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Native is the new Rich Media

Victor Wong, CEO of Thunder elaborates why rich media formats were popular because they were interactive and content-rich, but the rising popularity of ad blocking has turned the tide against them. Native ads are rooted in similar principles, but they deliver content and interactivity in a more favorable way to both consumers and brands

“Nature always finds a way” says Professor Malcom in Jurassic Park, referring to the ability of species to adapt for survival. Something similar could be said about advertising technology, with rich media advertising being the latest to evolve and find a new way.

Rich media advertising in its heyday was very popular because it was interactive and content rich which was attractive to brand advertisers. However, as advertisers tried to pack more and more content into the rich media ads, ads got bigger and more intrusive. In recent years, the rising popularity of ad blocking has reflected consumers turning against them and as a result the brands have turned as well.

The Coalition for Better Ads spearheaded by Procter & Gamble and Google is pushing higher standards for ad experiences which ban expandables, pop-ups, and other intrusive rich media ads. While a victory for consumers, publishers have come to depend on rich media ad formats as a means of selling premium ad spots and differentiating against the competition in an increasingly programmatic and standardized world. They sell unavoidable ads that interact with the webpage uniquely because they need something to stand out from Facebook and other publishers.

Enter native advertising where paid content is made to look like normal content. Publishers are increasingly adopting this format as a replacement for rich media display advertising as consumer haven’t been able to or haven’t chosen to turn to ad blocking of native. Native offers the premium differentiation of site-specific implementation and near guarantee in viewability due to its pervasiveness on screen.

Native is expected to account for 74% of total US display ad revenue in just 4 years. Native sponsored article content is in fact the new takeover ad. Instead of expandables, advertisers are not properly in-stream and can potentially take over the whole content page.

Native ads may be rooted in similar advertising principles as rich media, but they deliver content and interactivity in a more favorable way to both consumers and brands. This will ensure native’s foothold in the future as audience-centric programmatic advertising rises and publisher-centric rich media falls.

by Victor Wong
source: MTA