We can all agree that online ads are just the worst. You open a page to read an article and all of sudden more of your screen is covered in advertisements than the article itself. So it’s no surprise that 735 million people worldwide use ad blockers to browse online. This has forced marketers to find new methods to try and get you to see their ads.
In comes Native Advertising, a non-disruptive digital advertising in which a paid ad matches the look, feel, and function of the media format in which they appear. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t appear like advertisements. They look like just a continuation of the page, a natural flow of the editorial. Unless you can keep a keen eye, most consumers usually can’t distinguish native ads from the content they are found, consequently the name “native ads.”
Native ads are the sponsored ads that you see pop up in your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feeds. They are the top listings when you search for anything on Google. The recommended articles after you finish reading an article. All of these are forms of native advertisements and they work well.
You probably have come across a native ad yourself or even clicked on one! According to an AppNexus study, they boast a click-through-rate of .80%. Compare this to a normal display ad’s .09% and you can truly see the effectiveness of native ads.
Despite how effective native ads are, they still have a few telltale signs to separate them from the regular content. As the FTC and IAB are not thrilled if consumers are misled and by sneaky advertisements. Here are some of the ways you can recognize when you’re looking at a native ad.
The words “Suggested Post” or “Recommended For You” or “Promoted Stories”
The words “Sponsored”, or a sponsorship credit
Small icon – if you click it, it denotes that the content block is a paid ad
Recommended or Suggested videos
So some or all of these native ads seem familiar to you or as an obvious advertisement online. Despite that, native ads work and are only going to increase in usage as time goes on. Consumers look at native adds up to 53% more than display ads and increase purchase intent by up to 18%. The visual engagement of the native ads is the same if not even slightly higher than the original content in which the ad can be found.
Native ads are non-disruptive, this means that they will actually fight ad fatigue. Instead of an audience getting bored when they see ads and just tuning them out, native ads increase engagement. This is due to the brand exposure being concealed by editorial content. As long as the content is relevant and can keep the attention of the audience, it will be engaging the consumer.
According to a recent study conducted at Stanford University, consumers do not even care if native ads are a form of advertising. Researchers found that native advertising actually doesn’t fool anybody, as consumers can quickly recognize that these are forms of advertising. But as long as the content is still engaging and relevant, they will still take notice of the ads. Even though consumers are aware that native ads are ads, there is still a significant effect on purchase behavior.
All of this points towards a much larger spend and use of native advertising in the near future. Compared to the $85 billion in native advertising spend in 2020, 2025 is expect to a value of $402 billion, a total 372% increase in just five years.
Some trends in native advertising that we should expect to see is the increase in mobile native ads while a decrease in social native ads. Interactive native ads are expected to see an increase as well. Most specifically the use of search windows in native ads. Consumers would input keywords and then the search will bring them to the search result page of the advertisers’ shopping sites. Removing an entire step from the touch points of a sale and increasing audience engagement.
The key for success with native advertising is to create valuable content and deliver it to your target audience in the right place and in the right way. If the advertisement itself becomes a piece of content that consumers can find value in other than the product or service being advertised, they are much more likely to end in purchase or increase in brand recognition.
So now that you have a stronger sense of what native ads are, I want to know what you think of them. Are they a good piece of marketing or are they trying to be sneaky and get you to purchase without knowing that you’re consuming an advertisement?