Why a Native Ad Works

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The recent flurry of stories over native advertising’s ineffectiveness doesn’t even take into account some of the most critical variables of a native ad: the appropriateness of its placement and the strength of its story. It’s impossible to judge native ads on their effectiveness as a group — the best of them are effective, and the worst, of course, are not.

The native ad above appeared in a throwaway business publication we found on the London Underground. People pick it up on their morning commute if they’re interested in business news. The ad is large enough to be “viewable,” and occupies the place below a story about banking. Chances are good that it will be seen by bored bankers.

The ad itself has a captivating image, and a headline that appeals to men. Men may love clothes, but they do hate to shop. Or at least they’ll never admit they like it. For busy bankers, this product is perfect: an online-offline service that takes your measurements, gives you a bit of advice, and ships you a trunk of things to try on at home.

The best part of the ad is the copy, which takes the man step by step through the process of ordering from the service, tells a good story, and ends by making him feel like an individual with a personal wardrobe assistant rather than an e-commerce shopper.

We believe this type of native ad, whether digital or print, is effective because of its targeting, its viewability, and its story. We’ve got native video ads that are beautifully embedded in the story. They look like they were born in the story and belong there – without covering any content or diminishing the user experience. Publishers just supply the story. And advertisers buy the video advertising.

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