Native advertising is a form of digital marketing that has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is a type of content that is designed to blend in with the surrounding environment, making it appear as if it is part of the original content. This type of advertising has been found to be effective in increasing engagement and purchase intent, but it can also be deceptive and unethical. In this article, we will explore the implications of native advertising and how it can be used to increase brand affinity and performance.
True native ads match the design, layout and experience of the environment they are presented in. This makes them more likely to engage and convert consumers than standard display ads. Studies have shown that consumers view native ads 53% more than display ads, and that they generate an 18% increase in purchase intent. Visual engagement with native ads is also found to be the same or slightly higher than original editorial content.
However, native advertising can also be deceptive and unethical. It takes advantage of more brain space when readers are presented with branded content in a highly organic and non-promotional way. This can come at the cost of promoting editorial content, as both real news and native ads compete for the reader's attention. Branded content created by an advertiser and uploaded to their YouTube channel is not considered native advertising.
Instead, it is defined as content that uses the format and style of digital content to promote a certain product or service. After publishers worked to manage demands for branded content production, they had to organize how native ads would actually occur. Researchers found that while participants believed that native advertising was necessary for the financial sustainability of the modern news model, professionals in the field generally considered it unethical. To measure the performance and sustainability (with higher renewal rates) of native campaigns, advertisers must overcome one of the most difficult challenges they face. Advertisers can use Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) to optimize their native campaigns.
SSPs select the winning bid based on metadata and instantly configure the native ad using a template design to fit the website or app. Native ads have performed particularly well for advertisers in the categories of pets, food and beverages, and family and parenting brands. Sarah McGrew co-leads the Civic Online Reasoning project at Stanford University and conducted a study on native advertising that looked at how high school students respond to this form of commercial content. The study found that while native advertising achieves exactly what it sets out to do, it can seem as reliable and well-informed as real news. The key to native advertising is that it is not disruptive: it exposes readers to advertising content without standing out like a sore finger. This study provides important research into the power of native advertising and best practices for publishers and advertisers to make their native ads work harder.
By understanding how consumers respond to native ads, advertisers can create campaigns that are effective in increasing brand affinity and performance.