The 8th IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, themed “Content and the Kingmakers,” got off to an exciting start as Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO at IAB, presented the 6 most critical issues facing the industry. At the top of the list was native advertising.
Native advertising has certainly come a long way since it hit the scene just a few years ago. What was once a breakout topic at IAB’s annual leadership meeting has since taken center stage, “representing a fundamental turning point in the evolution of digital advertising,” according to the IAB’s Peter Minnium. Therefore it was no surprise that the IAB officially declared that native advertising has gone from a fad to a fixture.
That being said, a lot of work remains to ensure native advertising remains effective for publishers, advertisers, and most importantly consumers. The IAB will continue to work towards guiding the market with native ad standards designed to enable scalable efficiency. The market needs continuing education around best practices and measurement to ensure native does not go the way of the banner – which was a volatile topic at the annual meeting with attendees complaining that is riddled with fraud. No, we cannot let that happen to native while it is still in its infancy, and it is good to see the IAB is taking the right steps to ensure native remains a viable ad strategy.
Meanwhile. The UK arm of the IAB just released part one of a set of guidelines to help UK advertisers and publishers make sense of native ad disclosure. The guidelines provide advertisers, publishers, agencies and advertising technology companies with clear and practical steps to make it easier for consumers to spot native advertising – digital ad formats designed to look and feel like editorial content.
Two of the key guidelines for native advertising formats are:
- Provide consumers with prominently visible visual cues enabling them to immediately understand they are engaging with marketing content compiled by a third party in a native ad format which isn’t editorially independent (e.g. brand logos or design, such as fonts or shading, clearly differentiating it from surrounding editorial content)
- It must be labeled using wording that demonstrates a commercial arrangement is in place (e.g. ‘paid promotion’ or ‘brought to you by’).
It is important that the worldwide market is on the same page with native advertising. It looks like we are taking the right steps to ensure we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. But we have a long road ahead of us.