For those of you who are not familiar, native ads are display advertising’s latest and greatest technique to boost brand awareness, assist in consideration and lead consumers to action, all in an unobtrusive manner. These ads are a chameleon of sorts, blending into their environment, allowing users to view them before mentally blocking the placement out as an advertisement.
Although the tactic has many benefits, it also faces many of the industry’s top challenges.
Unlike most media offered programmatically, there is currently no form of ad blocking to combat native ads. However, Justin Choi, CEO of Nativo, believes that ad blocking will occur if native ads become irritable, invasive or provide a poor user experience in any way. To avoid provoking such restraints, advertisers need to vastly improve the quality and content of native ads by enhancing the user’s experience, rather than hindering it.
In an article on AdAge.com, Brian Sheehan sites an example of a properly executed native ad. Netflix partnered with The Wall Street Journal to create a compelling piece titled “Cocainenomics: The Story Behind the Medellin Cartel” in promotion of the show Narcos, on Netflix. The article was intriguing to viewers and offered additional information relevant to the product. This is an example of quality content that users are interested in and will engage with.
Creative thinking is the key to a successful native campaign and to negating the threat of ad blocking.
Content creation and result measurement are two major challenges that native advertisers will face in 2017, according to MediaPost.com. This process requires advertisers to come up with engaging and new ideas, identify partnerships (such as The Wall Street Journal and Netflix) that will speak to the target audience and invest in a long-term strategy to build content that augments and furthers the customer journey.
Once these steps are implemented, measurement of a campaign’s success becomes an issue. Standards and benchmarks vary from partner to partner because the space is relatively new. This can cause issues when determining if the tactic is performing, which is why native is still sitting at the top of the purchase cycle as a “brand awareness” tactic.
Another industry-wide concern across all display tactics is viewability. MarketingWeek.com claims that only 35% of digital ads are viewable, while only 4% of ads receive over 2 seconds of viewing time. The nature of native ads may result in longer view times due to the cohesive look of the ad and relevant content. It was a game changer when certain native partners, like Sharethrough, Nativo, DoubleClick and others, began to offer 100% viewability on native ads. As more companies lean towards this competitive model, the space becomes more efficient and cost effective.
Despite facing many challenges, native ads are where budgets will continue to shift for successful campaigns. DedicatedMedia.com claims that native ads result in 53% more views than display banners, increase brand affinity by 82% and viewers walk away with a 53% higher purchase intent. The format of native ads produces a more conducive environment to viewers feeling that their website experience has been improved, which is why native ads will continue to grow and succeed in 2017.