Content discovery networks place native ads on news sites and the websites of premium publishers. You may know them as content recommendation engines.
In recent years, eCommerce brands have realized that content discovery platforms such as Taboola have a number of strengths:
- Advertisers can find and engage millions of users.
- The programmatic features of the platforms enable the ads to deliver readers relevant content and offers.
- The formats are flexible, they allow for display, video and text ads, and reach readers across the full spectrum of devices.
- It’s possible to closely monitor and perpetually fine-tune the KPIs .
Above all, the costs of content discovery networks can put other native platforms such as social and search to shame, and they lower CPAs and increase ROI.
“Marketers are generating awareness and reducing their cost of acquisition by up to 50% with native advertising and content discovery solutions.” ~ Shopify Plus post by Sean Surdovel
See, eCommerce brands that focus strictly on search are realizing that going the organic route is often fruitless. Data from search experts at Ahrefs reveals that 91% of pages get ZERO traffic from Google. Industry research also reveals that social media sharing has seen significant declines.
And, it’s been well documented that scaling reach on a massive scale via search and social is often a tremendous budget buster and banner blindness is a frustrating reality for advertisers. Clickthrough rates are abominable.
“Because of its seamless relationship with editorial content and its relevance to the audience, advertisers report success with native ads — especially when compared to traditional display banners, which are routinely ignored or even blocked by consumers. Investment in native advertising has grown more than 150% since 2013, with revenues forecast to approach $14 billion this year, according to Marin Software.” ~ Kibo Commerce post by Myriah Cohen
It’s best practice to address the three stages of the funnel:
Awareness. Consideration. Decision.
When it comes to eCommerce native advertising, eCommerce brands should consider all three phases of the shopping funnel as distinct opportunities. Each piece of content should be mapped to a specific stage and measured accordingly.
Let’s look at some ways to make native ads published on content discovery networks work for your eCommerce brand in each phase.
Note: Taboola offers in-depth lessons on each in a special section of our site. Much of the following borrows from these pages.
The goal here is expose your products and services to those who have yet to discover them.
- Promote content with broad appeal related to your product category.
- Use engaging content formats like video, photo galleries, articles and blog posts.
- Use images of people interacting with your products as this approach has proven to increase CTR.
- Test images and titles.
The Line, a modern and personal approach to retail, brings together carefully chosen fashion, home and beauty items, places them in context with editorial features and offers an intimate offline-shopping experience. Their top-of-the-funnel approach increased overall brand awareness immensely.
More often than not, the goal here in mid-funnel is to drive interest in a page that captures the reader’s email address.
- Promote content purpose-built to highlight your product’s value proposition.
- Offer something of value, such as a discount or an assessment to help the prospect establish their needs.
- Interactive content works. Quizzes have proven to outperform standard landing pages by more than three times.
- Again, to increase CTR, display images of people interacting with your products.
- Run A/B tests.
eSalon aimed squarely at the middle of the funnel by telling their brand’s story with long-form content and providing potential customers with the opportunity to take a personalized survey.
At the bottom of the funnel, the final trigger point in the buying cycle, your content must directly relate to the product.
- Supplement your campaigns with a retargeting strategy to inspire users to return.
- Our research reveals that 74% of buyers purchase products NOT featured on the promoted page, so provide multiple opportunities for the user to shop.
- Titles suggesting price points produce higher conversion rates. Those without price points, however, yield higher click-through rates, so test both approaches for ROI.
Flare Audio, makers of headphone products, used the Taboola discovery platform to drive sales from many of the world’s top websites — in the thousands — while reducing their CPA.
Dig into the data for some predictive insights
Check this out. It’s called Taboola Trends. It’s another powerful tool designed to help plan creative approaches to native advertising. Taboola Trends is a massive data resource that presents analysis — updated weekly — regarding images and keywords based on about 75 million clicks across 50 billion impressions.
The data is presented as topics trends, image trends, keyword trends and phrase trends.
eCommerce sellers are bound to love what’s offered here, because it is possible to filter the trends by categories, platforms, language and location. Chances are, the categories have you covered:
- Investment products
(I bolded the categories that appear most obviously relevant to eCommerce brands. Others can too, however.)
So, for example, you may want to look at image trends specifically for fashion. What you’ll learn in this category includes CTR rates based on:
- Face size
- Image color
- Food/no food
- Animals/no animals
Of course, base the categories on the industry and additional filters you select. Suffice to say, if the data matters, it’s presented here.