The perception of brand value is a key factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions. It is through this that they engage with a certain product or service, to the detriment of others, building a relationship of trust and loyalty. One of the most important pillars for this to happen is authenticity: according to the Special Report: The Edelman Trust Barometer 2023 Purchase Funnel Collapse, for 51% of Brazilians, brands’ attempts to engage with customers go wrong when they lack this attribute.
Although it is difficult to implement, authenticity is the way to break down attention barriers in a world where ads compete at all times and in all places. It is a characteristic most commonly noticed in personal media, such as blogs, podcasts or when working with influencers, where the connection with the audience can be leveraged to increase brand awareness. However, the big challenge is to achieve authenticity on the open network, especially in advertising strategies.
In this sense, cohesion between the message and the medium is the first step to be considered. The breakdown of this synergy gives the impression that neither the advertiser nor the publisher (content site or news portal) were concerned with the quality of the consumer experience, forcing an unwanted approach. However, when the ad appears in the correct format and harmonious positioning, the audience is more likely to engage with the content.
To complement brand messages with the broader design already existing on the web, native advertising appears as a tool to be explored. This format provides a more discreet, elegant, high-quality ad experience with minimal interruptions, giving advertisers and publishers the opportunity to collaborate on more authentic campaigns. According to data from IPG and Sharethrough, consumers view native ads 52% more frequently compared to banners.
Furthermore, this inherent sense of authenticity that native ads achieve can be expanded if combined with contextual advertising, which also considers themes and feelings, as well as user activity in relation to content. Therefore, when the ad is contextually relevant and integrated into an environment in terms of aesthetics and performance, brands reach peak authenticity.
The most expressive example of this synergy between messages and medium was the Barbie film, released in July this year, which in addition to serving as a channel to address brand positioning, also unfolded into campaigns on different fronts, causing advertising to become become intrinsic to an even more immersive experience for the consumer.
Among the challenges of authenticity, it is also worth considering that the implementation of native ad formats requires effort on the part of publishers (editors, websites and news portals) due to budget. However, despite the initial investment being higher, this format helps to overcome the problem of consumers who unconsciously ignored display advertising on the pages. Therefore, in the long term, native ads generate higher CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) and increase average revenue per user.
In turn, for advertisers, the main barrier to exploring additional traffic sources is the change in the creative pipeline, but this is an area where artificial intelligence can help. Tools like OpenAI’s DALL-E, Stable Diffusion XL, and Adobe Firefly can be helpful in minimizing workload and automating authoring capacity, generating more insights to explore new formats.
In other words, it is up to publishers and ad technology platforms to promote the benefits of native advertising for advertisers, and it is up to brands to know how to explore the possibilities of this innovative format. With alignment between both ends, authentic advertising can grow on the web, strengthening ties between advertisers, publishers and consumers.
Today, the public, which demands quality content, also demands a strong and original voice, with honest opinions regarding the services and products offered. Consumers want participatory experiences so they can trust the messages and advertisements promoted by brands and, above all, they are motivated by authentic interactions and messages. The value of authenticity for recognition and loyalty is priceless. Is your strategy aligned with this new reality?
*Fernanda Acácio is CEO of the global advertising platform MGID