2015: The Year of Native Advertising

Source: The New York Times
Source: The New York Times

The Native Advertising industry is constantly growing. What’s already a $4.7 billion business industry is set to continue growing exponentially. According to Business Insider Intelligence, native ads spending will reach $9 billion by the end of this year and will grow to $21 billion by 2018. According to Mixpo’s Native Advertising survey, 72 percent of publishers currently have native advertising implemented, which is set to increase in 2015.

Yahoo recently released a study confirming this data, delving into the success of native ads, why it has been so successful and the best way for brands to use native advertising to their advantage. In this study, entitled The Native Advertising Frontier, Yahoo and BBDO also explore the benefits that native advertising has for brands and also offer insights into how best to utilize these benefits in a way that engages customers and creates results.

Some interesting statistics about the growth of native advertising include the fact that 79% of advertisers are planning to buy native in 2015 – a growth of 13% – and that 60% of consumers have a positive impression of native advertising, specifically In-Feed ads. Reasons for the latter include the consumer being introduced to new products, being provided with information they wouldn’t have discovered otherwise and how these In-Feed ads fit in naturally with the user experience.

Bearing all that in mind, it’s no wonder that more and more marketers and publishers are looking to use native ads as part of their marketing strategy. Using native ads is one thing, but how can you implement native advertising in such a way that it will be successful? The solution offered in the study is threefold:

  • Selecting the right platform – Where selecting a platform for native advertising is concerned, it’s crucial that the platform fulfills the specific needs of your consumer while also coordinating with the visual style and tone of your site.
  • Adding value for users – the strength of your brand is dependent on the strength of your content. With millennials caring less about brand names and more about sharing valuable content, it’s vital that native advertising provides content that is both compelling and informative.
  • Maintaining transparency – clearly labeling your native ad is vital in maintaining consumer trust. As per IAB guidelines, it is crucial that a native ad provides visual cues that indicate the content is in fact paid for by a third party and not editorial, otherwise consumers will feel misled.

With native advertising constantly developing and evolving in real time, there’s still an element of trial and error when it comes to which advertisements actually end up being effective. It’s easy to say what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to native advertising, but it might be hard to figure out what works and what doesn’t without concrete examples of what has worked and why. Luckily for you, we’ve got some examples of native advertising success stories.

5 Native Ads People Loved Reading

1. The New York Times and Netflix/Orange is the New Black

Source: The New York Times
Source: The New York Times

In August 2014 The New York Times and Netflix teamed up for a sponsored paid post to promote the second season of Orange is the New Black, a Netflix original series based in a women’s prison. The post works on many levels; it provides compelling, informative content that fits in with the content The New York Times produces, meaning that it doesn’t disrupt user experience or alienate a regular Times reader. In terms of brand strengthening, because the ad is far from obnoxious self-promotion and actually addresses something of value, it serves to present Netflix as more than just a streaming service and media producer, but also as brand that cares about raising awareness for pressing societal issues – like the need for reform in America’s prison system.

2. Chipotle and the Huffington Post

Source: huffingtonpost.com
Source: huffingtonpost.com

Chipotle’s native ad at Huffington Post not only informative and thought provoking, but also infinitely shareable  – because who doesn’t love discussing how gross the food we eat actually is? Jeff Turner, director of ad product and monetization at the Huffington Post has said that the post has been one of their top mobile performers.

3. Buzzfeed and Game of Thrones

Source: Buzzfeed
Source: Buzzfeed

Native advertising doesn’t strictly have to be informative content, as Buzzfeed have shown time and time again with their “Brand Publisher” content. Case in point, their “How Would You Die In Game Of Thrones” quiz, which was published on their site prior to the Season 4 premiere of the popular HBO fantasy show. It works because it’s relevant to Buzzfeed‘s usual content (If you’ve ever visited Buzzfeed then you should be aware that it’s basically 75% cats and silly quizzes) and also the interests of its main demographic.

4. Gawker and Newcastle Brown Ale

2015-native-advertising-gawker-newcastle

Gawker took transparency to a whole new level with this native ad for Newcastle Brown Ale called ‘We’ve Disguised This Newcastle Ad as an Article to Get You to Click It’. Gawker have come under fire for their native ads not being distinguishable enough before, so it looks like they’ve decided to go full-meta with their newer native ad campaigns.

5. The Onion and Starbucks

2015-native-advertising-onion-starbucks

Satire news site, The Onion, may not seem like the kind of site where you’d typically see native ads and sponsored content, especially with them having poked fun at the subject before. Nevertheless, they, like a growing number of internet publishers, feature native ads. This one sponsored by Starbucks is especially successful; the coffee shop giant produced an article on being productive at the weekend to promote their Doubleshot Espresso.

With the industry consistently on the rise and evolving every day, native advertising is proving itself a force to be reckoned with in the new age of online advertising. By following these best practices in creative, imaginative ways in your own native advertising campaigns, it’s likely you will see positive results.

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