End-of-Year Recap for Native Advertising

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It has been one year since our advertising agency in Austin told you that 2013 would be the year of native advertising, the practice of buying ads that look the same as in-stream news feed content across various social networks. As predicted, native ads did in fact break out big this past year, despite initial confusion among some brands and marketers as to what they actually are. To date, some of the most well-known forms of native advertising include:

  • Promoted tweets on Twitter
  • Sponsored stories on Facebook
  • Featured videos on YouTube

There are also countless native ad opportunities on news aggregator websites, home pages and other popular destinations. But it hasn’t always been that way. Let’s take a look at the evolution of native ads over the past year.

The Evolution of Native Ads

Native ads have come a long way since early 2013, when 50% of Sharethrough survey respondents claimed they planned to spend more money on native ads as the year progressed. Plus, the 20% of publishers that claimed they planned to add native advertising opportunities in 2013 have made good on their promise as well.

One example is Twitter. The microblogging network of choice just launched MoPub, a Twitter-owned mobile-advertising exchange that promises to take the promoted tweet to the next level for its mobile app publishers. These are just two examples that speak to the growing popularity of native ads.

The Native Advertising Landscape


Where Native Advertising Stands Now

As 2013 winds down, Sharethrough released another survey that shows where native advertising currently stands. It reveals that:

  • Consumers now look at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads
  • 25% more consumers look at in-feed native ad placements than display ad units
  • Compared to banner ads, native ads are 18% more likely to be clicked on with intent to purchase
  • Compared to banner ads, native ads are 9% more likely to be clicked on because of brand affinity
  • 32% of users claim that a native ad “is an ad I would share with a friend of family member,” while only 19% of users would share a display ad with someone


Why are Native Ads Working?

The easiest answer, experts say, is that people are tired of banner ads. The numbers back this up; just look at the statistics above, which reveal a greater intent to purchase when clicking on a native ad as opposed to a display ad. Consumers even claim to be more likely to share a native ad with a friend or relative. For any brand weighing its options for the 2014 advertising budget, that’s a powerful fact that warrants consideration.

The other reason may be because native ads are not considered “disruptive.” Unlike banner ads and other display ads, native ads are just part of the regular browsing experience when scrolling through a news feed.

A Word of Caution: Put Content Creation First

Still, no one is saying that native ads should be a brand’s top marketing priority for 2014. Content marketing is still the #1 method of generating shares and links, and these social signals help Google determine where to rank pages in search engine results.

Brands can use native ads to promote their content – but creating and perfecting content must come first. If your brand is in need of assistance with content creation, request a complimentary consultation with our advertising agency in Austin. We will be glad to help.


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