Interview with Anastasia Pasechnik, Head of Web Native Department at Epom Market.
Ana, why did your team decide to shift from standard ad formats to native ads?
We entered the native ad market three years ago. In 2015 everybody was already aware of user’s blindness towards banners. Advertising companies were looking for a worthy replacement to standard ad formats.
At that time a few trendsetting digital companies have already succeeded in native advertising. So we learned from their experience and сarried out a deep business and marketing research. As a result we built up a new business strategy for Epom Market that was focused on native advertising.
When we started running native ads, our advertising partners quickly noticed the difference: we got an increase in engagement and brand loyalty. CTR of banners, even of good ones, rarely surpasses even 0.2%. With the same ad expenses native ads bring a higher amount of clicks and purchases compared to standard ad formats.
Even though native advertising is very nuanced, it is one of the highest performing and effective ad formats for both publishers and advertisers.
Which mobile ad formats will drive performance to advertisers in 2018?
I think we should turn around and look at another direction. No doubt, ad formats are important. But the key question is: how to advertise? Data-driven and user-focused advertising is the answer. We should keep in mind, that user remains the center of the advertising ecosystem, not publishers or brands.
Personalized data-based online ads shown at the right time, place and with the relevant message will drive performance to advertisers.
Unfortunately, today we should also consider the other side of the coin. Advertising built on data from third-party providers comes along with some challenges. You’ve probably heard about the recent scandal with Facebook involvement in shady data-gathering. As it turned out, companies that gather personal information, don’t always use it legally. On May, 25 the GDPR enforcement will come into action. So now advertisers should choose data providers and use personal data more carefully.
Epom Market supports recent transparency-related and trust-focused initiatives. Our ad units are fully compliant with Coalition for Better Ads and IAB requirements. Adding Epom Market to ads.txt file is one of the first points in our Publishers Agreement. We want our partners to be sure that advertising with Epom is transparent and brand safe.
If advertisers want their ads to perform well, they should look closely into the publishers they’re working with. Ads need to be relevant to the user’s interests and publisher’s website content.They shouldn’t interrupt the user during the session. In case of buying traffic from the ad network or DSP, it is better to pay attention to precise targeting to ensure ads will reach the right audience. Such an approach is vital for both mobile and desktop ads.
Speaking of native ad formats, Epom Market favorites are in-feed, in-article, and interscroller ads. Over the last few years, these ad units brought much better performance and results to both publishers and advertisers. I believe advertisers should give them a try.
What requirements should advertisers follow while working on native ads for a specific website?
Firstly, before setting the goals for online ad campaigns advertisers should know their audience perfectly. As a part of business marketing strategy, digital advertising helps find the right audience online across different platforms.
Secondly, advertisers have to be flexible. By flexibility, I mean the ability to adjust ad creatives to different platforms and traffic sources. High-quality visual elements, clear message to the audience, matching the website design are literally the must for all ad campaign creatives. Сatchy yet non-intrusive ads work best of all.
Thirdly, advertisers, ad networks, and agencies should know where to find the audience. Ads featuring beauty goods work in different ways when being displayed at a sports website or a fashion blog for women. If initial test shows that a source hasn’t brought expected results, there is no sense for advertisers to invest budgets into this channel. There should be a win-win situation for all advertising parties involved with no chances to any ambiguity between publishers and advertisers.
Epom Market provides advertisers with an opportunity to programmatically buy unique inventory for absolutely different categories of products. If you want to promote your service or product, there is no need to reach the website owners manually and handle different platforms. Our ad network is integrated with news, entertainment, fashion, healthy, shopping, education and other niche websites. That means Epom Market gives advertisers a chance to reach millions of users through one single account.
How can advertisers maximize their ROI with mobile native ads?
I believe brands can effectively drive growth to their ROI programmatically. Showing ads to the user interested in your product brings higher CTR, ad viewability and users engagement.
Ad placements are also essential to performance. You should never stop experimenting with ad spots and pick up the ones that bring better interaction with your ads. According to research, 52% consumers notice in-feed ads more often while scrolling the news feed. On top of that, native ads have 18% higher lift in purchase intent compared to banners.
It is also important to split potential customers into segments and reach them with different messages. At first, introduce your business to the “cold” audience by highlighting some key information about your product. After the first interaction with your brand, the part of “cold” audience moves to “warm” audience. “Warm” audience requires another communication on every further step of interaction with your ads. Adding the right messages and calls for various audience segments is one of the main factors that affect ROI.
Could you tell more about Epom’s best practices for native ads?
When we were about to start working with in-feed ads, we offered our partner publisher wittyfeed.com to give it a try. As our in-feed doesn’t overlap the content and displays only branded ads, the wittyfeed team agreed to launch in-feed ads to see the results. During the first week, we increased publishers daily revenue by 2.5 times. Of course, the wittyfeed team was excited with the revenue boost and decided to monetize their Tier 1 inventory with in-feed ads.
Let’s take another example. Last year our media buying department set up a partnership with American broadcast media agency Tegna. The company owns 37 news and entertainment websites. At first, we started monetizing two of them. After 2 times revenue increase in first two weeks with our in-feed, Tegna added Epom codes to ten more websites. Today we continue expanding our cooperation and share big plans for the future.
A non-disclosure agreement doesn’t allow me to reveal the name of the company that can be another example of a successful shift to native ads. Approximately a year ago a new online service for building mobile apps was expanding to the international market. They were looking for a partner to shell out their advertising budget into online ads. I first met their CEO at Mobile World Congress 2017. We kicked off their promotion ad campaign a few weeks later. As you have probably guessed, we launched native in-feed ads and interscrollers. These ad formats weren’t the only reason of why this ad campaign brought one of the highest positive ROI our company has ever reached. Yet their impact on the final results can’t be overstated.
And the last question. Could you define 3 next big trends in mobile advertising?
If not looking into a very far future, I’d put direct relations with partners, transparency, and cross-platform advertising.
Why? When your partners are 100 % aware of what you are doing to reach their goals, if you guarantee full transparency of advertising, they will be more likely to invest in the partnership with your company and trust you.
Epom Market has exclusive direct relations with 215 websites. One may say, this amount isn’t enough to grow big. What I say it’s better to directly buy traffic from 215 websites and be 100% sure in its quality, whether to resell traffic from 1000 websites without the ability to track the impression roadmap.
What fascinates me even more, is our friendly relations with all of our publishers. We sincerely appreciate their trust. Our partners are priceless for us.
I also mentioned cross-platform advertising as one of the trends. I think that’s one of the pivotal things advertisers should consider when starting an online promotion. We should all understand that one ad channel can rarely be the starting and finishing point of a customer’s journey. Find your customer on the desktop during a working day, then catch him in a mobile app, and finally, reach him on Facebook and bring him to your website for a purchase.
Don’t expect to get an immediate conversions boost. Customers need time to make a decision. If your product is expensive, you should be ready to interact with your audience for months, reaching them with the right messages and on the right platforms throughout their сustomer journey.
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