Consumers are increasingly gaining more and more control over their advertising experience through the adoption of new technologies like ad blockers. That, paired with the abundance of ads a user is confronted with during their content consumption, has made it increasingly difficult for advertisers to make a lasting impact on their audience. Given how empowered the audience is, brands can only break through by creating ad experiences people actively want to look at and spend time with.
Native advertising helps solve this problem by making a brand’s marketing message a welcome occurrence rather than an unwanted intrusion, allowing them to maintain a more natural user experience by aligning the advertisers message with the content it lives in. While the format is expected to grow into a $21 billion category by 2018, many marketers remain confused about what native advertising is and how exactly it can help them achieve their goals. Fortunately, we’re here to help.
Native advertising 101
The Interactive Advertising Bureau defines native advertising as a format in which marketers attempt to deliver “paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design and consistent with the platform behavior, that the viewer simply feels that they belong.”
This can include sponsored posts on the Facebook news feed and promoted product listings on search engines and shopping sites, as well as paid links to content posted on the home pages of sites like Sports Illustrated and Newsweek. So long as the ads match the feel of the environment in which they live, native can exist across smartphone, tablet and desktop screens.
How native makes advertising welcome
Native advertising benefits all three of the digital ecosystem’s major stakeholders: consumers, publishers and advertisers. Because the ad units are seamlessly integrated with the publisher’s brand, users get a better experience, while advertisers are able to build trust by reaching consumers in a setting that feels organic.
Brands want to connect with the consumers and they want to exemplify their brand identity. This can be done in a more personalized fashion with native advertising.
The unobtrusiveness of native advertising is particularly important on mobile devices, where users have smaller screens and do not want to be disrupted while tapping and scrolling. Rather than feeling bombarded by a screen-hogging ad in this environment, a user might see a link to a piece of sponsored content in the feed of their favorite site and decide it’s exactly what they want to read next.
The Bottom Line:
Over the next several years, we can only expect more advertisers to present consumers with ads that feel complementary to the user experience. Indeed, as programmatic technologies continue to develop, marketers will have the ability to deliver creative, eye-catching native experiences with unprecedented scale and precision. More and more, native formats will make advertising welcome on each of the many devices, apps and websites consumers enjoy.