There is no shortage of research showing the rapid rise of native advertising. According to eMarketer, native ad media spending is growing 29 percent this year, and is projected to climb an additional 19 percent in 2015. Even among traditional media brands we find companies such as Forbes estimating that 30 percent of its total revenues will come from its native advertising division.
Native advertising's growing importance is only expected to continue when you consider its effectiveness with the increasingly affluent Millennials demographic. Millennials are an ideal audience for native ads because they are a generation that grew up with mobile access to content. They are not the desktop generation that will click on banner ads; they expect to use their devices to find what they need and move on quickly. Millennials are also likely to share content that interests them, which is a major way that native advertising is currently being used.
Recognizing its growing popularity and effectiveness in reaching consumers, here are five ways advertisers benefit from incorporating native ads into their marketing efforts:
- Capture more attention: For advertisers, performance metrics matter and native advertising offers higher viewing rates than display ads. A recent IPG Media Labs study found that consumers viewed native ads 53 percent more often than displays ads. And if you use native ads to share content, the engagement with your audience can reach significantly further.
- Enable consumers with information: Branded content needs to be presented subtly and convincingly. The content should offer useable information or advice, and not function as just a vehicle for the sponsored message. Native ads with an attractive hook should blend into the site and never distract the consumer simply to entice a click. The result will be empowering consumers with information versus being inauthentic and interrupting them to get their attention.
- Great sharing: The same study that noted greater viewership also stated that 32 percent of consumers were likely to share a native ad versus only 19 percent, which would be willing to share a display ad. The likelihood that ads will be shared makes native advertising a great option for amplifying brand content and special offers.
- Build relevance: Higher engagement and greater sharing creates an opportunity for advertisers to build a relationship with consumers through interaction with the brand. The relationship begins with being relevant to your audience. When brands associate the content of their native ad with both the outlet and a target audience's overall tastes, they further improve their chances of being shared. Relevant content delivered by ads that are more often shared than display ads, aligns with consumers' preferences and facilitates sharing through their network.
- Leverage networks: Native ads work best when placed on social media platforms and aggregated news sites, two areas where Millennials especially congregate. These sites are built around content, so interesting native ads can do well at attracting attention. Empowering consumers with useful information can be even more effective when you place the content on a website that uses native advertising.
The biggest payoff with native advertising is engagement. Like many direct marketing strategies, native advertising offers great possibilities for interaction, sharing and thought leadership. The value in native ads comes from both the short-term interaction and long-term relationship building. When developed properly, brands can engage consumers more effectively with native ads than traditional display ads. For the advertisers that are especially adept at sparking conversations with content, native advertising can be an important part of a marketer's success.