Native advertising is a form of advertising that integrates high-quality content into the organic experience of a given platform. Native ad units conform to the design and feel of the sites on which they display, preserving the immersive user-experience while producing click-through rates like that of editorial content.
We don't think of "Native Advertising" as the currently abused buzzword applied to anything that isn't a banner. We're redefining it as something scalable and superior. It's the intersection of beautifully customized native content delivery and the power of programmatic technology.
Programmatic native advertising serves each ad unit on an impression-by-impression level and leverages real-time data and decision making to ensure that the most relevant ad is placed on each site, creating a unique user-experience.
The term native advertising is broad and continues to evolve. When it first emerged, it was seen as a modern version of the advertorial. It's now viewed as a separate channel designed to deliver high-quality, value-adding branded content. In its Native Advertising Playbook, IAB mentions the core six forms of native advertising. We believe most of them can be broken down into three categories.
Pioneered by companies like Facebook and Twitter, in-feed native advertising is the most common form of native ad. The primary reason for its wide adoption is its "mobile-first" approach and ability to drive users to advertisers' owned media properties. It includes promoted listings and paid results.
Content discovery widgets are typically found at the bottom of an article. Largely seen as a means for publishers to drive traffic and monetize their content, some advertisers see value in reaching a wide audience in a cost-effective manner through content recommendation.
Often brands seek publishers' expertise in producing high-quality, engaging content. Custom content (or sponsored content) is hosted on a publisher's website. For the purpose of audience extension, brands are often leverage in-feed native ads to source audiences from across the entire web.
As per a study done by eMarketer, 73% of US media buyers now invest in native advertising - and rightfully so. According to a study done at IPG Media Lab, native advertising beats banner ads on every engagement metric, from increasing brand favourability to lift in purchase intent.
The top objectives for native advertising continue to be brand awareness, brand affinity, and purchase intent.
The market research provider estimated that US native ad spending came in at $1.5 billion in 2012 and expected this to rise drastically through 2018, where it should reach $8.8 billion.
Of the US media buyers polled by TripleLift and Digital Media Review (DMR) in May 2014, 73% employed native advertising. Usage should be even more impressive in the coming years as 67% planned to increase native ad efforts in the future.
US Native ad spending, 2012 - 2018 (billion and % change)
Source: Socintel360 as cited in company blog, Sep 1, 2014
Native ad spending% of change