Native advertising is growing dramatically, in part because of the increasing adoption of ad blocking, but mostly because native ads drive higher brand lift and engagement than traditional banner ads.
Native advertising is an ad format that is delivered within the natural flow of content. An example of native advertising is in-image ads, an ad format that GumGum pioneered in 2008. In-image ads are placed within contextually relevant editorial images to provide a more fluid and engaging experience for the user.
Native is predicted to drive 74% of ad revenue by 2021. But what will 2017 hold for the native advertising industry? What trends will we see emerge or disappear? We asked fellow thought leaders in the space to share their insights. (Note: The thought leaders quoted below work with GumGum.) Here is what we learned:
Scalability will be a more collaborative process.
Early attempts to scale native ad formats were met with resistance because, at first, native at scale seemed like an oxymoron. Formats that were delivered programmatically ended up delivering creative that didn’t fit the publisher’s content or theme. In 2017, the push for effective native scalability will end up bringing more teams together.
“It’s time that creative teams and media buyers work hand in hand to ensure that the right players are involved,” says Shael Fryer, VP of enterprise at Index Exchange. “With higher creative standards and more relevant communication, we’ll be able to fully leverage the beauty of native advertising.”
The key to successful native advertising is authenticity, which is also its greatest benefit. In order to deliver effective scalability, the ads need to deliver authenticity regardless of where they end up. Success, Fryer asserts, means making sure that “the ad format that’s used is one that is going to be effective in imagery and wording. In that sense, it’s no different than other approaches.” It’s also important that advertisers “think carefully about that information from the publisher’s perspective. In other words, make sure that the ad content blends with the aesthetics of the site and the page content.”
Rules and standards will increase.
In 2016, a majority of publishers weren’t following FTC’s native guidelines. As we move into 2017, that’s not a trend that can continue. Why is this such a problem? 2016 saw federal regulators begin to flex their muscles. Warner Brothers and Lord & Taylor were both reprimanded for their lack of disclosure surrounding sponsored marketing, and these kinds of fines are only going to continue.
To minimize this, Jason Keith, VP/group director, strategy & analysis at Digitas, believes that 2017 will see “a further push towards the standardization of native specifications (IAB standards) and the ways in which we measure campaign success.” Similarly, Steve Katelman, EVP of global strategic partnerships at Omnicom Media Group, says, “Many brands and agencies are working on redefining what ‘engagement’ means,” highlighting that the need for standardization comes from two sides.
In a sense, marketers are victims of their own successes with native. In their search for channels that blend seamlessly, they can sometimes cross the line into misleading editorial, which is why stronger standards are needed. Marketing is an incredibly fast-moving industry and marketers will always try to push the envelope to get the best results possible. By putting more stringent specifications in place, marketers will be less likely to stray into moral gray areas. This will be beneficial to all stakeholders.
by Ben Plomion
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