How Native Ads Augment Search Engine Marketing

There's a trend used by publishers to make native advertising content discoverable in the same way that other content is through search and social media, according to a recent study.

The "Premium Content Brands are Native Naturals" study from the Online Publishers Association, conducted in partnership with Radar Research, attempts to answer questions about the underlying approach to native advertisements, partly through case studies. I also spoke with OPA President Pam Horan to get her ideas on how these ads can complement search engine marketing.

The OPA study found that 81% of publishers admit marketers use native ads to boost consumer engagement and achieve brand lift, while 57% also adopt traditional content metrics like engagement/time spent, and 43% use traffic to measure the effectiveness of campaigns.



One of the rules to follow, per the OPA, is that native content should mirror the discovery of editorial content through search and social media. At Edmunds, marketers use the native ads to create sponsored search results that serve up when users search for cars on social channels. The inclusion of sponsored search results taps the site's core functions.

Publishers say readers come to their site looking for information in native advertisements, Horan says -- similar to those found in editorial content. It's the education and the relevant information in the native content -- along with "good" link-building practices -- that Google Engineer Matt Cutts explains can help to improve search engine rankings for publishers.

The native ads become searchable in search engines and in social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Time Inc., for example, developed social plug-ins to share the content through Facebook and Twitter. It found the social interaction rate rose three-times higher, compared with an average article on

Horan says publishers prefer native advertising to display ads -- which play another important role, she says, pointing to the ability to drive traffic to native campaigns.

Adobe showed last year that HTML5 allows content to become searchable.

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