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Chad Pollitt: Why Native Will Win As Paid Distribution Channel

By Native Advertising Institute on February 13, 2017

Why does native advertising as paid distribution make economic sense? How can native advertising be aligned with the buyer's journey? What does the future hold for targeted native advertising?

Chad Pollitt, then VP of Audience at Native Advertising Institute, and a key note speaker at Native Advertising DAYS 2016 answers these questions and more in the interview below.

Chad Pollitt is a leading expert in audience building and content distribution. He joined Native Advertising Institute with the mission to lead, educate and connect native advertising professionals to advance the industry. He’s a former VP and Co-founder of Relevance, a digital marketing agency and publisher. In 2015, he helped guide his team to winning the audience growth award from the Content Marketing Institute. See the full press release here. 

Below are highlights from the interview which have been slightly edited for clarity.

Why native advertising is right for top funnel content
"The money we as marketers are spending at the bottom and the middle of the funnel on things like PPC, traditional sponsorships, display advertising and so forth are built to promote our mid- to bottom funnel content. But with the rise of content marketing we as marketers moved up funnel.

RELATED: Why the Sales Funnel is Alive and Well

So now we're creating very top funnel, helpful, in many cases non-branded content from blog posts to infographics. They only have one channel for paid distribution and that's native advertising. And as a result, since we as marketers are spending much more time, energy and effort on creating top funnel content, it's just a matter of time until we spend that same amount of time, energy and effort at the top of the funnel on native advertising. It's coming. It just makes economic sense."

Next step for brands is to align native advertising with the buyer's journey
"The next step for brands is to align their native advertising with their buyer's journey by utilizing both native advertising and retargeting. Think of email marketing automation. The concept is simple; somebody consumes top funnel content, then you use email to deliver the mid funnel content if that person consumes that mid funnel content then you email them bottom funnel content. And if they convert on that, then you would typically contact that individual.

RELATED: How to Scale Native Advertising for Content Distribution

You can do the same thing using native advertising. So you do not deliver anyone mid- to bottom funnel content unless the buyers have already engaged with and consumed your top funnel content. So you're actually guiding them logically through the buyer's journey using native advertising. Native advertising is just another channel that we can use as marketers to nurture prospective customers down the buyer's journey."

I don't want to deliver a message about 'The 10 best ways to run a marathon' to someone who doesn't run

Good native advertising needs context
"A good native advertising case story is characterized by context. I don't want to deliver a message about 'The 10 best ways to run a marathon' to someone who doesn't run. I want to deliver context and something prudent to that person. One of the ways you can target in a programmatic way is through context so that your ad is contextually relevant to the article that it shows in and around. So to me, that's what characterizes good native advertising; context."

Lack of understanding from marketers and advertisers is the biggest threat to native 
"The biggest threat [for native] that I see right now is a lack of understanding. You have these sales people that have been around a long time and that are used to selling display units and email campaigns etc. And then you give them native advertising and say, "Go out and sells this". Well, there's a disconnect because a lot of them don't really understand it or they're uncomfortable with it because it's new.

RELATED: How To Convince Advertisers to Tell Authentic Stories

Then you go back to the media buyer, the marketer, people like me, who are used to buying display units and doing PPC and retargeting and those types of media buys. I might not be educated on native. So we've got a perfect storm; we have sales people that aren't perfectly educated in native and then we have buyers who aren't necessarily perfectly educated in native either. That's a big threat to native.

Publishers need to educate their sales staff
"Publishers need to seek out resources to educate their staff. The last book that I wrote; 'The Native Advertising Manifesto' is selfishly speaking a good start if you're a salesperson at a publishing house and you want to really have a good solid foundation of native advertising. It's free to download.

The trends for native advertising are pointing very high

The graph for native is looking good
"The trends for native advertising are pointing very high. Adyoulike predicts that there's going to be 59 billion dollars spent worldwide in 2018 on native advertising. That's a huge number. It just gets bigger and bigger and bigger every year. Emedia and some other outlets have predictions that are very similar and the graph just goes up to the right."

RELATED: 5 Facts About Native Advertising and the News Media Industry

Native targeting will be based on devices
"Targeting for native advertising and other forms of advertising in the future can really be based on something simple. This little device [an Apple Watch] is monitoring my heart rate. I see a day in the future where ads will be so personalized they're going to be based on our emotional state at the time the ad is delivered. It's just a matter of time, the infrastructure is being built right now. The targeting at that level of personalization will be a pure form of delivering the right content to the right person at the right time on the right channel. That is the Garden of Eden for native advertising."

RELATED: Get Chad Pollitt’s prediction for native advertising in 2017 + 22 other experts [free e-book]

Interview by: Stine Andersen

Photo: Clemens Dörr/TV United