Advertising is becoming increasingly personal. Online, ads pop up for shoes you were looking at yesterday; on the phone, insurance companies know when you’re buying a new car or house; in the shops, Coca-Cola has a can with your name on it. All of those things are the implementations of what’s popularly known as native advertising.
The trends and opportunities
Native advertising eschews traditional advertising spaces such as banner ads, billboards and the products themselves, and vies for consumers’ attention by moonlighting as content.
From a promoted tweet on Twitter, to a piece of advertorial in a glossy magazine, native advertising sits within the stream of content that consumers access daily on smartphones or in the newspaper they read on the way to work. It’s a new way for brands to reach their audiences by providing high quality content that people want to read – rather than an ad that catches the attention for a few seconds.
Native advertising has three key elements:
- The ad matches the look and feel of the channel publishing it – whether it’s a website, magazine, blog, etc.
- The ad doesn’t interrupt the consumer’s engagement, but enhances it.
- Content is king – the native advert adds value through content to entertain or engage the consumer.
And it’s working. According to research by Forbes Insights, more than half of advertisers value the native look and feel for their ads. As awareness of native advertising in the UK grows, demand is likely to rise significantly.
At the start of the year some DSP’s reported a 300% increase in revenues for native advertising in the UK in 2015. In December the company released global figures showing that the value of native advertising worldwide is expected to almost double in the next three years, from $30.9bn in 2015 to $59.35bn in 2018.
Native advertising seems to pose a challenge for the UK Advertising Standards Agency, which places a clear responsibility on brands to ensure users are made aware of the commercial nature of content before they engage with it. So it’s also important to make sure the line between editorial and advertorial remains sufficiently clear – for the sake of your customers and, eventually, your business.
With that line clearly marked, the opportunities are seemingly endless, with a wide range of channels to be explored. Right now, online video is seen as a particularly effective way to boost brand awareness and customer loyalty. But the most important thing is to deliver what your audience wants, in the way that they want it.