Native Advertising is really not a new concept. The notion of integrating advertising within its content is rooted in the origin of modern advertising, from jingles on radio shows to TV hosts being paid to call out brands. It continues through product placement in movies and now it has found a place in digital advertising.
Wikipedia defines Native advertising as “a web advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience. Native ad formats match both the form and the function of the user experience in which it is placed.” We see Native ads regularly in the form of blog posts, Facebook ads and paid search ads but the opportunity for advertisers to use Native advertising is expanding in more advanced and interesting ways. Native advertising lends itself to Display media through automated, real-time media partnerships.
Native ads integrate advertisers’ messaging within the content of the sites. The paid content is automatically formatted to each site, giving the appearance that each ad was created uniquely for each individual site. Contextual matching is used to place advertisers’ content with relevant publishers. The look of the paid content is altered to be cohesive with the look and feel of the site. This content can be displayed on editorial sites, blogs, community sites, mobile and more. It is always clearly labeled as “sponsored”, “brought to you by” or “promoted” but still creates a natural synchronization between paid media and the site’s original content.
There are a variety of different ways advertisers can utilize Native Advertising through Display media channels. Content can be created and placed in editorial space on websites with the brand listed as the author. Once the user engages in smaller snippets of this content they are then taken to a full page still on the original site. With the large space available on these landing pages, videos and other larger spaced ad units can be used to draw even more engagement. This way the user does not lose trust by being taken away from the original site they were navigating. Native media buys are as precise as standard digital plans with precise flighting, targeting and tracking. Given how well Native ads blend in and act as content, they are able to yield higher engagement rates than standard banner ads.
- Native ads can generate up to 5x-20x the response rates and hold deeper engagement rates.
- Advertisers see up to 40% higher brand lift and 50% higher purchase intent.
Native advertising can be used to highlight customer testimonials and positive reviews, deeper dives into brands stories, great images, coupon images and much more. But not any content is accepted or successful on Native advertising. It must be as relevant and appealing as the organic content to gain user engagement. The Times for example says they will turn away “boring brand stories”.
What Big Brands Are Leading The Way?
Large brands like Ford, Goldman Sachs, Fiat and T-Mobile have all jumped on the Native advertising bandwagon with Display ads. The New York Times recently released that they are rolling out native advertising platform for their sites.
“Native is a table stakes for every marketer and every publisher,” Meredith Kopit Levien, Executive VP of Advertising at New York Times told an audience at Sharethrough‘s Native Advertising Summit in Chicago.
In line with the growth of Native advertising, these Native Display networks reach is also growing. You can reach over 1,500 publications with single media partners such as NATIVO and Sharethrough. Mobile and tablets are also a very strong platform for this Native advertising. Hexagram and Spada found that:
- 62% of publishers are currently offering native advertising and another 16% planning to do so within the year.
- 41% of brands and 34% of agencies currently use Native advertising, with an additional 20% of brands and 12% of agencies planning to begin using it within the year.
Brands are attracted to the relevant messaging, consumer engagement and buzz that Native ads can generate while also benefiting from the absence of banner blindness. They feel these ads can add value for consumers. Publishers benefit from how they align with today’s media and how favorably they are viewed by consumers. It is clear from the benefits and interest of Native advertising that it will continue to grow and thrive as an advertising solution for digital media.