Native advertising has truly come of age, moving from being relatively unknown to being ubiquitous in a matter of months, as marketers understand the exciting opportunity it presents to successfully engage consumers. So what spurred the momentous rise of native advertising and what lies ahead for this advertising format?

For marketers, native is the digital advertising solution that solves many of the problems presented by more traditional forms of advertising. Native seamlessly delivers brand messages within the stream of editorial, while providing value in the form of highly engaging content. Recent IAB research shows that UK spend on native advertising has reached £216 million and accounts for over 20% of digital display ad budgets – indicating that brands are embracing the format.

Moreover, as consumers increasingly place importance on mobile communications, native’s place at the top table is strengthened with its ability to engage consumers with ads that fit the form and function of a small screen, which leads to higher levels of engagement. But while these opportunities should provide greater levels of confidence for marketers, there is still a disproportionately low level of total ad spend compared to user mobile content consumption – mobile typically attracts 4% of total ad spend, despite consumers spending 20% of their consumption time on these devices. Clearly there is a disconnect between current investment in mobile and the scale of the opportunity it represents.

So for marketers looking to integrate native into their mobile strategy, what elements do they need to consider?

1. High-quality content is key

Content should be interesting, of high quality, and be carefully targeted to the audience. As mobile native ads are positioned within a site’s editorial feed, they should be contextually aligned as well as relevant to the rest of the content on the screen. Form and function should be key considerations, as native advertising should seamlessly integrate into the mobile site and behave in the same way as the editorial around it.

2. Set KPIs

To measure the success of mobile native advertising, KPIs should be set to ensure progress can be tracked end-to-end and ROI can be measured. From the first click, brand metrics such as engagement, viewability, and time spent with the content should be key considerations.

3. Transparency and trust

While native ads fit seamlessly into the mobile content stream, it is important they are clearly identifiable as native and labeled accurately. Delivering transparent and relevant content is vital and ultimately helps to build consumer trust and boost engagement levels.

Looking forward, the industry will see a significant shift in digital ad spend towards mobile and mobile native in particular, but to truly reflect the pace of mobile content consumption, this growth needs to be rapid. Marketers should understand the customer journey to make the most of native mobile advertising and capitalise fully on the myriad of benefits the perfect partnership between mobile and native offers.


By Adam Rock, Managing Director at TAN Media

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