“In your last article, you told me to use native ads, and now I still lost more than $1000!?”
Well, this can of course happen.
And just using native ads for your real estate business in itself doesn’t guarantee marketing success, of course.
Even if you’ve found the best marketing channel in the world you can still lose money with it.
And even a winning campaign can turn into a losing one over time because of changes in the marketplace or a shift in the user behavior on the marketing channels that worked out well before.
That’s why in today’s article you will learn about 13 native ads best practices, so you can increase your chances of a winning native ads campaign for your real estate business.
First, I will show you some of the general best practices for native ads and then how they can be best applied for your real estate business, where there is a fit.
13 General Best Practices for Native Ads
1) Use images featuring people
Almost the same is true for native ads as for the Facebook ones.
If you use images with people, you can increase your brand familiarity, purchases, and recommendations.
This is especially the case on mobile devices.
2) Use Your Logo
Using your logo in your native advertising can increase fixation by 25%.
3) Use Video
By using videos that are 15 seconds long in your native ads, you can increase the purchase intent and the recall than if you would make and use a longer video.
This is in line with the general trend in video advertising because visitors are more likely to stay with a 15-second video ad than a longer video.
But you might want to be cautious and not use clickbait captions, since consumers can tell more and more easier when they are advertised or misled.
Therefore, high-quality video content is more likely to be successful by being more engaging for the visitors and not violating FTC rules on deceptive advertising.
4) Make Sure It’s Mobile Friendly
After website visitors click on your native ad, they should have a mobile friendly experience.
If not, you might waste your marketing dollars.
Your click-through rate might still be good though, but then the visitor doesn’t convert well afterward.
“5) You Will Need a Content Strategy That Blends In
In my last article, I mentioned that native ads usually blend in the publisher’s usual content.
If you keep that in mind and understand what this means for your ads, you almost can’t go wrong.
Since you want to blend in, for example, in a certain online magazine or news magazine, you don’t want to first show an ad that appears to be an article, but once the user clicks on it he gets directly sent to your offer page.
That’s why you will need something that’s called a “bridge page”, which, in an online news website would be some sales copy camouflaged as an article in the same style as the publisher’s website is writing.
This and the content type you will use depend on the publisher you choose.
Or, if you use a YouTube influencer, you wouldn’t want to use a written editorial ad as a bridge page but rather some nice video content, in which you give value and at the same time, sell your product or service by linking to your final offer page.
What kind of content could you use for your real estate native ads?
Here, you can come back to the basic content ideas for the real estate industry.
Some weeks ago, I wrote an article giving you 267 real estate content ideas.
Let’s say your target audience is made of real estate investors and your offer is a coaching program or course about how to flip houses.
In this case, you could write for example a “what if” editorial such as “What If You Could Flip a House Without Having a Real Estate License?”
Should you happen to be a realtor and your target audience retail buyers, another native ad content idea for your ad could be an overview of the most walkable areas in the geographic area you are covering as realtor, and then offering a downloadable brochure with a list of houses in this area.
Here, the visitor enters in your marketing funnel.
So, depending on your business and your target audience, you could use one or more of the content ideas from my article and use them as your native ad content.
6) Your Image Thumbnails
The image thumbnail is the first thing a visitor will notice when coming across a native ad.
It has to be interesting enough and draw attention, so that it doesn’t get ignored.
Since users or your potential customers will view your native ad and content on different devices, it’s a good best practice to have margins outside the images so they don’t get cropped and destroy your click-through and/or conversion rate.
7) Don’t Just Use One Headline for Each Image Thumbnail
On native ad platforms, you will usually need a thumbnail that comes with your native ad content and which can be displayed across different platforms.
In order to help the native ad engine to give your ad the best performance by selecting the best performing headline, you want to provide not only one headline for each thumbnail but several ones.
If you know a bit about copywriting, it is recommended anyway to write several headlines until you find the right one.
So, you might already have several different versions of the headline because of the work you did before.
In order to disclose to potential customers that they are clicking on an ad, it is also a good idea to mention in the headline a bit about your brand or your product.
Another good idea is also to use a search engine optimized and informative headline.
8) The Native Ad Placement Should Be Smart and Persistent
Since native ads should blend in with the publisher’s content, it’s a good idea to make them as persistent as possible.
The publisher’s website visitors should be able to scroll up and down the page, without losing sight of the thumbnail.
Persistence also means to have the native ad placed for several consecutive days on the publisher’s website, so it is perceived as part of the content and the visitors can come back to it.
Here, the importance of good quality and relevant content of your native ads comes into place. By having that, the visitors are motivated to come back to it even after they have navigated away from the page.
9) Aim for Premium Content Houses
To aim for premium content houses or publishers has several benefits, since they usually have industry-wide credibility and thus native ads viewed by their visitors are more trusted.
They don’t permit any native ad on their websites and take a close look at whether the content of the ad is relevant and good enough for their audiences.
What does that mean for you?
You want to create content that resembles the premium publisher’s quality and look-and-feel.
But this also means that you would need to research first which publishers are relevant to your audience, implying that you know your audience and your marketing angle.
In the context of real estate, this means you would look for publishers, that have displayed relevant real estate ads in the past.
You can find those publishers by searching for example in Google for “[Name of Publisher]” and “Real Estate”.
Don’t forget to deactivate the adblocker in your browser.
Then, click through the different articles and you will usually find below or on the side relevant other articles that are normally labeled as “paid” or “sponsored content”.
In this way, I found for example on CNN a native ad article linked to Mansion Global about a fashion mogul buying a Miami condo for $11.48 Million.
You just need to click around a bit and you might get some ideas and find out which publishers do native ads for the real estate industry.
By the way, this article about the fashion mogul can be also found in my article about 267 real estate content ideas.
It’s the part where you tell your audience about a celebrity that bought a property in your area.
10) Make It Shareable
If you want to get most out of your ad budget for native ads, making the editorial shareable is another good or best practice.
By visitors sharing your content, you get free exposure and by that, you can indirectly reduce your costs per click.
You can make native content shareable via email, with a social button and or add to your original images their own Pinterest button.
11) Enable an A/B Testing Strategy Focusing First On Mobile
As I already mentioned very often on my blog, testing is one of the most important things you can do to create a winning marketing campaign.
Because you don’t just find a winning ad campaign, you create it over time.
The same is true for native ads.
In terms of A/B testing elements, there is not much difference from other marketing channels.
The important thing is that you have some sort of prioritized testing protocol, so you don’t lose yourself in the plenty of different elements you can test.
So, here are 9 testable variables ordered by most to less important:
- The publisher/the native ad platform you choose
- You headlines
- Your CTA (Call-to-action)
- Your Pricing Copy
- Long vs. Short Page Length
- Video vs. Image vs. Text
- Your Images (e.g. Faces vs. Nature)
- The Ad Creative/Ad Design
- Ad Positioning
When doing A/B testing, it’s important to keep a close look on the key performance indicators, such as conversion rates, revenues, ad clicks, click-through rate, bounce rate, end-to-end views (videos).
In the beginning, it is still easier to measure the engagement indicators such as ad clicks, click-through rates, bounce rates or end-to-end views (video), unless of course, you are quite lucky and have a winning campaign with conversions and revenue right from the get-go.
Since according to eMarketer 88.3% of all native content consumption is made on mobile devices, it is especially important to perform the A/B test for them.
This was in 2017 so we may assume that this number is even a bit higher today.
12) Do Enough Competitor Research before You Start Your Campaign
How is it done?
You can do it for free with a higher time investment or you can do it with different tools that, for the most part, usually come with a monthly subscription fee (not always that cheap).
If you want to do it for free, you should deactivate your adblocker extension in the browser of your choice and visit different large online publishers relevant to your target audience and see if you can find real estate related native ads.
The whole research is not about ripping your competitor’s ads but to get inspired what type of pictures, ad creatives they and marketing angle they are using.
If you want to use one of the paid ad spy tools, you can usually get more data faster and also some key metrics of the different ads you spy on.
In contrast to the free method, you can see which ads are more successful than others.
Here are 3 ad spy tools you can use for different native ads:
13) Don’t Forget That There Are More Formats for Native Ads than Just Text-Based Ones
From all the different native ad platforms you can find, you might get the impression that native ads are only text based.
But native ads are actually nothing else than “product or service” placement that blends into the publisher’s content and the publisher can be using text, audio or video formats.
Maybe in a few years, there will also be holographic formats (e.g. the Startrek Holodeck).
So, you can use native ads on YouTube (video) or on podcasts (audio) as well.
Some advertisers have good success advertising on podcasts, getting much higher conversion rates (well, it’s testing again).
In this case, the announcer or podcast host inserts the marketing message in an organic and natural way.
I hope these best practices will give you a nice edge with native ads for your real estate business and increase your chances of success.
In my opinion, some of the most important best practices are competition research, great relevant content for your native ads that blends in the publisher’s content and having a testing protocol in place before you start your campaign.
Let me know how it goes for you. Thanks for reading and if you liked this article, please feel free to share it.