As new generations of consumers are leaning heavily towards non-branded messages, as well as actively installing ad-blocking technology, two disciplines have catapulted to success in recent years, and budgets are increasing to make room for them: native advertising and influencer marketing. But as these buzz words are put into action by brands and companies all over the world, the question arises: are these two things mutually exclusive, or is there any intersection to these disciplines?
What is Influencer Marketing?
« Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers. » Robin S. Sharma
Much like sponsored content or native advertising, which we’ll discuss in a minute, Influencer Marketing is concerned first and foremost with the audience, and what kinds of information it considers to be valuable. Thus, influencers, as they’ve become known, take on many different shapes and sizes, from niche or micro influencers to social media celebrities. The thing they all have in common, however, is the ability to affect someone else’s purchasing decisions. This is, at their core, what makes them influential.
Influencer marketing can be a powerful force against millennials or other generations who have become jaded by more traditional approaches to marketing or advertising.
What is Native Advertising?
Unsure about what native advertising is? You’re not alone. Whether it’s called an “advertorial” or something else, native advertising means that a paid advertisement (often written in article form) follows the same form and function of the user experience on a designated website. It’s seamless. Some may even call it “disguised advertising”.
Unlike content marketing (which is a strategy), native advertising is a tactical approach to creating sponsored or branded content that aligns with the platform or publisher that the content will live on. Because of this, there are certain advantages of native advertising.
Advantages of Native Advertising:
1) Native Ads don’t disrupt the experience of the user. Many times, people will read sponsored content or native ads without even realizing it’s sponsored by or in partnership with another brand. Many outlets will include a disclaimer towards the bottom of the post, so it’s not often until the end when this is realized.
2) Native Ads focus on quality over quantity. Branded content is an immersive experience. It’s more than a click through. Audiences consume this content in-depth, and are likely to share it with people who might be interested in reading it as well.
3) Native Ads provide more room for creativity. Banner Ads are very restrictive, but with native advertising, you can often write an entire article and include rich multimedia to tell a more cohesive story.
As with influencer marketing, the goal of this content is to create something meaningful to audiences. To focus on their needs, rather than a brand’s needs, and provide information or entertainment that they will likely value more than traditional ads or sales messages.
What does influencer marketing have in common with native advertising?
In addition to similar goals and outcomes, there are a few other commonalities that native advertising has in common with influencer marketing. They are:
- Both influencer marketing and native advertising use select audiences. This isn’t mass communication, but rather communication that is targeted and selective.
- By partnering with people of influence or outlets that your potential customers already have a relationship with, you create credibility for your brand.
- Branded content and influencer outreach is likely to create inspirational and positive content that aligns well with your brand and positions it in a positive light.
How influencer marketing and native advertising can work together for brand success:
Like any robust strategy, taking into account the nuances of influencer marketing and native advertising can allow for brands to make the most of these tactics and better accomplish objectives. Here’s how:
- Native advertising and influencer marketing appeals to people’s brains. Factual information, regardless of whether or not it’s sponsored by a brand, is considered valuable information by audiences and by search engines.
- Native advertising and influencer marketing can appeal to people’s emotions. Both of these tactics have the potential to equate your brand with positive emotions, fun memories, or unique experiences. Done correctly, they can resonate with your audiences and build brand awareness.
- Native advertising and influencer marketing have the power to impact purchasing decisions and get people to take certain kinds of action, such as installing mobile apps. Studies have shown that this type of content is effective. It works. It can impact the bottom line by impacting brand loyalty.
In today’s world of ad-blocking technology, short attention spans, and the need for compelling content to motivate consumers, both native advertising and influencer marketing — when done in tandem — have the power to create an explosive marketing cocktail.