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The native gold rush: How native ad formats are winning

The native gold rush: How native ad formats are winningThe native gold rush: How native ad formats are winning

Native advertising is a bit like the Ice Bucket Challenge – you must be living on the moon not to have heard of it. The reason for its popularity is the extent to which it has been embraced by publishers and advertisers alike.

Native advertising spend is expected to reach $6.4bn in the US by 2017, so it is clear the industry recognises the lucrative opportunity that native presents.

Yet the real opportunity lies with utilising native on mobile, particularly as research has shown that mobile ad spend is set to reach $18bn this year. The format is so popular that the Online Publishers Association predicts as much as 90 per cent of its member publishers will offer native ads by the end of the year, rising from the current 73 per cent of members.

The definition of native advertising has been widely debated. The general consensus from the industry and associations such as the IAB is that native refers to the delivery of paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content – assimilated into the design and consistent with the platform behaviour – that the viewer will not see an immediate distinction between content as they are often delivered in-stream.

Native advertising formats can include video, images, articles, and music. They can be delivered via closed platforms such as promoted tweets on Twitter, open platforms where branded content is promoted across multiple platforms, and hybrid platforms where publishers use private marketplaces to enable advertisers from other platforms to bid on the same inventory – either through direct sales or programmatically through real-time bidding.

So why the popularity of native and what can publishers do to ensure they embrace the benefits that native delivers?

One of the main reasons for the rise of native advertising is the failings of other forms of online advertising to engage consumers. Research has shown that consumers have become conditioned to ignore banner adverts with click through rate as low as 0.4 per cent. In contrast, native advertising is effective because it delivers content in the context of a user’s current experience rather than delivering a flashing and intrusive ad at the top of the screen.

The benefits are numerous. Publishers are empowered to create native formats that integrate with their content and user experience, and are able to sell inventory directly and programmatically. Depending on the exchange they utilise, they can also be assured of a brand-safe environment safeguarded by a vigorous screening programme. Advertisers gain from high performing native in-stream ads at scale, as well as access to high-quality, mostly in-app inventory not previously available programmatically or on mobile.

For publishers looking to engage with native advertising, here are three key considerations to help to deliver advertising success:

Create native formats that work for your specific user environments. Most publishers have developed mobile apps for their readers and if this is the case with you, ensure your native ad units work seamlessly with your app design. To accomplish this, partner with an ad exchange that supports a diverse set of programmatic ad units and creative attributes so you can deliver a customised, differentiated ad experience within your apps.

Adopt measurement criteria brand marketers value. According to “Programmatic + Mobile” a joint Digiday/OpenX survey, buyers place a higher priority on conversions and time spent on content versus traditional metrics such as page views, impressions, and unique visitors. This is an indication that native ads targeted to mobile devices are seen as prime vehicles for brand campaigns.

Help advertisers attain scale in native ad campaigns. According to a recent survey of advertisers regarding their impressions and views of native advertising, over half (52 per cent) of marketers say obtaining the right level of scale is a top priority for native advertising. Publishers who help them obtain it stand to reap enormous benefits. One way to do that is to offer mobile native inventory in the global ad exchanges, where scale is easily achieved.

Native advertising has been heralded as the future of advertising.

For more on the above tips and native advertising, Rob Kramer will be exploring the benefits of mobile based native advertising at dmexco in Cologne at 4pm on 11 September as part of a presentation titled The Native Gold Rush: How Native Ad Formats are making a Success out of Mobile Advertising.

Rob Kramer, general manager - mobile, OpenX

Twitter: @openx

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