In 2023, the majority of people on the internet still do not know about native ads, and that is what makes them so effective. It’s no secret that everyone hates ads. But native ads have found a way around this obstacle by seamlessly blending in with the rest of the content on a given platform, essentially not looking like ads.
And it works! Reports suggest that 75% of customers trust editorial sites (commonly used on native advertising), but only 54% of them trust social media. This leads to native ads being perceived as less intrusive, getting higher engagement rates, and ultimately resulting in more conversions.
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In this article, we will look at all the steps you need to take to boost your affiliate marketing profits in 2023 through native ads.
How do Native Ads for Affiliate Marketing Work?
There are two key components to native ads for affiliates. First, you need an offer (or product) to promote. The most common way to find offers is by signing up for affiliate programs or networks. Next, you need traffic to send to your offer. You can buy traffic from ad networks. We will explain these two steps in more detail below.
You can then create an attention-grabbing ad that will be placed on different native sites. This ad should include an image and headline related to your offer that will make people want to click on it. Finally, you will need a landing page to direct traffic to.
Image by Taboola
Native Ads for Affiliate Marketing Step 1: How to Choose the Right Offers
There are many methods to help you figure out which offers to promote on native platforms. First, you need to identify booming verticals and industries. For example, health-related offers always perform well. In 2023, offers related to weight loss, nutrition, fitness, and supplements will continue to garner interest.
The fastest and most effective way to figure out which verticals are “in” right now is to use spy tools, such as Adplexity. Adplexity uses data from a vast number of ad networks, and tells you which offers are converting.
If you look at the example below, you will see which offers have been receiving the most traffic in the United States in the past 3 months. You can clearly see that health-related ads are dominating.
Apart from health, other booming verticals include financial offers, search arbitrage, cars, travel, and dental care, amongst others.
You can go even further and research trending topics within your chosen industry to narrow down your focus. Google Trends is a great free tool for this. Simply choose a country and type your keyword, and you will see how popular that term is.
For example, the keyword “diet” has been enjoying a steady high interest in the US throughout the past 3 months.
When deciding which affiliate network to sign up for, you need to choose a well-established one that has plenty of offers within your target vertical and pays out good commissions. A few of the big platforms are ClickBank (the biggest offers as of May 2023 are supplements and weight loss), Perform [cb] (previously known as ClickBooth), GiddyUp (mostly for e-commerce offers), Jumbleberry (diet, self care, e-commerce offers) and more.
You can also go on comparison sites such as OfferVault, where you can find an overview of top affiliate offers and connect with trusted affiliate networks.
Because commission rates and application guidelines constantly change, we highly recommend doing your own research as well. Affiliate marketing communities such as the STM Forum can help facilitate this research by giving you access to the latest information in the industry.
Native Ads for Affiliate Marketing Step 2: How to Find the Right Native Ad Networks
There is a large amount of native ad networks you can buy traffic from. The key factors to consider when choosing your native ad network are:
- The size of the platform: bigger platforms have more publishers and users, which leads to more high quality traffic.
- Their top-performing verticals: if your offer is within the travel niche, you should also look for an ad network that is big within that niche. Here you can read which verticals are working best for various native ad platforms.
- Their available GEOs: if your main location (or GEO) for the offer is Brazil, but your ad network only has US traffic, that is not a good fit. Always try to find platforms that support your key GEOs.
- Costs: bigger platforms have advantages in terms of traffic quality and advertising technology, but they can be more competitive and expensive. Minimum spend requirements for bigger platforms are also higher.
- Support: check what kind of additional support each platform provides (such as assigning you to an account representative, quicker approval, etc).
The top five native ad platforms in 2023 are (in no particular order):
- Taboola: is one of the biggest native ad platforms, with over 18K advertisers and 500 million daily active users. You can target many different GEOs across a large number of verticals. Taboola partners with high quality websites, meaning the quality of traffic is expected to be very good. If you have a decent budget, you should definitely consider this platform.
- Outbrain: another big player in the native ads market, with a large user base and an excellent list of publishers (such as CNN and The Guardian). Outbrain supports traffic from over 50 countries and all the major verticals, and they have great targeting options and traffic quality. Again, if you have a big budget, this is a great platform for native ads.
- RevContent: a smaller player in the native ad space, mainly partnering with US publishers such as Forbes. RevContent is also known for supporting various verticals, and offering great support to their members.
- MGID: has been around since 2008, with most of their traffic coming from Tier 2 countries (most prominently South-East Asia and Eastern Europe).
- Yahoo DSP: the platform is known to be cheaper, with most of the traffic coming from the UK, France, and the US.
Depending on your personal goals, vertical, target GEO, and your budget, you can then choose one or two native ad platforms to start testing.
Native Ads for Affiliate Marketing Step 3: How to Create High Converting Content
The best practice to create high converting ads and landing pages is to check what is working within your industry.
Continuing our diet offer example, if you enter the keyword “diet” on Adplexity, you will see the best performing ads related to that term.
If you click on the top left result, you can see the landing page this ad is directing traffic to.
The ad we clicked on lands on the advertorial below. Now you can see the entire redirect chain and learn not only which ads are converting, but also see their landing pages and offers (by clicking on outgoing links).
You can download these landing pages directly from Adplexity and use them as inspiration for your own campaigns. To create images for your ads, you can use free stock photos from websites such as Pexels, and then edit them for free on Canva.
If you are not ready to commit to a spy tool yet, you can also do some research on your own by going to top native publisher sites or looking for examples online. However, this method is much more time consuming and you can never be certain which ads are working and which are not.
Native Ads for Affiliate Marketing Step 4: How to Scale your Native Ads Campaigns
Boosting your profits as an affiliate marketer with native ads can be challenging. In order to scale profitably, you need to dedicate a lot of time, and often money, to make it work. Being successful with native ads requires constant monitoring, testing, and optimization, especially during the first couple of months. Since native algorithms still have a long way to go, most affiliate marketers start broad and then narrow down by cutting underperforming publishers, placements, and creatives, and scaling what is already working well.
If you want to take your native advertising game to the next level and play with bigger budgets over a longer period of time, you will need to consider automation tools, such as The Optimizer.