Spoiler Alert → Native Advertising is still Advertising!

“Advertisement,” “sponsored by,” “paid content,” “paid posts,” “promoted by,” “featured partner,” “branded content,” and “native advertising” are just a handful of terms that surround a new breed of advertisement’s with the purpose of letting consumers know – this ad (which blends better into the background), is still an ad.

In fact, of all the terms listed above, the one term that specifically speaks to what the ad is – – – “native advertising” is used less than 25% of the time to denote that what the consumer is engaged with, is in fact an advertisement hoping to illicit a response.

This style of advertising is growing rapidly with eMarketer quoting double-digit rise in marketing usage with estimates as high as $21 billion by 2018, more than double expectations for usage this year alone ($10.7 billion during 2015).

But – – – what is Native Advertising? Simply put, it is Content Based ads that are integrated within the editorial feed of various sites. They are meant to be more visually engaging than standard display banner advertisements and due to their perceived relevance and “newness” have been shown to drive better response and consumer engagement than standard advertising.

native-advertising-030315You may not even realize you’re engaging with advertising – here’s how one of the largest sites (Yahoo!) uses native advertising to engage their readers – the 2nd major “article” is actually an advertisement for a solar brand. Oh, and look – right next to the brand name is the greyed out “Sponsored” text (that term is used 56% of the time, ranks 5th in usage for letting consumers know what they’re reading is not an article but a brand advertisement):

Stats highlighting increased usage are important but in the world of direct response advertising, it’s not about how much you spend – it’s about what that spend gets you in return. Your true return on investment (ROI). The good news here is that clickthru’s and purchase intent are two of the top five performance indicators that marketers are overwhelmingly using to measure the effect of native advertising – with brand lift, social media sharing and awareness rounding out the most important metrics.

Similarly to how native advertisements blend into the background of sites, KPI’s for native advertisements are a great blend of both direct and brand response – highlighting why this tactic has seen an increase in usage from media agencies as more and more sites adapt to this landscape.

This post is meant to highlight just what is native advertising. In a future post, we’ll discuss how to make it more effective by having the advertisement geared towards very specific sites and inventory so that each site’s user base has their own tailored experiences as they interact further with our brands.

Dov Calderon

VP, Director of Interactive

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