How to Create a Winning Native-For-Direct-Response Advertising Campaign

September 9, 2020

 

We at Tapstone have collectively spent decades and A LOT of time and money understanding (sometimes the hard way) what makes for a winning native campaign. When we started running our first campaigns almost a decade ago, we were one of the first in the native ad space. Tapstone even coined the term “Native-for-Direct-Response.”

We have learned the best campaigns come from the intersection of experience, psychology, and data analytics.

But first, an introduction is appropriate. There are two primary types of online advertising: brand advertising and direct response advertising. Brand advertising makes your prospects aware of your company so it stays top-of-mind when it’s time to make a purchase. Conversely, direct response is about getting results now.

What Is Native Advertising?

Native ads seek to match the look and feel of the media format in which they appear. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t look like traditional ads and have now been made famous by huge digital advertising companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. According to Outbrain, one of the leading native advertising platforms, consumers look at native ads 53% more frequently. And native ads registered an 18% higher lift in purchase intent than banner ads.

While ‘banner blindness’ can be a real thing, incorporating ads that match the look and feel of a site has the opposite effect. Even the savviest internet users find themselves interacting with native ads.

What Is Native-For-Direct-Response Advertising?

Direct response advertising compels people to take immediate action from an ad while offering a measurable response from that action.

Native-for-Direct-Response takes it one step further, seeking to achieve far better results.

Native-for-Direct-Response delivers the superior look and feel of Native with the tangible results of direct response advertising. It allows any brand to fit into – and not disrupt – the audience experience. Thoughtful ads and messaging blend seamlessly with content the user is engaged with. It allows them to become more informed about your product, service, or brand before visiting your website.

Native-For-Direct-Response Is Interested in Generating Leads and Conversions

Keep in mind, the primary purpose is to elicit a specific action (a “direct response”). This action could be to download a resource, sign up for an account or free trial, schedule a demo, or even make a purchase. Regardless of the action, this ultimately means a conversion.

Main Characteristics of a Winning Native-For-Direct-Response Ad

 Here are some of the main characteristics of an ad from Tapstone:

  • It’s trackable. When someone responds, we know which ad and which media was responsible for generating the response.
  • It’s measurable. Since we know which ads are being responded to and how many sales you’ve received from each one, we can precisely measure how effective each ad is. We then focus on advertisements that are giving you the best return on investment.
  • It uses compelling headlines and sales copy. We use attention-grabbing headlines with persuasive copy. We build off of the hundreds of millions of dollars in spend and past converting data that has worked best in our campaign database.
  • It targets a specific audience or niche. Prospects within particular verticals, geographic zones, or niche markets are targeted. Native-for-Direct-Responseappeals to a target market while generating the most significant amount of response.
  • It makes a specific offer. Usually, the Native-for-Direct-Response ad makes a particular offer of value. Often, the aim is to simply get the prospect to take the next action, such as submitting a lead-gen form, requesting information, or making a sale. The offer focuses on the consumer – making it personal – rather than on the advertiser and talks about the prospect’s interests, desires, fears, and frustrations.
  • It demands a response. Tapstone’s Native-for-Direct-Response response advertising always has a “call to action,” compelling the consumer to do something specific. It also includes a means of response and “capture” of these responses.

Native-for Direct-Response measures precisely how successful each ad is (i.e. conversions), and it tracks where the conversions came from (what channel was responsible for generating the response).

It’s How We Create the Message that Separates Us…

There is an important psychological component to Native marketing. To persuade, you need to figure out what makes the target audience tick and what kinds of messages will motivate them effectively to make the choice you want them to make.


Creating an emotive response that is actionable. That’s what makes for a winning Native campaign.


Examples of a select few psychological triggers include:

i) The Pleasure Pain Principle: This principle asserts that people want something that offers pleasure or satisfaction for little pain or sacrifice. This is effectively used by depicting pain (through fear appeals, for instance) and then providing relief from the pain, achieved through the use of the product.

ii) System 1 and System 2 Thinking: Based on a theory from 2002 Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking Fast and Slow, which tells us that our brains are made up of two systems. System One makes decisions using intuition somewhat automatically (using biological ‘algorithms’). In contrast, System Two uses rational judgment to think its way to a decision. Savvy advertisers appeal to System One Thinking.

iii) The Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid by Abraham Maslow: Successful marketing persuades a prospective client to purchase the product or service you are selling. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to appeal directly to one or more of their basic needs. Maslow’s needs hierarchy remains the foundation for many fruitful psychological approaches to marketing.

iv) Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion: Over 30 years ago, Dr. Robert Cialdini wrote a book on persuasion and influence. In it, he listed six science-based principles of persuasion according to research in the field of Psychology. The six principles of persuasion are: i) Reciprocity; ii) Commitment; iii) Scarcity; iv) Social Proof or Consensus; v) Authority, and vi) Liking. Conversions are all about persuasion. Persuading the intended consumer to take the next step from the top of the funnel – and each subsequent step along the way – to the end of the funnel, converting people from a consumer of the advertising content, into a lead, and ultimately a buyer.

Marrying Psychology with Data

Creating the campaign is only Step One. Our data science team spends more time testing and analyzing data than some firms spend on an entire campaign. Utilizing and leveraging key data points ensures optimal messaging and delivery.

Our team looks at asset and metric testing, continuously A/B Testing, utilizing Miller’s Sample Size and a minimum detectable effect. We test headlines, images, funnel path, etc. to ensure variants get tested accurately, thoroughly, and continuously. The ongoing A/B tests are broken down into four distinct steps. Each step has variable phases to discover winning campaigns.

By marrying data and psychological triggers into winning creative, we have found that it brings objectivity and clarity to the message resulting in enhanced performance.