5 Reasons to Invest in Native Advertising for Your Business in 2018

By Laurie Fullerton / 30 May 2018

Native advertising is a worthwhile investment for businesses. Learn 5 reasons why businesses are paying more attention to native advertising in 2018.

Concerns about privacy laws and the rise of programmatic advertising have created a ‘fight to quality’ that has moved more advertising dollars toward native ad spend in recent years.

graph showing increase in spending on native advertising from 2017-2019
Source: eMarketer

Native advertising is growing substantially, and research estimates that native advertising revenues will reach almost 75% of the U.S. ad market by 2021.

What are native ads?

Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience. In other words, native ads look, feel, and function like organic content but are actually paid media.

Native ads look, feel, and function like organic content but are actually paid media.

Native advertising is unique because it offers consumers the chance to enjoy high-value content, while advertisers have the chance to target and engage with their most-likely buyers.

There is also far less objection to native ads by consumers as a whole. According to HubSpot, whose inbound marketing model intends to maximize content marketing efforts through native advertising techniques, 85% of internet users say their browsing experience is not hindered by native ads.

On the other hand, 85% of internet users surveyed feel that ads on social media, news aggregators, and applications are annoying.

With its non-disruptive approach, native advertising produces much better results than traditional ad formats.

Here are some ways that native advertising can help businesses:

  • Create more authentic advertorials
  • Craft creative, interactive content for mobile users
  • Open opportunities for virtual reality (VR) advertising
  • Incorporate a seamless advertising experience across social media
  • Design a relatable story to draw users

1. Create More Authentic Advertorials

Native ads are a more natural way to advertise your brand, product, or service.

In fact, 70% of consumers say they’d rather learn about products through content than traditional advertising.

Nearly all marketers (96%) agree that ads should be relevant to the context of the surrounding editorial content.

The strongest areas for native advertising remain print and video – with video, in particular, finding its niche in mobile advertising.

2. Craft Creative, Interactive Content for Mobile Users

There’s an opportunity for native advertising on mobile devices as more people in the U.S. spend their time online on a smartphone.

In the last three years, more than half of people in the U.S. (51%) have spent more time online using smartphones than desktop computers (42%).

graph showing number of smartphone users across the world
Source: SmartInsights

Smartphone users’ preference for interaction on mobile devices is one reason why native advertising has potential on mobile devices.

Native ads have the flexibility to provide exciting, interactive options to users.

3. Open Opportunities for Virtual Reality Advertising

Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to boost native advertising with its 360-degree video features.

VR gives advertisers endless possibilities to place interactive ads discreetly.

For example, Starbucks’ used VR for a native ad for a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) free drink.

screenshot of starbucks' native ad that uses virtual reality (VR)

The short advertisement simulates a Starbucks customer, walking into the store, and using a BOGO coupon to get a free drink.

VR advertisements allow your business to:

  • Entertain users
  • Collect user-generated content
  • Trial new products virtually

4. Incorporate a Seamless Advertising Experience Across Social Media

Social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter use feed-based advertising that mirrors the native advertising model.

For example, an add from Kay Jewelers resembles a typical Facebook post.

Kay Jewelers' native ad on Facebook

But, in reality, Kay Jewelers’ post is sponsored content that advertises its product: a diamond collection.

Both Facebook and Twitter manage to provide a high-quality user experience while proactively advertising on their platforms.

Kay Jewelers’ native advertisement works on Facebook because it’s visual: The screen capture displays the product and is relatable to both the men buying the jewelry and the women receiving it.

5. Design a Relatable Story to Draw Users

Recommending content that’s truly tailored to your audience is another way to incorporate native advertising.

Companies such as performance-based native advertising firm Outbrain use behavioral targeting to recommend articles, slideshows, blog posts, photos, or videos to a reader, rather than relying on the basic "related items" widget.

For example, Airbnb and the New York Times partnered to provide a native advertising experience through recommended content.

The ad, “Airbnb Remembers Ellis Island,” provided an interactive experience that reflected on the history of travel and hospitality and ushered readers back in time to New York’s Ellis Island.

Airbnb's native ad in the New York Times

The story details what it was like to migrate to America. It features personal stories, historical facts, photos, and documents. Not until the end of the interactive experience does Airbnb include its selling call to action, “Book your next great adventure.”

Native Advertising Worth the Investment

As it becomes clearer that native ads are viewed more frequently than non-native ads, it is important to incorporate native advertising into your ad budget.

It is the general ease that consumers have with native advertising that makes it one of the most successful paid media formats of 2018.

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