In 1895, John Deere published his first issue of The Furrow. He filled the magazine with farming and agricultural tips and included product ads. It was the first example of native advertising in U.S. history.

A native ad is a paid message that blends into the feel and function of the media in which it appears. Today, it may run as a sponsored video, an online article or infographic, a sponsored Facebook post or a promoted tweet on Twitter.

By delivering relevant information, The Furrow reached more than 4 million readers by 1912. Not bad for the pre-digital age. Now it’s your turn. Apply these tips as you build a native ad strategy. 

Understand your audience. Develop a strategy based on who you’re targeting. Pick platforms and channels based on the media preferences and behaviors of the patient you’re trying to reach.

Join the conversation. Don’t think of it as advertising; think of it as an exchange of information. Your audience has healthcare questions. Answer them with your insights.

Say it seamlessly. Generate content and visuals that look like the space you’re using. A reader is more likely to engage if your ad doesn’t disrupt their browsing experience.

Produce quality content. Research and fact check your content for accuracy. Accuracy is particularly important in the medical field where patient health is at stake.

Educate patients. Create content with the patient in mind. Become a trusted resource for healthcare information. Patients will remember you when it’s time to make a healthcare decision.

Share meaningful stories. People love to read success stories. It gives them hope for their situations.

List it. People also like to read lists with useful tips or steps. Publish helpful material related to your practice or service line. Don’t use alarm tactics.

Skip the sales pitch. Native ads build brand awareness and influence future behavior. Readers are turned off by anything that feels too promotional.

Be real. Clearly mark your native content as “sponsored” or “advertiser.” It’s a balancing act —you want your ad to fit in with the editorial content, but not look like objective journalism.

Check your calendar. Create seasonal messages and announce milestone events such as your practice’s anniversary. Also, look at national health observances.

Learn more about native ad strategies here. Then give us a call. We’ll walk you through the steps to produce a successful native ad campaign.