great starting bid for desktop traffic? How does your algorithm work? Having these answers can help you make better decisions across your campaigns.
What common mistakes should media buyers watch out for in native advertising?
The biggest mistake I see new media buyers make is spending too much time researching versus just jumping and testing. My best lesson in native advertising was losing my first $500 on native ads.
The one thing you should research is the right technology that can help you succeed as a media buyer and with native advertising. Native advertising has evolved a lot in the last decade, and more technology is involved than ever before. Don’t make the mistake of going to war with a pocket knife.
Has any tactic or learning shifted your approach to media buying, and what was it?
Proprietary software. When I started media buying, everything was done manually. Now everything from developing landing pages, to managing the day to day bidding adjustments and profitability of campaigns is assisted by high-level software that gives our team a competitive edge.
Are there any tools you’d recommend for media buyers, and what do they help you solve?
Yes. We’ve developed our own software that’s given our team a massive competitive edge. Wizzi.io allows our media buying team to build, split-test, and optimize landing pages without involving engineers in the process.
We use Everflow as a central location to house all of our clients, products, and real-time revenue.
Finally, Maximus for monitoring performance in real-time, and for making automated adjustments, is based on ROAS goals we set when we’re away from the computer.
These three pieces of software are the pillars of our success, and they’re particularly useful because performance marketers developed all three out of necessity.
How much budget is needed for a good starting test?
You can get important data on a campaign for $200-$300/day.
Any final recommendations for someone tasked with driving user acquisition for their company?
Creativity and technology are the keys to staying relevant. If you don’t know how to write ad copy, learn. The best way to learn how to write ad copy successfully is to test ideas and let your audience tell you what works. If you’re generating sales, your ad copy is working. If you’re not, your audience is telling you that your copy is not compelling enough.
Technology is equally as important. As your media buying and native advertising campaigns begin to have success, having the right technology will be your key to gaining and maintaining a competitive edge against larger advertisers, brands, and agencies.
Thanks again to Ryan Scibelli of Advida for sharing his advice and road map for success with Native Advertising. This wraps up this media buying interview series, brought to you by Everflow – the Partner Marketing and media buying tracking platform.