What is native advertising?
With growing concerns of ad clutter, brands are looking for new ways to engage consumers without interrupting the online experience. More often nowadays, they are turning to native advertising solutions to accomplish this. Although not a new tactic, it is quickly growing. By 2021, it is expected that native ads will drive 74% of all ad revenue. With expected spend for 2016 to reach up to $5.7 billion and a 54% lift by 2018, advertisers are jumping onboard the native train, and fast.
But what is native advertising? Native is a form of advertising meant to follow the natural online user experience in which it is presented. It is meant to match the design of the page to look and function like natural content. There are different formats of native advertising, including paid search and in-feed social, with a growing number of partners to match.
Forms of Native Advertising
This type of native ad can be found in a variety of formats. One of these is endemic in-feed ads that link to content that has been written by or in partnership with the chosen publisher. It links to the content on a page within the publisher’s site. This style matches a page’s function and form, but is narrowly targeted which might not be for all brands.
Another type is a linked in-feed ad that links off of the publisher website. This type aligns a little less with form and function of the page, but is a broader targeted placement.
Content Recommendation Widgets:
This style of native advertising can be delivered as just a link or alongside an image. It is congregated among other native ads in a single section, often labeled “You might like” or “From around the web” and found at the end of content. It cannot be sold as a guaranteed placement. This type of native ad does not fit the form of the page, but still matches the function and is targeted based on content and keywords. It is a much broader targeted placement than the in-feed format.
With the growth of native, publishers and media partners are working to create new, customizable native options. It matches the look and feel of the site and uses publisher elements in the ads to fit the form and content better. It is generally still labeled as “advertising” to keep is separate from editorial.
What advertisers should know ABOUT NATIVE ADVERTISING
Native advertising has been proven to be a strong digital tactic for advertisers. According to ShareThrough, 25% more consumers looked at in-feed native units than standard banners. Compared to publisher editorial content, native ads drive 2% more views with views lasting the same amount of seconds. On mobile, 97% of buyers reported that native ads were somewhat effective at achieving branding goals. Native ads have registered an 18% higher lift in purchase intent than standard banner ads.
Native is also a way to address the growing use of ad blockers being downloaded due to ad clutter and intrusiveness. According to a recent study, three out of every four surveyed downloaded ad blockers because they found ads to be intrusive of their online experience. While ad blockers often work on display advertising, the nature of native advertising units are not picked up by the blockers and are served even when the technology is working. It is a creative way around the growing number of ad blockers used in the market today.
With the growth of native, advertisers should consider whether this format can fit brand’s needs. Native is great for a campaign centered around newsworthy content, whether the content is created by a brand or by a publisher independently. With cost-per-action pricing available in most cases, this style of advertising can be efficient for lead generation campaigns. It is a solution to cluttered ad space, complements the user experience, and can be a fitting addition to other digital tactics that agencies are using.
*Sources: eMarketer, ShareThrough, AdAge