Yesterday we discussed how advertisers and publishers are finding common ground in the use and acceptance of native advertising. While there have been several studies on native advertising from the perspective of advertisers and publishers, it’s the consumers’ viewpoint that will shape how the industry employs native advertising moving forward, and how much advertisers and publishers truly embrace it in the long run.
It just so happens that native advertising is a form of advertising that consumers don’t mind. That being said, it is important to understand what they like and what they don’t before native joins the ranks of the banner ad or the telemarketing call. Let’s continue to listen to what the consumer says before we tout each other’s opinions based on archaic benchmarks.
The fact is; consumer behavior has undergone a substantial shift, affecting how brands engage their audience online. This shift involves a migration away from the desktop and a reliance on mobile devices at the center of media consumption. Banners have no business in this growing medium. A majority of publishers have adopted more visual designs where content on mobile screens can easily be digested and consumed. Placing a banner ad here is akin to putting a pair of fuzzy dice on a brand new sports car. (I apologize in advance to all the fuzzy dice aficionados.) Sure, it may seem as if banners are driving more success if you look at clickthrough rates. Unfortunately that doesn’t take into account accidental clicks on small screens and the inability to measure post-click engagement. Native however, is the perfect compliment to mobile advertising since it renders best in the content streams people tend to access on smartphones and tablets.
So where is native seeing the most success? And by success we mean consumers not sighing with disgust when they encounter an ad. Native is flourishing across social media, content portals, news properties, video- sharing sites and streaming services. Increased mobile use of these venues has fueled much of the growth, since native ads work best in the content streams that people tend to access on smartphones and tablets. More and more, we are seeing publishers replicate this in-feed environment on desktop as well. And it’s no surprise; let’s just look at what consumers have to say about the types of ads they encounter online.
Conducted by the IAB with Edelman Berland, this scientific study on native advertising surveyed over 5,000 consumers and found that in-feed, sponsored content was more appealing and less intrusive than any other major paid media format.
The IAB has taken a very important and necessary first step in identifying how consumers perceive native. But I believe we’ve only scratched the surface. There is still more to learn as native matures, and we will always need to keep our ear to the ground and ensure we are putting the consumer first. I hope we all continue to keep that in mind as we continue to develop native advertising.