How to Use Affiliate Marketing to Boost Your Native Advertising Strategy


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Did you know native ads have a 53 percent higher view rate than banner ads?

Perhaps even more impressive: The same study shows that consumer purchase intent is 53 percent higher for native ads. That means a native ad is more than twice as likely to actually convert a consumer into a customer than even the best traditional advertisement.

With stats like that, successful marketers must realize that native advertising is here to stay. The power in native advertising comes in the ability to connect with consumers on a personal level. When consumers feel connected to your brand, they are more likely to be loyal customers.

One important tool in the native advertising tool kit is affiliate marketing. Before we even called it native advertising, affiliates were doing it successfully through traditional affiliate programs. Providing great content, tools, and support to affiliates helps them bring a brand to consumers who never would have found it otherwise. And when you bring native advertising under your affiliate umbrella, you are likely to have a far better ROI than just paying for placements or impressions.

In this article, you’ll learn more about:

  • The impact of native advertising
  • The growth of native advertising
  • How affiliate marketing can boost your native advertising strategy

The Rapidly Growing Interest in Native Advertising

Native advertising is gaining attention as the importance of ad fraud, viewability, and blocking are top of mind for marketers. When iOS 9 and OS X opened up to ad blockers, it became even easier for consumers to simply not consume ads.

Today’s Internet consumer is savvy. When they do happen to see traditional ads, they aren’t likely to click them. As consumers increasingly choose to avoid or ignore ads, marketers need to think about different ways of engaging them.

In terms of customer experience, native advertising is less disruptive and more engaging. Good native advertising holds value for the consumer, even if he or she doesn’t click through and buy the product.

If consumers like native — and brands realize that native ads convert significantly better — it’s no wonder the method is gaining widespread appeal. Native advertising has become so popular, in fact, it’s predicted that spending will reach $21 billion by 2018.

Using Affiliates to Boost Your Native Advertising Strategy

The goal of native advertising is to connect with customers on an emotional level. It’s deeper than a banner ad or a magazine spread.

That need for connection means affiliates are one of the best native advertising channels. Affiliate marketing is especially good at connecting with consumers because affiliates are the most influential people in their sphere. When they recommend products or services, their audiences listen.

You, as the company or marketer, might provide content, but affiliates will use it in ways that best reach the right audience. Affiliates are invested not only because you provide valuable commissions and rewards, but also because they stake their reputations on providing solid recommendations (and they have a focus on conversion).

As affiliate marketing has grown, though, there are some key things you must do to make it work for your brand:

1. Establish strong relationships.

Solid partnerships with affiliates will unearth more native advertising possibilities. Start by identifying bloggers or other sites that are attracted your brand and already seem legitimately interested. Present attractive incentives like commissions that reward the actions you value most — beyond that, allow them to use your product or service. Their authentic enthusiasm will go further than simply reposting content.

Reebok does this very well. It regularly gives away or discounts new products, and the relationship is so strong that its army of affiliates shares every offer.

When you build strong relationships, you’ll be able to ensure promotions meet your brand guidelines by setting terms and conditions. And you’re more likely to retain that control if you treat your affiliates well.

2. Engage the audience.

In an affiliate system, the influencer makes decisions about how to present a lot of your content, but it’s often up to you to provide the raw material. Create offers and content that will appeal to your affiliate’s audience.

Consider helping the affiliate create personalized content. Sixty-two percent of marketers use some variety of personalization, and for good reason. To see greater transaction and revenue rates, try personalized emails and targeted calls to action.

3. Leverage multiple native channels.

Successful affiliates leverage a combination of blogging, publishers, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms to effectively promote products. Consumers already go through at least six different channels before purchase, and that number is only increasing.

Create content that can be used on different channels. Don’t try to literally do it all, but pick the platforms your customers are on and where they’d expect to see you.

Affiliate marketing — like any native advertising — isn’t a trick or a bait and switch to catch the consumer. When done well, it’s an authentic relationship that benefits you, the affiliate, and the consumer (and the affiliate channel can make it available to you on a performance basis).

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