Native Ads For Ecommerce: How To Boost Your Sales (Plus A Killer Strategy You Can Steal)

Published by Pedro Campos on

native ads for ecommerce

Wanna know how to successfully run native ads for ecommerce?

In this article, we´ll explore a bunch of insights that can help you boost sales. I´ll show you why native ads work and give you some great tips to get you started.
But wait, the best is saved for the end…

I´ll also share with you my number one strategy to crush it on any native platform. It´s the same strategy used by brands you and I know about. Plus, it starts with something that´s proven to work for the last 100 years.
Ready to find some gold nuggets? I´ll show you the way.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post contains links from our trusted affiliate partners. That means if you purchase a product or service from one of our referral links, we´ll get compensated with a commission. But without any additional cost to you. Consider it as our reward for helping you discover a new product or service that can improve your life and/or business.

Why Should You Use Native Ads For Ecommerce

Despite still being unknown to a large percentage of marketers, native advertising is actually growing. More brands are becoming aware of its value. Statistics show that native advertising is expected to be worth over $402 billion by 2025.

There are plenty of good reasons to run native ads for ecommerce. Some are not so obvious. Here are the main ones.

It´s A Wide Open Field

You´ve probably experienced for yourself the insane battle for attention on some of the most popular platforms. Every time I meet a fellow media buyer or ad agency owner, I hear that they run ads for ecommerce brands.
Not surprisingly, I end up discovering they all run Facebook or Google ads.

Don´t get me wrong, Facebook and Google are amazing platforms for ecommerce.
However, they´re already too crowded, very competitive, and getting more expensive. To win there, you have to bring your A-Game.

The great benefit of native advertising is the fact that most brands still don´t know anything about it. This makes it easy for you to come in a grab a bigger piece of the pie at a fraction of the cost.

Brand Safe Environment

Almost all native platforms will have brand safety controls that will allow you to filter content sections or publishers you don´t want to appear on.
For example, on Outbrain or Taboola, these options are quite advanced. You can go deep into filtering targeting that doesn´t meet your brand guidelines.

One of the many brand safety options is to exclude content about gossip or wars. This is very powerful because it allows you to be super specific in filtering the types of customers you don´t want to attract, even down to the content they consume.



Native Is More Engaging

Engagement is king on native publishers. For you, the advertiser, it impacts your CTR, how much you pay per click, and ultimately, your return on ad spend.

User behavior on publishers’ sites is different from social media. People visit these sites with the intention of consuming content they´re interested in. That´s one of the reasons native ads on publishers get between 20 to 60% higher engagement rates than display, for example.

It´s More Trusted Than Social Media

This might be surprising to you.

Let´s face it. Pretty much anyone can advertise on Facebook, TikTok, or Twitter. The barriers to entry are quite low. This can make the platform lose quality because it tends to attract all kinds of businesses – that includes the “less ethical.”

In fact, statistics say that only 41% of US consumers trust Facebook while premium publishers (where native ads show) get as much as 65%. If we look at Twitter, trust levels are even lower, amongst consumers.

More Effective Than Display

The golden days of display advertising are long gone. Over the years, people have developed a condition called “banner-blindness.”
Consumer behavior has shifted, in part, because we´re hit with so many advertising messages these days.

Despite the constant bombardment of advertising messages, studies show that, for consumers, native ads are 62% easier to understand than display ads and 31% easier than social ads. Also, consumers look at native advertisements 53% more than they do display, for example.

Drives Higher Purchase Intent

This is probably the biggest reason native ads work so well for ecommerce.

Purchase intent is crucial and it directly impacts your bottom line. For instance, studies show that native ads can drive 18% higher purchase intent. With your current revenue, how much more could you earn with an 18% increase, without spending more on traffic?

In addition to profit, the customer retention rate is a high-impact business metric. You´ll be glad to know that native ads generate 3X higher retention rates compared to display.

Only 41% of US consumers trust Facebook while premium publishers (where native ads show) get as much as 65%.

Top 5 Native Ads Tips For Ecommerce

Here are some impactful tips to help you get started with native ads.

1 – Competitor & Industry Research

We´re starting with external research.

You´d be surprised to see how many ecommerce brand owners don´t know what their competitors are. This is a huge mistake!
So, the first step is to identify your direct competitors. From there, we can research their advertising and get ideas from that. A great tool to use for this is Adbeat.

native ads for ecommerce

If your competitors are not running native or display ads, we can study their social or search ads. We´ll analyze things such as hooks, creatives, and avatars. Competitor research will help you understand how you can position your brand differently.

I would recommend you go a step further and also research the biggest brands in your industry. This step is vital because it sets you up for success by knowing what is already working for other successful brands and modeling it.

2 – Go Deep Into Avatar Research

This will be your internal research.

Step 2 is all about understanding your customer avatars.
Again, most ecommerce entrepreneurs have no clue what they are. Some know who their customers are at a shallow level, in terms of demographics. And a very small percentage actually understands their audience at a deeper, psychographic level.

You need to get crystal clear on your avatars if you have more than one. Don´t stop at demographics, like age, gender, or income. Go deeper to find their fears, desires, personality, and most importantly, the exact language they use to describe their situation.

You can find this out by surveying existing customers or searching online for blogs, Facebook groups, YouTube channels, or forums where your avatar hangs out.

All of this research will help you massively in determining what ad copy and content to create for your native ads.


best ecommerce theme

3 – Pick The Right Platform

There are a lot of native advertising platforms to choose from. It´s kind of like choosing a cereal brand. How do you know which to go with?
It´s even more difficult when you have a limited understanding of “cereals.”

Targeting (including audiences and retargeting options) and minimum budget are the main factors when choosing a native platform. Here´s a list of other things you need to take into account:

  • payment models (CPC, CPM)
  • ad types offered
  • reach of the ad network
  • size of the ad network
  • quality of publishers
  • reporting options

It´s important to do your own due diligence here. For example, some platforms will require you to spend at least $100 a day per campaign. Others will have a bigger percentage of publishers in certain GEOs.

You don´t want to get caught off guard and land on the wrong platform, as it can have a negative impact on your results.

4 – Create Relevant Content

One of the most fundamental native ad best practices is to drive traffic to content. This is especially important for cold traffic.

The way people interact on publishers´ sites is different from Google search or Facebook. On native placements, your ads have to match the look and feel of the surrounding content and also be in line with the user´s behavior.

In other words, do not send cold traffic to your home page, collection, or the product page. Instead, create a piece of content that gives a solution to a problem your audience has or illustrates your product in action.

This is an article example from BOOM! – a top ecommerce brand in the beauty space, generating over $20 million in annual sales. Their content is highly engaging and does a brilliant job at sliding people into their product lines, in a non-pushy, value-driven way.

If you want to succeed on native placements, you have to play a different game. Lead with content, that´s your best guarantee of success.

5 – Leverage Dynamic Retargeting

You might already be familiar with dynamic retargeting from other platforms, for example, Facebook. It allows you to retarget users with the last product they viewed or added to cart.

Essentially, the pixel technology you´ll find on Outbrain is the same. The setup might be a bit different though.
If you´re already running Facebook or Google ads for your ecommerce brand, integrating product feeds with native platforms shouldn´t be a problem.

native ads for ecommerce

These are some benefits of dynamic retargeting:

  1. CTR is typically higher, driving higher engagement and ad relevance
  2. Because ads are tailored to the users´ behavior, you´ll often see higher conversion rates
  3. It´s easier to manage your remarketing campaigns when you have multiple product lines and a large inventory

Dynamic retargeting takes what you know about retargeting in general to another level. A level where you´re super specific about what ads are shown to what user segment.
It becomes even more of a necessity when you sell lots of different products in your store.

If you can´t get your prospects to imagine owning your product, you´ll have a hard time making sales.

Killer Native Ecommerce Strategy You Can Steal (As Simple As 1, 2, 3)

There are a lot of experts trying to overcomplicate advertising success. That´s not my style! I´ll make it super simple for you with this native strategy. How simple? As simple as 1, 2, 3.

Introducing The Famous Advertorial

You might have heard of advertorials. Contrary to popular belief, they´re not a new thing, by the way.

Advertorials started to pop up in the early 1900s, in newspapers. This was when publishers and advertisers realized they had a lot to gain by forming partnerships. At the time, newspapers served editorial content with paid advertisements.

1885, First Native Ad, Buffalo Bill Wild West Show

1914, Pond´s Vanishing Cream Advertorial

The publisher-advertiser relationship slowly developed into the internet age, giving rise to powerful, algorithm-based recommendation engines like Outbrain.

1 – Melt The Ice With Branded Content

What´s the easiest way to warm up cold traffic? The answer is content. But not just any type of content.

At this first stage, you´ll want to promote a piece of branded content or advertorial. But any advertorial? No. I highly recommend a problem-solution or, in this example, the “listicle-desire” advertorial.
Again, let´s go back to our example from BOOM!

native ads for ecommerce

The folks at BOOM! are brilliant marketers. They have a deep understanding of their customer avatars and know that one of their desires is to have dazzling eyes. The article slides readers into multiple products – that do what?
You´ve guessed it! Products that solve those problems or fulfill those desires.

2 – Let Your Product Ignite The Fire

At this stage, you´ll be retargeting folks who consumed the branded content or advertorial in the previous step. Now, the audience is more receptive to a product-driven message.
This is where you´ll introduce the product(s) that solve the avatar´s problem and start building desire, or in other words, mental ownership.

If you can´t get your prospects to imagine owning your product, you´ll have a hard time making sales.

native ads for ecommerce

Here, your product will take center stage. The purpose of this piece of content is to move people closer and closer to the purchase, or even better, multiple purchases.

Notice how congruent the content flow is.
That´s one of the most important things to consider when building out your strategy. It´s harder to get great results if you just throw any piece of content out there and retarget people randomly. The story needs to be congruent from cold to warm and hot.

3 – Turn Your Customers Into Full-Time Salespeople

Why would you want to waste time and energy selling your product? Let your customers do it for you! And if they love the experience you gave them, they´ll gladly accept it.

Stage 3 of your killer native ecommerce strategy is to retarget folks who saw the first two pieces of content but didn´t purchase the main product(s) offered.

BOOM! is just a great example of using social proof to sell more products.

native ads for ecommerce

You´ll notice they use list articles a lot. That´s because they work!

In this example, you´ll see customers talking about their experience with BOOM Bright, a new mascara made for women over 50. And not just in words, but also in video format. Imagine how powerful that is for someone who has just seen two articles before.



Ready To Boost Your Sales With Native Ads?

I think you´ve got your time´s worth here.

As you can see, native ads are a great way to scale your ecommerce brand beyond the “walled gardens” of Facebook or Google. If you´re struggling to scale on these platforms, you might want to add native to your media mix and give it a shot.

The native advertising ecosystem is wide open. In fact, the industry calls it “the open web.”
If you combine premium publishers, brand-safe placements, and state-of-the-art bidding technology with a solid strategy and offers, there´s no reason why you wouldn´t make it a success.

Still not convinced?

Discover how Eargo, a hearing aid brand, got a 100% higher lead-to-sale conversion rate compared to social. Or how SmartCover, Europe’s best-selling reusable face mask, generated $3M in just one month, with Outbrain.

You don´t need to step into it all alone. We can help you come up with a native ads strategy that works for your business and get you started on the right foot.


Pedro Campos

Pedro is a native advertising consultant at Advertongue. An award-winning professional, he has orchestrated and managed successful digital advertising campaigns on native, programmatic, social, video, search and display channels, in the coaching, gaming, ecommerce, and SaaS industries. His depth of knowledge in various disciplines and omnichannel experience have earned him the reputation of being a full-stack media buyer.

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