Affiliate marketing is a great way to sell and earn money if you don’t own a product or service. Affiliates all around the world can partner up with companies to get a healthy commission out of every sale, but one of the biggest questions is where do you go to promote? Right now, social ads (Facebook, in particular) continue to be a popular source of affiliate marketing traffic, but a few things are starting upset the apple cart:
Because of these factors, the future of Facebook as an affiliate marketer’s go-to platform is a little uncertain. Many affiliates are exploring other channels to secure their ability to continuously generate sales and native ads are one of these methods. We’ll give you the breakdown of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to Facebook and native ads, so you can make informed and clear decisions about where to focus your future affiliate efforts.
What Is Facebook Advertising?
When we talk about Facebook advertising, we’re referring to the various ads that you can see on Facebook. If we don’t include Facebook Messenger, the following ads are the different types you will see:
Timeline ads: They appear while scrolling through a timeline. You can recognize them by the word “Sponsored” displayed under the name of the page running the ad.
Search ads: Search ads appear at the top of Facebook’s search results page, and are dependent on people searching keywords related to the product. Like timeline ads, they are also marked as “Sponsored”.
In-video ads: These are videos that are placed before, during, or after a Facebook video plays.
There are other ways that you can advertise using Facebook. For example, you can create a group to gather prospects and leads for your brand. Even a personal profile can now be converted into a professional profile so it can be monetized. But for these, most of the time, you will not be openly advertising or promoting anything.
Pros of Facebook Advertising
There are a lot of reasons why social media advertising, particularly on Facebook, is so popular. In fact, from ad revenue Facebook generated 114 billion USD in 2022. Here are the most compelling reasons to try Facebook ads:
In 157 out of 167 countries (94%), Facebook is the most popular social media platform. With the entire world as your potential audience, you’ll never feel limited in terms of where you advertise or who you promote your product to. Markets change all the time, so an affiliate's reach must be flexible. Let’s say an affiliate used to only serve the US market. As the business expands towards international markets, they won’t have to worry about changing platforms. They can continue to use the same account on Facebook to work their way towards global market domination!
Target The Entire Funnel
Various ad formats may be used to target users from all levels of the marketing funnel. This makes it very convenient for both a newbie marketer and a veteran who prefers to focus on using just one advertising platform. With this level of targeting flexibility, you’ll be able to monitor everything in one place so you can see right away where your focus should be.
Cons of Facebook Advertising
Even though FB Ads presents itself as a highly reliable platform for reaching any audience anywhere in the marketing funnel, it still comes with its own setbacks:
Especially if you’re in an industry that heavily relies on Facebook to reach its audience, you may find yourself spending more than you’d like to. That’s why, for smaller advertisers working with a limited budget, it could be much harder to find and exploit target audiences.
Interrupting User Experience
Most people get on social media to check on their friends and be entertained, not to be sold to. So, unless the person is willing to buy right then, you risk annoying them with the ad. This can lead to negative perceptions about the brand itself for forcing itself into someone's online experience and interrupting their timeline.
What Is Native Advertising?
Unlike traditional advertising, where it’s obvious that you’re looking at an ad, native advertising matches the design of the platform where the ad appears. The hope is that this way, it won’t be like those annoying, intrusive online ads that irritate users so much. The ad will almost appear like part of the site's content. What formats does native advertising have? Here is what MGID supports:
In-feed/in-content native advertising: This native ad is stitched as part of the content within the platform hosting the ad.
Content recommendation ads: Content recommendation ads are also on the same page as the publisher’s content; the difference here is it’s shown afterward. These are normally relevant to the content just consumed by the user so as not to break the user experience.
Branded/native content: Marketers can also create native content. This is content that will be on the publisher’s platform, following the guidelines of the specific platform. The difference is that what you create will be in line with the objectives of the brand.
Pros of Native Advertising
We’ve seen the pros of using Facebook, so what about native? Here are the biggest reasons to choose native advertising:
Less Banner Blindness
Banner blindness is a phenomenon where users instinctually ignore ads. It’s such a huge problem that, according to a Infolinks study, only 14% of users notice banner ads. If the ad spend is based on impressions generated, you could end up overpaying hugely. It is a big issue with platforms where there’s a lot of competition, but with native advertising, this isn’t so much of a problem.
As native ads follow the format of the publisher’s platform, they’re more likely to get noticed by the user. You’ll be able to capture the attention of your audience and ultimately minimize ad spend leakage.
Higher Clickthrough Rates
A softer trust-based approach, like native advertising, can inspire curiosity. By choosing this direction instead of just pushing users to the desired action, you can reach more of your audience - not just those who are ready to buy.
After all, marketing can’t be just broken down to making the sale. There is a lot of work before that, such as catching a first engagement, warming the lead, and building their trust.
One problem with many marketers is that they tend to focus on getting their ROI right away. You’ve got to spend money to make money, right? Well, it’s understandable that marketers want their investment to grow as quickly as possible, but short-term targets should be bound by a longer-term goal that’s anchored in sustainability. Native advertising is ideal for that because its ad formats have a longer shelf life than a regular banner ad.
Native ads often encourage sharing and social interaction, which can further extend their reach and impact. When users share native ads on their social media profiles or other online platforms, they are essentially endorsing the brand or product being advertised, providing additional credibility and extending the ad's shelf life.
Native ads can also be recirculated within the same platform or on other relevant websites, extending their reach and exposure to new users. This recirculation can help to keep the ad fresh and engaging, prolonging its effectiveness.
Cons of Native Advertising
Although native advertising is effective, it does come with it’s own set of drawbacks. Here are the two biggest:
So much content is being churned out every day. How is yours different from the rest? The very nature of native ads being less intrusive does mean they risk not standing out or being noticed. This may be a challenge for marketers in industries where there’s already a lot of competition.
Native advertising may not necessarily be focused on generating sales. Therefore, what you spend on a native advertising campaign may deliver nothing in terms of revenue right away, but when done right, you’re going to get improved brand awareness and brand authority in the industry.
To help you see when you can use both options, we have created the table below:
Native or Facebook? Why Not Both?
All ad budgets are limited, and affiliates are always asking themselves where the best place to focus their money is. Like a good investor, affiliates should always diversify their investment to better manage their risks. How they allocate their budget between these two will depend on what the vertical, niche and goals are.
Facebook ads are great if you’re going for a bolder marketing strategy where you want the audience to take action now. These are meant to stand out from the crowd and elicit positive emotions from users. Meanwhile, native ads are a great match if you’re trying for a more subtle approach because you want to build trust and brand awareness. Unlike Facebook ads, these are meant to blend in and not overly disrupt the user experience.
MGID suggests using native advertising to reach a wider audience and get more people into the marketing funnel. Then, retarget them using Facebook ads to get them closer to a sale. So, if you’re primarily into Facebook ads for marketing, they strongly recommend exploring how native ads can be integrated into your strategy.
If you want to learn more about what MGID can offer you, follow the link here and get in touch with them!
Each traffic source has pros and cons, and both can be effective. At the very least, native advertising is another weapon in every performance marketer’s arsenal that is a must-have in 2024. If you haven’t started using native ads yet, now is the perfect time to try them!