From the long-ago days of the waterfall and up through the programmatic era, it’s been a long time since publishers had the final say over their inventory pricing or even how their audience was sold.
And while everyone in the advertising ecosystem is lamenting the total annihilation of the third-party cookie in browsers, it has presented an amazing opportunity for publishers to regain control.
Publishers are already using what they know about their audiences to fuel their editorial, but those very same insights can be used to power advertising and revenue as well.
Leveraging your first-party audience data, you can build a scalable direct-sold program around premium ad packages that resonate with your audience while driving deeper engagement for buyers by combining two powerful tactics: Native advertising and email newsletters.
Native advertising is now the preferred premium ad format for both publishers and brands, and email newsletters are a critical component of publishers’ monetization strategies. When you bring the two together as native advertising in email newsletters, they become a mighty content distribution channel providing a direct connection between authenticated audiences and advertisers.
And with solutions like LiveIntent’s Native Ad Blueprints, your native advertising blends in with the surrounding newsletter environment, making it far less intrusive than other forms of advertising, while garnering higher CPMs.
Best Practices for Monetizing Native Ads in Your Email
Show Me the Money
There are a few ways that native ads in email can open up the revenue floodgates for publishers, including direct-sold, open exchange, and newsletter promotions.
Direct-sold campaigns work well for content sponsorships, affiliate product promotion, and brand partner deals. There are three main ways that publishers can sell native ad email inventory.
- Guaranteed (aka sponsorships) — Just like selling sponsorship deals for your web inventory, with guaranteed campaigns, you can sell exclusive impressions over a given time for a predefined price and run them across publications, newsletters, and ad slots.
- Non-Guaranteed — Unlike a guaranteed campaign where you’re offering impressions to one sponsor, non-guaranteed deals empower you to have multiple advertisers compete for impressions in an auction. These campaigns can have branding or performance KPIs, optimized to impressions, clicks, or conversions. Opening up inventory to the open exchange allows publishers to increase bid density, revenue, and overall yield.
- Curated — You can also group combinations of native inventory (publications, newsletters, and ad slots) into packages, creating premium bundles that spotlight your readers to advertisers. You can create your packages based on content, audience, and seasonal, grouping around reader interests or seasonal events. Once you’ve created your native packages, you can activate them at scale through curated deals, enabling advertisers to target your premium packages through their preferred buying platform.
It’s also important to note that if you work with LiveIntent’s Native Ad Blueprints, you can also tap into exchange demand from the likes of The Trade Desk, DV360, Xandr, and more. By utilizing both native direct and programmatic you can monetize all of your impressions with a range of premium advertisers like Liberty Mutual, Rue Gilt Groupe, Wayfair, and much more.
Publishers and brands can also leverage native ads in their email newsletters for their own content uses and brand promotions. Being able to personalize email offers without having to set up separate sends for every segment of your email list is a much more efficient way to do business — especially when you need to run multiple campaigns at one time to different segments of your audience.
Designing Your Own Native Ad Blueprint
Now that you know the various means of monetizing native ads in email, you might be pondering exactly how best to implement native ads in your email newsletter for optimal results. Maybe you’re wondering, “How will native ads fit into my email newsletter design and layout without compromising my brand identity or interfering with my readers’ experiences?” Well, lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place for answers.
Before you begin, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions How should advertiser messaging appear within my newsletter content? Should my native ad placement lend itself to a high-visibility sponsorship? Should my native ad placement exactly match my newsletter content? Am I currently hardcoding ads into my newsletter within a standard layout? Will a standardized design work for my native placements?
While the answers to these questions depend on each individual’s brand needs, the general best practice is to go with a single-column design when you add a native ad slot to your email newsletter inventory. This way, you also won’t have to completely redesign your newsletter and your native ads can blend seamlessly within the natural “scroll” of the content. Also, if you have no booked campaigns or house ads to run, LiveIntent’s Native Ad Blueprints will automatically collapse. Having a single-column design will ensure an uninterrupted user experience when that occurs.
Once you’ve decided where your native ad slot will live within your email newsletter, you’ll want to think about what elements you’ll require from advertisers. Typical ad requirements include a headline or header, body copy, CTA, image, and a sponsored by field displaying your advertisers’ company name or logo.
You can set specific elements as recommended or required to inform the number of advertisers eligible to bid on your inventory. For example, if you’re opening up to a wider audience of advertisers, you might want to only make the headline and image required and all of the other elements recommended to maximize bid density.
No Hard Coding Required
One of the greatest barriers to publishers leveraging the opportunity that native ads in email provide — in terms of building first-party data and growing revenue — has been the heavy lifting required. Ad slots are most often hard-coded, with code having to be added or removed from templates for each individual campaign. Publishers with limited resources might forgo this amazing opportunity altogether, while others get caught up in a coding time suck that could be better used on higher-value tasks.
Thanks to the wonders of standardization and automation, those days are long gone. If you never believed that set it and forget it could be a reality, it’s time to think again. With the ability to hyper-segment audiences and improve operational efficiency, isn’t it time you ran your native campaigns smarter?
To learn more about Native Ad Blueprints, visit LiveIntent.