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Native approach to banner and display advertising results in 100% of ads being viewed, study says

Results: Examples of native 'sponsored headers'

A native advertising approach to banner and display ads has returned a result of 100 per cent of ads viewed, according to research.

Native ad provider Respond commissioned media research technology firm Sticky to test the response of readers to ‘sponsored headers’ designed to fit more naturally within the editorial style, layout and tone of its host website. The results showed that each ad was viewed – not just viewable – by all of the 300 participants in the study.

The evolving concept of native advertising has proved popular with advertisers and Respond has applied the concept of advertising appearing more naturally within its environment to banner and display ads in a bid to give them more relevance for readers – and advertisers.

Mathias Plank, CEO and founder at Sticky, said: “Our tests showed that Respond’s native sponsored headers not only achieved 100 per cent viewability for brands’ ad creative, but also that 100 per cent of consumers who visit a page of digital content where a native sponsored header appears will actually see the ad creative.

“By appearing below the publisher’s main top menu and matching the look and feel of the site they appear on, Respond’s sponsored headers achieve at least twice the impact of other ad formats that appear above the publisher’s menu. What’s more, the time for consumers to first fix their gaze on Respond’s sponsored headers was up to 150 per cent faster than the industry average for digital ads.”

Guy Cookson, CMO at Respond, added that taking a native approach to banner and display advertising was producing better results for clients than bigger, more intrusive ads.

“The results show that consumer unfriendly tactics of displaying more ads, larger ads or technically more intrusive ads are not the only answer to the viewability problem,” he said.

“Ads placed natively within content, without interruptive mechanics and that use design principles that are in keeping with the digital media title’s environment attract consumers’ eyeballs and actions.”

In June 2013, comScore calculated that 54 per cent of online ads did not have the opportunity to be viewed by consumers. Turning away from traditional displays ads, many advertisers have shown increasing interest in native advertising, which aims to build advertising more closely and naturally into a website’s editorial content.

Cookson said that the native approach was not just about creating content, but could be applied to display and banner advertising to capture readers’ interest.

“By leveraging the affinity consumers have for the media titles they visit, publishers’ ad inventory becomes far more valuable to brands,” he added.

In July last year, Yahoo’s head of search, Andy Jones, told the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Search conference that native advertising would bridge search and display advertising “like never before”, while the concept is seen by many publishers as a bridge between advertising and editorial content.