native advertising

The rise of native advertising is a lot more than a fad or the latest shiny object on the digital landscape, as Marketing Land observes. It represents an important way to reach consumers at precisely the right time: when they are online and engaged in a specific topic.

Consumers Reject Traditional Advertising

Native advertising is a welcome change from traditional, force-fed advertising, which consumers have rejected for decades. This is at least part of the reason they bought TiVo, DVR and Netflix in droves. Consumers don’t want their entertainment interrupted by boring ads for trucks or mattresses instead of seeing what Sheldon will buy at the comic book store or the next couple to be booted off Dancing with the Stars.

Unless that ad is about getting a talking Spock action figure or dance lessons, most audiences will tune out ads, turn off the sound, go to the bathroom—anything but listen to someone drone on about torque and suspension.

Native Advertising Reaches Receptive Target Audiences

Native advertising appears at the right time and in the right place, just when a potential customer is online and paying attention to the screen. It’s the relevancy that helps them gain acceptance.

According to the International News Media Association (INMA), consumers are pretty good at blocking out what they don’t care about, even when they are online. Reporting on research from IDG Media Labs, INMA notes consumers will view native ads 52 percent more often than a banner ad. They also found that consumers will look at in-feed native ads (activity streams such as those that appear in Twitter or Facebook’s news feed) more often than banners, and more than one-third will share them—a priceless result. Marketing Land speculates that banner ads fail because they are so far off the activity stream and are not relevant to the content on the rest of the page.

In fact, there has been little, if any, pushback from consumers on native advertising. Those who visit news sites, don’t see the presence of native ads as cheapening a site’s credibility, Media Daily News reports.

Mobile Is a Natural Place for Native Ads

Business Intelligence argues that because streaming is particularly effective on mobile devices, native advertising is the only type of advertising that serves this medium. This isn’t quite the case because smartphone users have received text messages that advertise upcoming sales, special offers, coupons and giveaways. But, there is little question that native ads work very well, and advertisers are taking notice. Business Insider reports advertisers raised their mobile ad budgets by 83 percent last year.

So, why the laser-like focus on mobile? First, more people than ever use their smartphones to reach social media sites, states Nielsen data that says social media mobile apps went up by 37 percent in 2013. Almost half of all smartphone users visit social media sites every day through those devices. Second, new smartphone features and enhanced performance make it easier and more enjoyable to watch ads. Furthermore, their wireless hotspots get them quick Internet access, and they are much faster and lighter than desktops and laptops.