Native Advertising – Could it Work for You?

A growing advertising medium could be beneficial to senior living communities.

By Evan Brown, Media Director, Love & Company

You may have heard of native advertising and wondered what it is and if it can be an effective media tool for your senior living community.

Native advertising is essentially the digital equivalent of a newspaper advertorial. The ads appear within the content of news, sports, information, and other major websites and are meant to blend in with the other articles produced by that particular website.

According to eMarketer, spending on native advertising jumped 37% in 2022 over 2021, with most of that increase going into programmatic activity. Meanwhile, Google just recently reported that its ad revenues missed expectations by $440 million in Q4 2022. It is difficult to make a direct correlation, but these two figures considered together suggest that advertisers are becoming disappointed with paid search and are looking to other media for improved results. Native advertising is growing faster than most other digital media.

Similar to advertorials, native ads are informative and copy-heavy. Most come with a longer headline and description along with a logo and an image inserted into in-column content on a website, as opposed to standing out as a fully produced display ad.

The two most common types of native advertising available to senior living communities are:

  1. Campaigns bought through your local TV, newspaper or similar site
    • These are generally based on a fixed price for the ad position and hosting of the editorial content. The site will often have its own writers produce the content for you and host it on their site with links to yours.
    • It is important to focus first on a local site that is one of the most popular and widely used in your market. Since local sites generally host the content page that a viewer goes to after clicking the ad, higher volume local sites such as TV and newspaper websites give you a better opportunity to generate traffic. A higher volume of clicks to the full content will generally produce a higher volume of second clicks to your landing page.mockup of native advertisement
    • A secondary niche publication, such as a regional magazine or business publication, can be used if its readership closely matches your target audience.
  2. Campaigns bought programmatically on a CPM-basis through ad networks or demand-side platforms (DSPs), with the ads referring to content you host
    • Programmatic ads, such as the example in the image seen on the right, are generally placed through a DSP or trade desk. Their delivery is optimized to a desired action, such as a click or form submission so that as the campaign runs, it gets smarter.
    • Programmatic native ads can appear on any site that serves them, from to, to smaller niche-based websites.
    • These ads can refer to a specific landing page for a native promotion, articles within your website, or the overall lead generation landing page. The critical thing to consider is that the page you refer the user to in the ad has to deliver on the teaser used in the ad to get them to click.

The benefits to senior living communities make this an excellent medium for several reasons.

  • You cash in on the editorial credibility of the news/information site on which you appear. Even though the ad may appear as “sponsored content,” there is an implied endorsement from the content site because of how it looks.
  • With programmatic native ads, unlike paid search or social, you can still target and filter ad delivery by age, income, net worth, ZIP code and, in some cases, affinities or life stages that suggest the user has an interest in what you have to offer.
  • Many of the assets you currently use for paid search and social will work or can be modified for native ads, decreasing your production costs.
  • Programmatic efforts use AI to “learn” which users are most likely to click on your ad and complete a desired action (book a tour, request information, have a chat, etc.).
  • It costs very little to get started. Local sites will often include development of the content on their page as part of the package. And programmatic native can be bought directly through a dashboard if you have the time to oversee it. Many agencies, Love & Company included, have moved to dashboard-type native advertising platforms that generate more impressions and clicks for the advertiser’s dollar than a “managed” service that marks up the costs to take a commission.

We all know that the senior living marketing category faces ever-increasing targeting restrictions by Google, Facebook, et al. These platforms are moving away from regulated marketing categories. Not only is the senior community category facing challenges, but financial services, general housing, automotive (when packaging finance options) and several others are too. We are not alone.

For now, native advertising offers us the targeting, segmenting and geographic options that Google, Facebook and the rest no longer do. It’s a solid option for your community’s advertising dollars.

Want to learn more about native advertising as it applies to the senior living market? Please reach out to Tim Bracken at 240-575-5596.

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