July 30, 2013 Jaclyn Bickerton
Native advertising has become very popular with digital publishers, providing them with new opportunities to generate ad revenue, and ad buyers, providing them with more effective ad placements and improved ROI. But what exactly is native advertising? Some examples of native ads include Facebook Sponsored Stories, Twitter Promoted Tweets, branded videos and other ads that appear in the content streams of media sites such as Forbes.com. eMarketer recently posted an article called “How Native Ad Campaigns Are Shaping Up” which gave some great insight into the state of native advertising.
According to a June 2013 survey from the Online Publishers Association and Radar Research, 73% of US publishers said that they already offer native advertising on their site, and another 17% said they were considering offering it this year. Only 10% of US publishers said they had no native ad plans of any kind.
Although more and more publishers are rolling out native advertising, there are some varying opinions in how they think about and begin to define native advertising. 93% of publishers agreed that best definition of native advertising was “Integration into the design of the publisher’s site and lives on the same domain. Also, 86% of publishers said that native advertising was “content produced by, produced in conjunction with or created on behalf of our advertisers that runs within the editorial stream.” And a close 79% of publishers believed that native advertising must be clearly delineated and labeled as such.
As for evaluating native ad campaigns, 57% of publishers said that the leading metric used was engagement. This was followed by traffic at 43%, and social sharing at 33%. We can conclude that while advertisers may want to have their native ad posts shared by consumers, it is not their top priority.
In April of this year, market research company BIA/Kelsey estimated that US native ad spending on social sites will reach $2.36 billion, or 38.9% of total US paid social ad expenditures. They also estimated that by 2017, social native ad spend will reach 4.75 billion, and make up 41.7% of all us paid social ad expenditures. Keep in mind, these numbers are only on social sites, and do not include the various other channels besides social that native advertising can reach.
In an era where banner ads just don’t command attention, native advertising is an extremely powerful alternative. Marketers are looking to deliver ads that are meaningful to the user, and blend with the experience of a publisher’s website, and native ads provide a new and exciting opportunity to do so.
Jaclyn Bickerton, Social Media, Raven5 Ltd, Oakville & Toronto Ontario, July 2013