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This article was published on September 28, 2014

How to retarget your audience with native advertising

How to retarget your audience with native advertising
Brian Honigman
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Brian Honigman

Brian Honigman is a marketing consultant and an adjunct professor at NYU. Get his free Content Marketing Style Guide. Brian Honigman is a marketing consultant and an adjunct professor at NYU. Get his free Content Marketing Style Guide.

Brian Honigman is a marketing consultant, speaker and a freelance writer. This post originally appeared on the iAcquire blog.

You’ve likely done this yourself: You visit a website, add a few products to your shopping cart and then get sidetracked by an email, a phone call or a meeting. Next thing you know, you’ve completely forgotten about your potential purchase.

Even when you were so close to making a purchase, you completely lost interest in the website and may have ended up making the purchase elsewhere or completing some other type of conversion.

A major challenge for online business owners and marketers is holding the attention of consumers until they’ve made a conversion.

One way of re-engaging your recent web visitors, existing customers, subscribers of your email list, mobile app users and other individuals who have interacted with your organization in some capacity is through retargeting.

Retargeting people who have recently interacted with your brand with a relevant ad is a highly effective way to reach these users wherever else they are active online.

Display advertising is one of the most commonly used forms of retargeting, but over time, its effectiveness has severely diminished because of the oversaturation of many websites with these types of ads.

According to comScore, only 8 percent of internet users account for 85 percent of clicks on display ads, and about 50 percent of clicks on mobile ads are accidental says GoldSpot Media.

This is likely because most display ads disrupt a user experience even if they are retargeting a person who recently interacted with your business.


Source: Sharethrough

The alternative to display advertising is using native advertising to retarget the right audience.

Retargeting with native advertising is when a piece of relevant content is sponsored or created by a business to engage a member of their community as part of the regular experience a person is having on a publication, mobile app, social network or elsewhere.

Choose your channels of distribution

One of the first steps to retargeting your audience with native ads is understanding where these individuals are active online and if it’s possible to reach them at this destination.

For example, it’s likely that a segment of your audience is active on Facebook or Twitter. Both platforms offer businesses the opportunity to scale their native advertising to your existing customer base, as well as new audiences.

If your audience is an active on Forbes, the Atlantic or another publication, then a variety of ways exist to reach them via these channels using native advertising.

Determine from the outset where your audience is active, if these destinations allow advertising, and if your organization will be able to create the type of native content best suited to the channels.

Identify distribution platforms, partners & tools

After deciding on the best channels for your audience, the next step is to consider which platforms and tools will best assist in this process.

There are many nuances to the platforms and tools that can help your business retarget with native ads at scale, but the rule of thumb is that the decision varies by what channel you’re targeting and if your organization wants to automate aspects of the process at scale.


If you want to reach your audience with relevant native content on the Huffington Post, CNN, WSJ and other high-trafficked publishers, consider Taboola or Outbrain to syndicate your content.

This way, your content will appear at the bottom of a relevant article or other piece of content on publications where your audience is most active.

Here are a few widely used platforms and tools to help distribute your native content:

There are also many partners that can help your organization make better use of channels like Facebook and Twitter when it comes to serving native ads. Both platforms support different ad units to achieve different goals with your audience and offer advanced targeting to ensure your advertising reaches the right users.


Source: AdParlor

A partner organization can help your company take your advertising to a greater scale through automation, by making use of features not widely available to the public, helping to optimize your bidding on both platforms, manage complex data across first or third-party sources and more.

Many of these features your organization can’t fully activate alone and should consider working with one of these widely known advertising partners to scale your native advertising:

Start creating native ads

After deciding on the channel your organization is going to use and if you’ll need to utilize a tool, platform or partner to scale this advertising, the next step is creating content to fuel these channels appropriately.


Native ads come in many forms, again matched to the experience of the channel. Start developing articles, infographics, videos, guides, white papers, eBooks, lists, interviews, podcasts, GIFs, cartoons, images, memes, tweets, Facebook posts or whatever other type best matches the interests of your audience and suits the nuances of the channel on which this content will be distributed.

Once you’ve established what types of content to create, assign qualified members of your team to create this content or outsource it to outside contractors.

What’s your company’s experience with retargeting your audience with native advertising as compared to display advertising? What techniques or channels has your team found to be most successful for reaching your audience online?

Read next: The rise of native advertising: Fine or farce?

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