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6 Native Advertising Tactics Travel Brands Need to Try (Part I)

Jessica Schultz

Many of us are familiar with or have experienced banner blindness—the phenomenon where website visitors subconsciously ignore banner-like information (see heat map image below). The reason why this is important for marketers to understand is the more an ad looks like the content of the page, the more likely a user is to see it. eMarketer states that there is a 52% lift in purchase intent with native ads over standard banners.


In an attempt to battle banner blindness (say that three times fast), MMGY Global has implemented strategic native advertising tactics for our travel clients to help navigate this new space.

The Definition of Native Advertising

Native advertising is a natural evolution of the traditional advertorial. The idea behind an advertorial is that it was traditionally written in the form of an article in the voice of the publication.

Native advertising also helps provide more content and engagement for the consumer, allowing for more creativity beyond articles and traditional banners. In an age where banner blindness is prevalent and destinations are competing for website traffic with the evolution of search, it's important to continue to find new ways to reach an engaged audience and start thinking more about ways to push rich content.

What exactly is native advertising, you ask? Sharethrough defines native advertising as a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. In other words, it’s breaking down the barrier between editorial and paid advertising efforts.

At a basic level, it's a method in which an advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content within the user experience. Our goal is to push the boundaries on what we've always known about banner ads to continue to tell the story for our clients before they reach the brand’s website.

When done right, native advertising can be extremely effective for travel brands. In particular, we’ve already seen successes in the native space for clients such as New Mexico, Bloomington (MN), South Dakota, and Santa Barbara. And we look forward to discovering new opportunities for many of our other clients in 2015.

Native Advertising Types

The IAB (internet advertising bureau) has identified six native advertising types most commonly used. Let’s break down what native advertising can actually look like and why you should use it.

1. In-feed units: In-feed units are one of the most common types of native units. More than likely you may already be running them without realizing it’s a form of native. In-feed includes, but is not limited to, Facebook or Twitter Sponsored Posts and editorial content within a publisher’s site. For travel brands, we recommend utilizing video, inspirational imagery or short editorial content to help create consumer trust.

2. Paid search: Although often in its own category, paid search is another version of native advertising. When your ad appears as a top result in a Google search, it is often clicked on 66% more often than organic listings.

3. Recommendation widgets: Recommendation widgets appear at the bottom of a webpage and typically include text such as “we think you might also like” or “related content”. Recommendation widgets allow brands to push content that already exists of their website but also to provide the reader with relevant information, all while creating a better ad experience for the user. An example of this is the tiled ad below.

4. Promoted listings: Promote a specific listing by bringing it up to the beginning of a large list of other listings. This tactic works really well for hotel listings on sites like Priceline or Kayak.


5. In-ad units: In-ad units place web content within an ad unit. An example of this tactic is a custom unit built by Martini Media, branded for the client, that pulled articles from the website where the ad is running and brought that content into the banner.

6. Custom units: Custom units are just that—any other type of native advertising that doesn’t fit into the above categories. This list includes publishers such as Pandora, Spotify, Flipboard and Mashable. This is where you can really spread your creative wings and develop unique experiences for your brand.

Custom Unit

At MMGY, we are very excited about the opportunities available within the native landscape and are constantly looking for new ways to deliver content that is non-interruptive, authentic and provide scale to our marketing efforts.

Now that you know what native advertising looks like, it’s time to focus on how to do native the right way. In our next native post our Media Supervisor, Meliah Cranmer, will dive into the do’s and don’ts of native advertising in Part II of thi

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