What is native advertising?
Native advertising is any paid content that is “in-feed” and inherently non-disruptive. Native ads work best when placed on social media platforms and aggregated news sites – platforms that are built around content. Businesses must be innovative and different in order to attract inquisitive consumers to a brand message. Remember those interesting ‘sponsored posts’ in Facebook that were so good that you ended liking their page instantly? That was a result of perfect native advertising combined with high-quality content. All those sponsored photos/videos on Instagram, promoted hashtags on Twitter, read first articles on WordPress, recommended videos on YouTube etc., are all examples of native advertising. Native advertising is one weapon marketers need to have in their arsenal if they want to stay relevant across mobile and social platforms.
Image source: MDG advertising
Native advertising is one of the most subtle forms of advertising where the customer does not realize that a marketer trying to sell his product is targeting him. Native ads match the visual design of the experience they live within, and look and feel like natural content. It has been found that the less an advertisement looks like an advertisement, and the more it looks like an editorial, the more readers stop, look and read. A company that uses native advertising has the highest level of engagement with its audience compared to any other form of advertising. One of the biggest benefits of native advertising is that it is sharable. Since native advertising is disguised as valuable content, the consumer is more likely to share that content with their friends or followers on social networks or email, amplifying a brand’s content and special offers.
How is native advertising bringing about a paradigm shift in advertising?
Let us consider the size of audience native ads can reach. Facebook has two billion monthly active users and the number of users of other social media platforms are also significantly high.
Image source: TechCrunch
None of the traditional marketing techniques has a reach even close to those numbers. Researchers have also found that 70 percent of Internet users want to learn about new products through content as opposed to through traditional advertisements. This is because native marketing is a more assertive way for brands to engage with audiences and deliver tailor-made content to their audience. A research by IPG Media labs found that consumers looked at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads and they registered 18% higher lift in purchase intent and 9% lift for brand affinity responses than banner ads. It also found that purchase intent is 53 percent higher when consumers click on native ads instead of traditional ads.
There is a rapid increase in the number of companies using native advertising to advertise their products. This can largely be attributed to the dominance of social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which were early champions of native and rely almost entirely on native formats. The introduction of new programmatic technologies that are making it easier for publishers and advertisers to scale native campaigns. Social platforms generate most of their revenue from native ads. Currently native advertising is valued to be around $20 Billion. This number is predicted to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% to $36 Billion in the next 5 years. The dominance of social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat on mobile devices, where the entire experience is within a feed, will help propel social’s contribution to overall native ad revenue.
Native advertising requires a lot of high quality content that is displayed in the feed of the target customer. This in turn requires highly skilled content writers and is the sole reason why there will be a sudden rise in the demand for content writers by various companies. As native ads closely resemble the editorial, disclosures are a must on native advertising. One of the biggest plus points of native advertising is that, it is proving to be a win for marketers, consumers, and publishers. It is being seen as one of the cheapest way to identify, target and convert a potential customer. With more and more marketers shifting to native advertising for various reasons, from wanting to generate a buzz to increase the customer engagement, the future of native advertising seems bright.