B2B going native to attract new customers?

Going native has many connotations but in the B2B world it means using advertising as an effective marketing strategy tool. A Business2Community article from Blaise Lucey, recently, outlined the native advertising concept and looked into whether it is a useful method get new customers.

Native is trendy

While native advertising is a relatively new term and type of advertising it’s pretty clear that more companies are exploring and deploying the strategy. BuzzFeed has been generating revenue from their native advertising campaigns so successfully that a venture capital firm has just furnished them with $50 million in funding. Because newspaper and print advertising has taken a significant downturn more companies are experimenting with native advertising to increase brand visibility and to connect with consumers through new media platforms.

So what is native advertising

According to Lucey’s article native advertising is content produced by a company that is placed in high profile publications – The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, for example – for cash considerations. Branded content creation has become a huge revenue generator for BuzzFeed who create content for clients like Captain Morgan and Toyota. Although this profile has raised some serious journalistic and ethics questions, the bottom line is the big money it has drawn into BuzzFeed coffers and the good will generated between the company and its clients.

According to a Sharethrough survey quoted by The Motley Fool online magazine’s Beth Nichols, native advertising can boost intent to purchase by 18 percent but it’s also relative to the product being branded.

Does native work for B2B?

While many companies are trying uot the native advertsing concept with varying results, how does it work for B2B companies? According to the Business2Community story brands that wish to pursue leads and engagements are seeing mixed returns when compared with companies that are geared toward impressions. While a content branding article can receive thousands of shares it doesn’t ensure that tarffic will garner referrals to the site. Native advertising is a very effective tool to drive engagement. By utilizing web analytics, tracking visitors from the publisher’s site is a snap, according to Lucey.

BuzzFeed’s key to success, said Nichols, is their embracing of new revenue models that depend on native advertising instead of traditional digital Mark Thompson is the CEO and president of The New York Times which created their own native advertising operation to combat decreasing print sales revenues. he said the move to the new platform has been a successful one.

“We are particularly encouraged by the growing success of Paid Posts, our native advertising solution, which we launched in January,” Thompson noted.

Native spending projected to increase

Nichols story also indicated that expenditures on this type of advertising were around $1.4 billion back in 2012 but is expected to surge to $5 billion by 2017. Display advertising is not expected to drop during the same time-frame but will likely see significant slowing, only growing from $2.9 billion to $ 6.8 billion by 2017. By comparison, native advertising is expected to increase the market share by more than half.

What does the future of advertising look like?

With all the venture capital money floating around the native advertising phenomenon the indicators are there that investors believe that BuzzFeed and it’s business model is the future of branding. However, problems could arise that would change the company model and impact the company’s success. Ash Nashad is a digital marketing company founder and he explained to Business News Daily’s Nicole Fallon that native ads have a targeted niche.

“Native ads appear around a webpage’s main content with a look and feel that matches the design and layout of the website,” said Nashed, . “This design makes the ad simple, unobtrusive and easier to consume than displays ads. We consider native ads a seamless preview to content and offers, and less like an attention-demanding ad that can be disruptive to consumers. These features translate into better engagement with consumers.”

The native advertising concept seems to be more effective with the millennial generation  who grew up with the evolution of the digital and technological age. These are the people who are representing the biggest and most valuable of age groups and companies would be best suited to pay full attention to their needs and wants, said Fallon’s story. Nashad expanded upon that for the article.

“With younger audiences, having always had the Internet has made them proficient at evaluating content and consuming information quickly,” Nashed told Business News Daily. “Display units have historically distracted their quick consumption habit, which has trained them to consider ads as part of the landscape and not something on which to focus.”

As native advertising continues to make inroads and rake in large revenues and investors, more B2B companies, advised Lucey, should carefully explore the benefits and pitfalls of native advertising. While some say it’s the way of the future, caution is a prudent watchword and businesses should tread slowly before switching their advertising regimen completely to native.