Be like Mike, become a top performer with native

James Milne, Managing Director of Northern Europe at Outbrain, considers the benefits of discovery and native advertising. 

Over the past weeks, millions of people quarantining at home have tuned in to watch Netflix’s The Last Dance, chronicling Michael Jordan and his G.O.A.T.-making run with the Chicago Bulls. It’s quickly become a pop-culture phenomenon of this ‘pandemic era’ and one that has applicable lessons for those looking to be top performers in any field. For performance marketers, MJ’s journey mirrors the challenges of getting your brand to the top – and staying there. This story of greatness builds on the fact he could never have done it alone. The Last Dance reminds us that in all things, it takes the right team, mentality, and game plan, to win.

“If you do the work you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life.” – Michael Jordan
In that sense, performance marketing is like sports. A one-trick pony approach won’t win you customers in the long term. You need to provide a constant flow of entertaining, informative and relevant content, while continually optimising, adjusting and working on your marketing strategy in order to reap the rewards. As a performance marketer, this may mean adjusting headline length or expanding audience targeting or targeting by geo – whatever is necessary to optimise your campaign for the best cost-per-acquisition.

“I play to win.” – Michael Jordan
It’s not that Michael Jordan missed more than 9,000 shots in his career, lost almost 300 games, or failed to hit the game-winner 26 times that make him a legend. It’s the shots he made, the games he won, and the numerous championships that made him a success.

Native advertising is so effective for driving performance metrics because you don’t pay for the ‘attempt at a shot’ ie. Impressions. You pay for the baskets you make – clicks and engagement. Compared to display, consumers’ purchase intent is 15 per cent higher after viewing a native ad. In fact, our studies show that native ads not only drive higher pageviews per session compared to search and social, but these ads shown on premium publisher sites are 44 per cent more likely to be trusted. Moreover, they are 21 per cent more likely to be clicked on. Why not choose an ad format that goes beyond views to get you a conversion? Make your effort count; native Advertising is in it for the win. You don’t get credit for anything less than a conversion.

“Teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan
Traditional performance channels like search are only part of the path toward success. You need a team of marketing levers to truly succeed to be a top performing brand. While search is effective for driving action among customers who already know of a product, they neglect the opportunity to connect audiences with great products that they didnt know existed. After all, how can you search for something you don’t know about?

These traditional channels don’t factor in the discovery phase of the customer journey, leaving opportunities untapped. At Outbrain, we power this connection between brand and customer through data-driven insights that allow you to deliver an ad to the right consumer. It’s time to look at your strategy of marketing levers as a team – search, social, display, discovery – each playing a role for your brand – and discovery is a key player.

If you are ready to be a championship-calibre brand, then its time to start focusing on optimisation, engagement and a team of marketing levers to truly become a top performer. Find new audiences with Outbrain and actually convert them into lifetime-value customers. Check out our guide on performance best practices, and the last dance may very well be yours.