Think of your online publishing content as a salad. If the only ingredient to that salad is lettuce, your dish will likely be one of the most ignored items on the menu.
Diversity benefits all business situations, especially advertising, and this theory more than applies to publishers assessing their native advertising offerings. To grab and maintain interest, you need to make your native ads as diverse as the target audience you’re trying to reach.
Why You Should Diversify Your Advertising
If you only cater to one type of advertiser, you’ll live and die with its prosperity. Market trends and offers are always in danger of fluctuating, and relying too heavily on one industry can really hamper your company during lean times.
In native advertising — and the business in general — there are trends that cause advertising revenue to ebb and flow. Maintaining different types of offers is the best way to ensure a relatively constant source of revenue from your native ad units.
For example, let’s say you run a fitness and health website and gyms are your major advertiser. But they advertise at a very specific time. Most gyms around the country promote heavily during the winter, especially during January when most people are trying to get ahead on that New Year’s resolution. However, because gyms make up the majority of your advertising revenue, that leaves your company with a pretty empty slate for the rest of the year. If you diversify and begin to bring on advertisers such as athletic clothes, equipment, or self-help books, you can maintain a steadier stream of income throughout the year.
There’s always more to an audience than you think at first glance, and by only offering them a small base of native content, you could be misreading where their interests actually are.
Let’s say your company’s demographics skew heavily toward women who are 18 to 34 years old and you specialize specifically in fashion advertisers. You’re ignoring the fact that most 18- to 34-year-old women have other interests besides fashion. There’s a big missed opportunity to tap into other non-surface interests. Maybe your audience is actually more health-conscious and seeking green products for their homes.
You have to cover your bases with a diverse array of content because variety ensures you aren’t missing something your demographics don’t reveal at first glance.
When you’re only pushing out the same type of content-style native ads, your audience becomes immune to the types of offers that are running across your network. That could mean fewer clicks, and, naturally, when clicks taper off, that leads to less-than-enthused advertisers.
How to Diversify Your Ad Content
Diversifying your ad offering keeps your audience from succumbing to “offer blindness.” You have to keep your content fresh and fluid if you want to garner enough eyeballs to make it a worthwhile relationship.
Here are three ways publishers can vary their content offerings:
- Use an ad network. Publishers looking for a mixture of native advertisers could start by hiring an ad network. Armed with more resources and bigger sales teams, networks are able to reach wider ad bases than most in-house teams.
However, when exploring a potential partnership with an ad network, choose one with the diversity you seek. They shouldn’t just work with brands; a network should have relationships with marketers — both direct and content — and any other type of advertiser.
- Examine your demographics. Before you reach out to an ad network, make sure you’re appealing to as wide of an audience as possible. Obviously, most publishers will skew toward specific demographics, but venturing outside those barriers is a good way to avoid stagnation.
Let’s revisit the example of 18- to 34-year-old women. If that’s your target audience, don’t just rely on fashion ads. To truly resonate with your audience, look deeper than just the surface interests, and get a pulse on whatever else appeals to them.
- Use multiple ad networks. Sometimes, there can never be too much of a good thing. Unfortunately, a lot of today’s publishers are forced into exclusivity agreements with one ad network. Find out beforehand if this is the case with your ad network before you start the relationship. Playing the field with ad networks is the best way to make sure you’re getting an even more diverse array of content.
Attracting readers is a challenge, but the real key is producing the kind of content that keeps them coming back to your publication. The digital world is constantly changing, and your advertising needs to do the same.
Have you used the strategies? Let us know what's worked for you in the comments.