Native advertising: Tips to get creative

Native advertising is paid advertising where the ad matches the look and feel of the editorial content of a website. You can get really creative because getting a higher CTR for Native ads is all about psychology in order to create meaningful engagement from a potential customer who is viewing the website where your ad is placed. Think of it as content marketing. Once a user clicks on your Native ad they should be taken to a Landing Page, where you can work your magic to get them to convert, but more of that later… 

This blog post aims to help you develop a killer native advertising creative, read on…


Back to basics

So what is a Native ad? It consists of an image, a short title and a short description

Now let’s start on that creativity…


The image

50% of attracting the user comes from using a compelling image. You don’t need a graphic designer to create these images, they are not like banner ads which may need text creatives or animations included, with Native its just a simple image and you have many options here, so let’s list a few tips to get your creative juices going:

Contextual: Choose an image that fits into the website you are targeting, for example, if it’s a website with reviews of cars, use an image of a car. That way the user is more likely to click on your Native ad because they are on that website checking out cars.

Avoid stock photos: Yes, the end user has seen those stock photos over and over again, they look staged

Amateur real life photos: We live in a smartphone world. We are now totally trained to enjoy Instagram styled selfies and images and those amateur style photos create sincerity, intimacy and familiarity.

Eye contact: Using a photo of a person(s) looking directly into the camera is highly engaging for the end user.  

Emotional response: Human facial expressions can have a powerful impact. Happy, sad, flirtatious, funny? All will trigger an emotional response from an end user. Ambiguous and unclear expressions won’t generate the same type of response. And what about cute animals? They always get a positive reaction.

Keep it linked: Your image should have an element that relates to the Native ads title and description so it is not considered misleading and it shows what the user can expect once they click.

💡 TIP! –  Try uploading several different images and use ExoClick’s Automatic Variations Optimisation tool. The tool allows automated control over the traffic sent to a campaign’s different variations. More info here.

ExoClick’s guidelines: ExoClick requires that the image should be 300×300px in PNG or JPEG file formats, no animation is allowed and don’t add borders or margins, or it won’t fit into the look and feel of the website you are targeting. Check out our Native advertising guidelines here.


The title and description

ExoClick’s Business Intelligence team examined the CTR difference of a Native ad with just an image compared to one with an additional title and description and it generates a much higher CTR:

  • No title/description average CTR is 0.14% 
  • With a title/description average CTR is 0.23% 

Therefore using a title and description increases your CTR by 60.8%, so it’s well worth doing. 

Keep your title to a short and the description length should be a short sentence.

Try these text tips

With the short character length then your title and description still need to get your message across. The title font will be bigger and bolder than the description, so this should work in harmony with your image, the description should then amplify and tease your title message further, to get the user to click. Please note that some publishers only allow a title and no description, so your title text should always be a good CTA.

Make it a question: Get them thinking by starting your text with phrases such as Did you know…? How can you find…?” “What’s the best…?” “Have you ever tried…?” “Are you…? 

Use facts and statistics: People love facts not fake news e.g. 80% of men… , 9 out of 10 cats… , etc 

Use numbers: Numbers are easier for a reader to notice for example: ‘7 things you should know about shampoo’ works better than ‘Seven things…’ plus it saves you character space! 

News worthy: Exploit big current news stories or big movie/Netflix series releases so you can tie your texts into this.

Offer a lifehack: People love to learn new things to make their lives easier or to learn new tricks e.g. ‘How to get the girlfriend of your dreams’ ‘How to save 3 hours a day’

Be negative: Sometimes negative words such as ‘worst’ gain more clicks than positive ones like ‘best.’ Negative statements are intriguing and seem more authentic and genuine e.g. ‘Your worst nightmare just came true, but this will fix it.’

Translations: Chances are that you will be targeting different countries so make sure that you use a native speaker to translate your texts and concepts, never use Google Translate, it will make your Native ad less clickable.

💡 TIP! Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion – ExoClick provides this feature which lets you dynamically change texts within your Native ad campaigns. Watch this video and here is a tutorial.


ExoClick’s Native advertising formats

We offer three Native ad formats: Recommendation, Exit and Interstitial, try them out to see which converts the best for you.

Giles Hirst