Going Native?

The Value of Native and Other User Integrated Forms of Advertising

Many firms just like yours are asking the same question these days: is native advertising on social media platforms worth all of the time and money that goes into it? The short answer? Yes. 

The more important question, however, is why is it worth increasing your marketing budget to include native and other integrated forms of communication, and what does it mean for your business? Take a look at the following statistics from a recent Gallup Study

When asked what they use social media to do,

94% of consumers said to connect with friends and family, while only

29% of consumers said to follow trends and to find product reviews and information, and only

20% of consumers said to comment on what's hot and new and to write reviews of products.

When asked how much social media influences their purchasing decisions,

5% of consumers said a great deal,

30% of consumers said somewhat, and

62% of consumers said not at all. 

So, what are those numbers telling you? The numbers make it clear that consumers use social media channels with the primary purpose of having personal and sincere interactions with the people they know and care about. Consider your own social media habits for a moment. As a user, you most likely participate in conversations with friends, comment on pictures of milestones in their lives, and share a funny meme with the friend that it brings to mind every now and then. You use it as a tool for two-way communication. Businesses, on the other hand, often use social media as a one-way communication tool to pitch a sale. They post banner ads that consumers have trained themselves to disregard or send messages out to potential customers from a company sponsored page with the hopes of influencing purchasing decisions. Their one-way, B2C social strategy is misdirected. 

The majority of consumers self-reported that social media has no influence whatsoever upon their purchasing decisions. Then what does? The word-of-mouth recommendations of friends and family. People have been talking about what they do and do not like with their friends since they first started liking and disliking  things. Why? Because friends' recommendations are genuine and relate to their own needs and interests. 

This brings us back around to the value of social media integrated into the user experience. Native is the product of all of these human instincts and statistics. It is integrated into users' news feeds just like the stories and updates from their friends. Furthermore, it includes value-additive content that interests the targeted users (the good ones do at least). Native sponsored posts on Facebook show a friend who "liked" that company or organization above the content, making it feel even less obtrusive. 

Advertising today is about spreading your message in a way that feels natural to the consumer. Try adding a brand ambassador program to your strategy. These programs are native advertising at its finest, and allow you to send out your message through the voice of your best advocates: your customers. Join the two-way conversation as a trusted ally. Native advertising and brand ambassadors are changing the face of every industry, increasing the prevalence of value-additive content and genuine two-way interaction. Trust us, you're going to like where it takes you. 

If you are interested in learning about brand ambassador programs, please contact Steve Mahaney at smahaney@socialtoaster.com