Table of Contents
- Native Ads Work as Banners
- Native Ads are Dishonest
- Native is a Part of Content Marketing
- All In-Feed Formats are Native
- Native Advertising Repels Audiences
- There is Only One Type of Native Ad
- Native Advertising is Hard for Websites to Implement
- You Can’t Scale Native
- Native and Programmatic Don’t Work Together
- Native Works Only for Specific Niches
- Wrap Up
Native advertising gained momentum in digital advertising in the early 2010s and since then has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Native ad spending in the US is expected to grow by over 20% in 2020, reaching a total of $52.75 billion.
As consumers grew dissatisfied with traditional advertising formats and developed so-called banner blindness, native advertising opened new opportunities to reach and engage customers. Agencies, brands, and publishers rushed to adopt this ad format to reinforce their advertising efforts.
Native advertising evolved and changed over the last years, and moved from merely a buzz word to a staple of the industry. In 2014, IAB recognized it as a distinct form of advertising and set standards for different types of ads.
Yet, even now, there is still a lot of misunderstanding regarding this format. I am going to clarify common misconceptions and dispel any doubts about native advertising.
Native Ads Work as Banners
Native advertising takes an entirely different approach to interacting with users than traditional display ads. In contrast to direct promotion with a banner, a native ad is not an endpoint. It is a gateway that drives the target audience from the publisher’s website to a designated landing page of the brand, the first step in a consumer decision journey.
Native ads do not just behaviorally target consumers in the right state of mind to buy a product; they offer additional value that encourages a consumer to explore the brand further.
Native Ads are Dishonest
Native advertising is sometimes perceived as inherently deceitful. The format seamlessly merges with the rest of the content and provides a contextually appropriate message, which can be mistaken for an editorial piece and clicked by the reader.
While readers are annoyed by disruptive banner ads, being tricked into clicking the ad may also seem frustrating sometimes. However, this is more a case of bad native advertising, and brands and publishers can effortlessly remedy that.
It is crucial for publishers to explicitly tag ad spaces as native content and be frank with their audience. Advertisers need to make sure that elements of the native ad, such as a title and description, match the content of further advertising so as not to mislead the readers.
Native is a Part of Content Marketing
Native advertising is frequently confused with branded content and other content marketing efforts. The primary distinction between those formats is distribution channels.
Native advertising is distributed through publishers via programmatic platforms or direct deals and essentially displayed on the rented spaces.
Content marketing refers to larger practices of brand management, creating informative content that organically grows customer base, and is distributed through the company platform or content partnerships.
All In-Feed Formats are Native
As native is gaining mainstream adoption, many wrongly place new ad formats into the native category. Nevertheless, there is a critical difference between native editorial advertising, and for instance, social media advertising.
Ads in social media also have an in-feed format and look organic to the platform. However, social media ads are profoundly different from editorial native ones, since they have limited opportunities for contextual placement and appear alongside user-generated content, which can sometimes be inappropriate and damage the brand image.
Native Advertising Repels Audiences
Proper native ads, with clear labeling, relevant and engaging content, do not alienate readers. In fact, consumers overwhelmingly tolerate native advertising. Nearly 9 in 10 consumers feel that online advertising is necessary to receive free content online.
Consumers develop banner fatigue and become less perceptive to the display ad messaging while favoring ads that mimic the style and delivery of the site content. People tend to look at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads. Native is also significantly less disruptive in mobile, and as a result, quickly expanding in this environment.
There is Only One Type of Native Ad
It is a common bias that the native has a single ad format with a limited application.
Sponsored content that appears in news feeds or at the bottom of the page is the most recognizable and widespread option. Nevertheless, native provides a variety of ad formats apt for various outreach goals.
IAB outlined 6 major native formats:
- in-feed units,
- paid search units,
- recommendation widgets,
- promoted listings,
- in-ad with native elements,
- product placement.
The diversity in ad shapes and placements means that there’s something for everyone in native.
Native Advertising is Hard for Websites to Implement
Instead, publishers can partner with DSP that supports native advertising formats. This way, publishers can concentrate on enhancing user experience and boosting traffic to the website instead of spending time on the setup and design of ads.
You Can’t Scale Native
Ideally, native ads should match the style and tone of voice of the publisher. It would be extremely challenging for advertisers to create a unique version of its ad for each publication. Native ads are not entirely stand-alone units, like banner ads, and have to fit into the interface where they appear contextually.
Luckily, the industry developed technical capabilities and solutions that automatically reformat and optimize a brand’s content for the different platforms in which it might appear. Today, you can seamlessly scale native ads, as easy as you would do with banner ads.
Native and Programmatic Don’t Work Together
At first glance, it might seem that native advertising entails individual arrangements, and cannot be scaled with programmatic media buying. Yet, native advertising was an integral part of this industry for years now.
Native ads and programmatic complement and enhance each other extremely well. Native provides non-intrusive brand-safe advertising, while programmatic delivers targeted audiences effectively and at scale. By concentrating on non-intrusive messages and uninterrupted content experience, native ads benefit both publishers and advertisers.
Native Works Only for Specific Niches
While content-heavy native advertising does not fit the strategy of every brand, it can still be used to achieve a certain reputation and awareness goals. Effective native advertising stems from a deep understanding of the customer base, their affinities, sympathies, and inclinations.
By focusing on the user’s motivation, advertisers can tailor content for the right context that will grab the user’s attention.
Companies from the range of fields, from Booking.com to Taco Bell, rely on native ads to build brand recognition and establish trust and connection with their customers. Robust native content has the power of strengthening customer loyalty and engaging untapped segments of the audience.
Maturing internet audience developed a distaste for intrusive digital ads and grew indifferent to its messaging. Native advertising opens the door for quite a different form of outreach, tacit, suggestive, and engaging.
Native ads provide additional value to the reader, improve user experience, and safeguard the reputation of both publishers and advertisers. With the recent advancements of adtech, native ads can be easily implemented on any website and effectively scaled with programmatic.
The abundance of ad formats makes native an effective tool for any vertical.