Native advertising is still a relatively new arrow in the digital marketer's quiver, and you'll be hearing more about it in 2014 as even more editorial and social media sites offer paid opportunities. Although Instagram's recent foray into sponsored updates met with mixed-to-negative results, many other sites and brands are finding success with native ads.

One of our clients, Frontier Co-op, presented us with a challenge for Holiday 2013: Increase sales and website visits by making use of original recipes featuring its Frontier and Simply Organic premium spices, herbs, and extracts. In a very crowded holiday recipe market, the fast-growing recipe discovery website and mobile app Yummly offered a unique mix of native ads that contributed to the campaign's overall success.

Based on that campaign, here are five ways to get the best results from your native advertising efforts.

1. Borrow SEO value

Yummly first caught our eye in our own weekend recipe research: Recipes on Yummly consistently ranked highly in organic search results. Since our branded microsites were launching just in time for the holiday ramp-up, we knew that even the most aggressive SEO strategy wouldn't result in substantial organic search traffic. Instead, we capitalized on Yummly's high-ranking search results; once visitors landed on Yummly, our relevant recipes were front and center via promoted recipes.

When looking for a good native advertising partner, pick editorial sites that have strong SEO, giving your brand a chance to piggyback on that well-earned organic search value.

2. Harness social proof

Whether it's Facebook, Yummly, LinkedIn, or any other engagement-based native ad platform, social proof lends instant credibility to your brand among users and friends of users. In the case of Yummly, users "Yum" their favorite recipes to show their approval. Frontier and Simply Organic's promoted recipes gained thousands of Yums, giving them impressive organically driven social proof.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Jeremy Cesarec

Jeremy Cesarec is a digital marketing strategist at Planet Propaganda, a design and advertising agency, where he also edits and writes for the agency's blog, Spigot.

LinkedIn: Jeremy Cesarec