Best-Performing Headlines and Creatives in Native Advertising
This is a guest post from Voluum DSP Account Manager, Daria Zenava. Voluum DSP is a Demand-Side Platform that enables you to manage, purchase, and optimize digital advertising inventory from multiple Ad Exchanges and SSPs (Supply Side Platforms) through a single interface. With a DSP you can buy a diversified ad inventory, across a range of publishers, through a single platform.
What makes native or any other type of advertising campaigns successful? The answer seems to be super simple: you need to reach the right audience at the right time with the right offer.
But to achieve this, there’s plenty of planning, prep work and forward thinking needed.
You start with a campaign’s planning – which involves choosing an offer you want to promote, understanding your target audience, choosing a traffic source, and allocating a certain budget for testing first and then for further optimizations.
Once you have a plan for what and where to promote, what the potential reach is, and what budget is needed, it’s time to prep your offer and content.
Develop Your Offer
In native advertising, the content is all about your offer – including landing pages, headlines, descriptions and images. You need to invest the most time and effort there. The powerful content is relevant, timely and it catches people’s attention.
You have a few seconds to stand out and grab the audience’s attention in today’s era of banner blindness.
Now, You’re Ready to Get Started
Once you’ve developed your campaign plan and chosen your offer, it’s time for the most important part – creating your ads. We’re going to work through how to craft your ad content and be creative but relevant.
One of the advantages of native ads is you have more visual elements to work with compared to traditional display ads. Not only do you have images but also headlines and sometimes even descriptions. These are additional opportunities to attract potential customers.
Let’s use this power to the fullest!
Today, we will touch upon how to create powerful headlines and choose high-performing creatives for your native campaigns.
How to Create Engaging Headlines For Your Native Campaigns
Headlines are actually considered to be the most important element of your content. They give that quick information that influences a decision of a client to proceed with your ad or not. This is the convincing moment. It’s now or never. Thus be sure you treat them seriously and don’t waste their potential. Here are a few tips to use next time you’ll be crafting headlines.
1. Be nice and short
In today’s world people’s attention span is decreasing dramatically. Don’t waste people’s time, be relevant and convey the message straight away. That’s why the best headlines are usually 70 characters or shorter. They should get straight to the point.
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2. Be number-oriented
Sentences that use numbers do not only sound convincing but they are easier for an eye to be seen in the sea of text. We do pay more attention to numbers. We do believe in them because they look like proven facts.
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One more trick is listicles. People love them! They structure and organise information, they give an impression of minimum efforts and time required to go through all the data. In the majority of cases they do not, since listicles are so addictive. But that’s exactly what we need: engagement.
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3. Be urgent
Create an impression of urgency and scarcity with your headline. Make your audience believe that this is a bargain they don’t want to miss out. The time is now, the deal is real, if they don’t act now they will lose. When our buying brain gains this impulse, other more rational senses give their way. Thus you can use people’s natural desire to benefit from an offer.
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4. Be intriguing
Question-type headlines work really great because they leave people without closure. They make people want to find out the answer. Have you heard of the curiosity gap? It’s when our brain gets a sense of deprivation from realizing it doesn’t know something. You need to give some information and then leave it open with a question at the end. Though you need to avoid questions to which people can simply answer “no”. So ask special questions starting with what, why, how, where, when etc.
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5. Be negative
Yes, forget for a bit about positive thinking when coming up with killer headlines. The majority of people tend to be negative involuntarily, this is a part of our evolution. For most of human history expecting the worst significantly increased the probability of survival. Negative thinking is an adaptive factor that is still pretty much present in our outlook of the world. It makes us alert and attracts attention. How to use this in our favour? For example, use words like “don’t,” “stop,” and “avoid”, they work wonders because we all want to know how to avoid something bad.
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6. Be surprising
People are always excited to see something new, unusual and unique. Our pleasure sensors are activated when we are having some new experiences. That’s why we are so addicted to something “top secret”, “confidential”, “surprising”. Use those curiosity-stimulating words along with other sales ones like “incredible”, “super easy”, ”astonishing” etc. and see how they will change your CTR.
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7. Be a storyteller
Try to appeal to people’s emotions and experiences by creating some stories they can relate to. We are social-oriented, we need to feel the support of other people by seeing that somebody has gone through the same experience or encountered the same problem. The level of trust is very high in this case.
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8. Be a proofreader
Seriously, check your grammar. I assure you all of us love picking up on somebody’s spelling or grammar mistakes. Mistakes will not give you much credibility, so be diligent and attentive when checking your copy. Also pay attention how many characters you are allowed to have in a headline. The number is different for different traffic sources thus make sure you check it in advance too.
We are done with headlines. Now it’s time to become even more creative. Let’s go visual!
How to Create Converting Images For Your Native Campaigns
I can’t stop emphasising that images together with headlines are that perfect duo that have incredible potential to bring you desired clicks. As we have discussed above, headlines fill in the informative part of a copy, whilst images use their visual powers to intensify the effect.
Do you want to know which images work best in native advertising? Check out these tips.
1. Without text
Images without text perform better. Native doesn’t work according to banner advertising rules. You don’t need text on native creatives. Besides, many Ad Exchanges including RevContent do not allow text on creatives at all. So get rid of those unnecessary captions and write good headlines instead.
2. Quality + size
The main tip here is to make sure that you comply with traffic sources’ size requirements. This is absolutely essential to know which sizes are allowed to run. Yes, some traffic sources can crop your images automatically to match publisher’s size requirements but it doesn’t mean that the final result will look good. Your image can be strangely cropped or stretched and will look just ridiculous. Thus double check the size requirements and make sure you use images with good quality.
3. Real photo vs. illustration
Realistic images almost always provide higher CTRs.
Thus don’t try to be extra creative when it’s not necessary. Use simple, easy-to-understand, real-life photos rather than illustration or cartoon-like creatives.
When scrolling your facebook or Instagram feed, which pictures will you be more likely to like? Those that have people in them or plain scenery? I bet you will answer the one with people.
Studies show that consumers tend to react better to images that depict humans or animals.
Again, it’s because we try to associate ourselves with people’s experiences and emotions rather than with some random objects or beautiful sunsets. And regarding animals, just come on, who wasn’t stuck in the loop of watching cute cats’ or dogs’ photos and videos?
5. Black vs colour
Using black and white creatives also shows better CTR. However, it’s not a universal rule, meaning you shouldn’t use colour images. Check what works best for your native campaign by running different styles. Test if black and white will work for you.
6. Update native images regularly
I know that finding a perfect combination of creatives and headlines is a long process. You experiment a lot, test, try new ones and finally find that ideal pair that works well. However it’s not the end of a battle. To succeed and stay on the top you need to constantly update creatives.
Why so? Remember we talked that all people always need something new and exciting?
Remember that we live in the era of banner blindness?
The chances that somebody clicks your ad after seeing it already dozens of times are pretty dismal. You need to change your creatives after some time to stay relevant and keep people’s interest on a high level.
One extra tip on best-performing headlines and creatives
These are the best suggestions on how to make your creatives and headlines stand out and bring results in the world of native advertising. However, one crucial thing to remember is that following advice is a good way to start but then you need to apply your own wit, analytical mind and experience.
Don’t blindly follow all the suggestions. Listen, learn, test, experiment and adapt.
Running A/B testing is always advisable for all elements on your content creation stage. Analyze what works best for your particular campaign and keep updating the content.
Yes, it’s not easy work to do but the results are worth all the efforts!