5 trends for native advertising in 2017

By | Content Marketing, Marketing, Native advertising, Technology, Videos

Having firmly established its place on media plans over the past year, content & native in-feed advertising accounted for an impressive 29% of display in 2016. So, what does the new year hold for native? Here’s 5 trends we’ll be keeping a close eye on:

Measurement, Measurement, Measurement

When someone as gigantic as Facebook struggles with metrics, the spotlight really falls on if a 3 second video view really is engagement, or simply someone scrolling past to consume more of the thing they were actually there for in the first place? There’s also been plenty of talk about moving away from obsessing over clicks, so perhaps 2017 will be the year when quality of engagement trumps sheer quantity.

Viewability remains a red hot topic

I’m sitting in a coffee shop writing this, having just purchased an Americano. Unsurprisingly it filled the cup. Had it only have been 70% full, I’d have asked why and certainly wouldn’t have paid full price. Remarkably, media agencies are still asking ‘how viewable’ our inventory is so they can price this in. We’ve always delivered native on a vCPM (a 100% viewable CPM) – others are moving towards a CPV or CPE (costs per view or engagement) – one thing is for sure though, the days of charging for unseen impressions must finally be coming to an end.

Trust becomes ever more important

In the new era of ‘fake news’ the credibility of brand content becomes increasingly important. Spammy headlines that lead to unrelated content are bad news for both the sites they appear on and the companies using them. Expect to see big brands becoming more cautious about placements and being seen alongside other campaigns with less credible clickbait creative.

Picture-perfect! The increasing use of visual formats

Video distribution has been one of the fastest growing areas of online advertising so it’s easy to forget the power of great photography. We’ve already worked with some great photo essays for brands. There’s also plenty of hype around 360 VR – our team has been experimenting with this on mobile and it looks fantastic – expect to see more.

Rejection of interruptive formats

Ad blocking continued to be the hot topic during the past year. It was hard to find anyone to disagree with the fact that the industry had brought this upon themselves by annoying the hell out of people – obscuring the content that audiences were there to consume. Many publishers are turning their backs on these formats realising that it creates massive UX issues.

Stay-on-site True Native is just one way to create a non-interruptive user experience whist maintaining revenues. If 2016 was the year of interruption, 2017 is definitely shaping up to be the year of usability and engagement. The two really do go hand in hand.

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How native advertising is set to dominate digital media

By | Native advertising, Technology, Uncategorized

Native advertising is predicted to make up over 50% the display media bought across Europe by 2020.

We may only be a few months in to 2016 but it’s already shaping up to be a breakthrough year for native advertising. A new report forecasts a massive €13.2 billion native ad spend around Europe by 2020 – spectacular growth of 156% compared to the €5.2 billion companies spent on native ads in 2015.

In Britain alone, the market was worth £1.2 billion last year. That figure is set to more than double to £2.8 billion by 2020, according to the study, carried out by Yahoo and Enders Analysis and unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The move to mobile

That’s sweet music to the ears of online publishers who are currently struggling against a number of advertising headwinds, most notably the marked trend among consumers away from the larger screens of laptops and PCs to the much smaller screens of mobile devices.

Display advertising is challenged on smaller screens, so native in-feed advertising makes far more sense from both viewabilty and user experience perspectives.

Opt-in advertising

Additionally, surveys are finding that consumers actually appreciate native as adding value, compared to blaring and brash display ads they’re not overly fond of – one reason fewer people are clicking them.

A true native execution is the ultimate ‘opt-in’ advertising and a world away from the intrusive splurges which shield entire homepages or launch a video that’s impossible to switch off. If the reader choses to engage with on-site, clearly labelled sponsored content, that’s exactly what they get.

The future is native

The new study found that native advertising will amount to 52% of all display advertising in European markets by 2020, and – reflecting the swing to mobile – native ads for mobile will soar from €1.5 billion last year to €8.8 billion in less than four years’ time.

So, it’s increasingly looking like publishers and advertisers are embracing a native future together, with everyone benefiting – even consumers!

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geo-targeting for native campaigns

Why you should be geo-targeting native campaigns

By | Native advertising, Technology

The days of blanket advertising in the hope of reaching as large an audience as possible so that a small, or even tiny, percentage of people might buy your products or services are quickly coming to an end.

That, of course, is for the physical world, while online, where the marketing dollars are increasingly being spent, it’s all about precision targeting and getting real and instant results.

The developing technologies that enable geo-targeting bring a laser-like focus to digital marketing and allow companies to individualise their campaigns to all their markets, so they have a local presence in them that serves to drastically boost their profits.

This highly localised form of targeting markets is based on a number of signals, from the IP address of a computer accessing a server to GPS, mobile and other data, such as Wi-Fi.

It’s these unique identifiers that inform server software where you are, and allow them to provide you with information relevant to the market you’re in. Every time you search for something on Google or any other search engine, for instance, that’s geo-targeting in action.

It’s incredibly effective because it gives results that users can use and business for companies in the area. You’re in London and search online for a great restaurant for an after-work party on Friday but the results page lists restaurants in New York? That’s not going to work, for any party.

Geo-targeting native campaigns

Now let’s mix geo-targeting with a method of advertising that’s really come into its own in recent times: native advertising. This online form of promotion has fast overtaken the traditional banner ad on websites as a way to attract audiences and generate new revenues, and for good reason.

People are clicking less on banner ads and paying them far less attention in general, and as a result the ad rates have been plummeting – bad for the business, bad for the publisher.

We know that, online, it’s all about the content – good content – because, after all, what do people do on the internet? They consume media, be it the printed word, pictures and other images or videos. So melding advertorial, as it was once known in the offline world, with online content has emerged as a sure-fire way for companies to engage audiences and gain additional sales. Plus, it provides marketers with more accuracy and detail in analysis and reporting.

Sharing the love

Like all kinds of digital marketing, you want the highest ROI as possible, and that means as few wasted clicks as possible. Just as with our search engine results for restaurants half a world away, there’s little point serving native advertising to people in markets where it’s irrelevant. It’s wasted impressions and must be eliminated.

Geo-targeting allows you to run different campaigns in different locations and vary your marketing message according to the area that you target.

67% of smartphone users want the ads displayed to them customised to their area, implying that matching the content you create for online to the visitor’s location can lead to viable business results.

You can easily achieve this by distributing your brand’s content through our native advertising platform. Content is placed within the relevant editorial sections and homepages of the UK’s most-loved publications, reaching your geo-targeted audience.

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Content creation

Why you can’t ignore native advertising on mobile

By | Native advertising, Technology

If there’s one thing marketers have to be very good at, it’s accepting change; because whatever we might like to think, it’s the markets that control us. As trusted advisers to those who employ us, the advertisers and brands, we have a duty to tell them that everything has just changed again.

The market no longer looks up it looks down.


Just a few years ago those people we want to target would be looking up at billboards, cinema screens, headlines and TVs. Now the research tells us we spend more time looking down at our mobile device than ever before. That is now the go to channel for answers and entertainment.

That shouldn’t surprise us because most of us now spend at least half our life actually in the virtual world rather than the physical world. Few jobs these days do not involve interaction with the internet in some form or another and increasing numbers find their entertainment and life partners there too.

Astronomic numbers

This year we have reached a milestone; today more people in the world access the internet via their mobile devices, phones and tablets, than any other device. According to US internet analytics specialists, comScore, accessing the internet via smartphones has increased by just a tad under 400% in the last five years and tablet access by a little over 1,790% in the same period.

Consider these stats from the same study: 13% of the total US population use their mobile device as their only internet access and, among those aged 18-24 years, 25% are mobile only. You don’t really need a statistician to realise that there is a bit of a trend happening here!

Native and mobile – the perfect partnership

Some advertisers seem still to be treating mobile devices as if they’re some sort of side show; but that not only goes against the message in the numbers it also misses a key differential in how we relate to the products in our lives.

While intrusive and disruptive display ads, banners and pop-ups may have worked pretty well on a desktop, they simply don’t cut it on mobile.  Screens are too small and users too savvy.

It’s not just about the size, it’s about the relationship between phone and person; it’s intimate, it’s their window to their other world, it’s their independence.

Native advertising has always been built around the understanding of the consumer, and native advertising on mobile meets the needs of both advertiser and consumer by respecting that differential and presenting content with non-interruptive execution.

Native advertising, by definition, mirrors the style and values of the site the reader has chosen to visit, so there is no clash between pure editorial and good quality. Because of this, native advertising on mobile results in a superior user experience, leading to greater engagement and consumer trust.

So just how much longer can you ignore it?

It’s time to discuss your opportunity to reach mobile audiences through native advertising, get in touch with one of our native advertising experts at TAN Media.

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Mobilising native content

By | Native advertising, Technology

Native content and the smart phone, like Anthony and Cleopatra, or gin and tonic; somehow they are just perfectly compatible with each other.

It starts with the realisation that size does matter; smart phones are the most incredible development but you can’t get away from the fact that interacting with the small screen can be a bit of a challenge. So when you’ve found some really interesting content; perhaps you’re on the train home feeling a bit crushed and looking for some light relief; the last thing you want is an aggressive banner add popping out of nowhere blocking the very paragraph you were reading.

The problem with display ads is that they’re incredibly invasive, but then they come from an era of marketing history when the only thing that mattered was that you grabbed attention in the nanosecond of window that you had to get noticed.

Today’s consumer is a very different beast, as different as the media they have available to them. Today’s consumer has grown up to expect to have what they want when they want it. Which means that if they want to watch a movie on the bus, that is exactly what they will do, because they have the technology to do it; and if they want to read an article on the stresses of being a celebrity in the jungle or the desperate plight of those made in Chelsea then, again, that is what they will do.

Advertisers who send in the banner bombs to disrupt and distract will win no friends in their target market and are in danger of creating negative brand loyalty, a sort of anti-matter for brand growth.

Now, native advertising wouldn’t dream of being that pushy. Instead it sits on the library shelf, side by side with the editorial content, waiting to be picked up and sampled along with the other worthy content. It is great for the publishers because they appear to be giving even more value for the cover price, it’s great for the advertiser because they get some quality time with their market, and it’s great for the consumer because they get to watch quality content designed to be good on the device they’re using.

This is an incredibly exciting time for native advertisers. The challenge of developing high quality relevant content in so many different media, to be viewed on so many different platforms, has quadrupled both the contextual and the spatial dynamics of creating and delivering the message.

Even the message has changed, no longer an ‘invitation to treat’, to use the legal parlance, the promotional message in the native genre is much more an invitation to engage, the start of a relationship.

With the technical capability available in the digital world to measure and evaluate we have entered a time when we will be judging ads by the strength of their engagement, which potentially could track through the lifetime of a customer relationship. Brands that could achieve, via native content, a relationship resembling that between a series like Radio 4’s ‘The Archers’ and its audience could be on to a winner. It worked with Martini and Gold Blend on the television – it’s just a matter of rethinking the boundaries.

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The secrets behind a successful native advertising campaign

By | Native advertising, Technology

As more and more publishers and advertisers are including native advertising in their current and future plans, we look into what makes a successful native advertising campaign.

The migration to the native format is made up of a reactive driver, perhaps best summarised with the headline ‘display advertising is dead!’; and the pro-active driver that ‘gets’ the fundamental proposition, that the best way to make a new brand friend is to understand, be useful and to entertain them.

So, let’s break each driver down and see what we can get from it, starting with the demise of the display ad. The problem with display ads in online media is that we’ve become far too clever technically. Banner blindness has arisen, where users ignore (consciously or subconsciously) banner like information on a screen.

Successful native advertising takes the view that if it meets you in a golf magazine, then you’re probably interested in golf so it talks about something in or around golf, which you read and enjoy because you’re interested in golf. Now, true native advertising does so in such a way that it is finely matched with the editorial content, as well researched, interesting and relevant.

Labelling the ad as what it is, a marketing communication, is essential; this isn’t about deception. But the label, if the native ads are good, will be a symbol of value. Part of the definition of a good brand will be that they produce brilliant sponsored content.

Compare that with TV ads; Christmas is nearly upon us and already we’re already debating which Christmas advert will be crowned champion. Over the years we have produced so many iconic commercials that are mini works of art in their own right, which make us all feel good about the brand and good about life.

So true native advertising in a nutshell? Clearly branded but with an intriguing headline. Beautifully crafted content, well researched and produced in such a way that it can hold its own. Barely disguised or recycled banner stuff with a passing nod to the publication just won’t cut it; this is made-to-measure, not off-the-peg.

Today’s advertiser is no longer impressed by counting clicks; today’s advertiser wants evidence of engagement, they want readers stuck to the content like the last few pages of a whodunit. Native advertising with its unique opportunity for interaction gives you just that.

TV advertising discovered that people watch TV to be entertained; so entertaining commercials worked. Bold native ads follow the same logic.

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Eyeballing the natives – Why mobile needs native advertising

By | Native advertising, Technology

In a world that is changing as fast as ours, where everyday technology makes real the stuff of adventure comics fifty years ago, we can only wonder at what lies ahead.

Those of us who marvelled at the ‘communicators’ of Star Trek, those little flip top devices that meant you could talk to anyone anywhere, probably have one of the old flip-top mobile phones in a box somewhere. The skies are full of drones piloted by people sitting thousands of miles away, reminiscent of the forces of General Gizmo, and the bionic scanners of the Terminator are surely just an app or two away with the arrival of the Google Glass.

But although it would take a very brave futurist to say that any technology is impossible, the restraining factor is, of course, the rather more slowly evolving human race itself. As far as advertising is concerned, it rather comes down to what the whacky chaps in the Royal Air Force used to refer to as the Mk 1 Eyeball; which, to be honest, hasn’t changed nearly as much as the stuff it looks at.

If we go back to our Star Trek inspired mobile for a moment, today’s ‘communicator’ does things that would make even Captain Kirk and Mr Spock gasp in incredulous wonderment. The smartphone is becoming (has become?) the very centre of our lives; our relationships are more digital than physical, our entertainment is on tap on the move, and even the one over-riding fear, that we might physically lose our phone and thus our virtual life, has been negated by ‘the cloud’ where we can store ourselves out of risk.

So, what has all of this got to do with native advertising, the exciting in-content advertising that is so rapidly making its mark? It comes back to the Mk 1 Eyeball and the size of the mobile screen. Banner ads really don’t work at many levels now but at the sub-laptop level they don’t physically work at all; and the more you make them flash, jump about or leap out of nowhere, the more you irritate the market you are trying to engage. Mobile needs native advertising.

Because native content sits as unobtrusively as possible within and alongside the published content, offering itself as an extension to, or a practical application of, the matters that have attracted the reader; there is none of the eye-straining conflict of ads trying to get noticed, like two year olds in a super-market.

The latest iPhone 6s are probably confirming that smartphones have gone as small as they can for comfortable vision, and the larger option suggests a bounce back to squint free viewing. But mobile, comfortably mobile, will be the certainty for the next few years; in other words, pocket sized and no more will be the upward constraint.

Native advertising and mobile communications are perfect partners; native offers comfortable communication while good native content is the bonus extra to editorial rather than, in the way of traditional advertising, the price of accessing it.

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Natives: just walking on the moon

By | Native advertising, Technology

As our understanding of the power native advertising grows, we are proving just what can be achieved when we really engage with our audience.

The moon landing at 02.56 am July 1969 (GMT) is probably the greatest event ever in the history of audience engagement, when the astronauts finally touched down, watched by 125 million people on TV.

With just 76 kilobytes of computer data (about the same as in the remote locking device for your car today), losing all contact with Earth at the last minute and landing manually with just 7 seconds of fuel left. That landing was a leap of faith that inspired a generation and restored a nation’s, if not the world’s, confidence.

Nothing inspires us more than heroes and their acts of heroism and we love to identify with them. Perhaps young guys need those heroes even more than most, needing to identify with role models and engage with their achievements, to find their own dreams. Whether astronaut, sports celebrity, rock god or business entrepreneur; our engagement with our heroes is one of the strongest connections we will ever feel.

Which is why ‘Thrillist’, the local lifestyle guide for young urban guys, hit the target big time in taking their client GE (General Electric) the native route to promote their ‘The Missions’ sneakers. After all GE had a lot to celebrate on the 45th anniversary of the epic event and this was an opportunity that couldn’t be wasted. GE made the rubber soles of the actual moon boots (they did many other parts for the mission, in fact they had over 6,000 people working on the project), but it was the astronauts’ boots that actually made contact with the moon and left those iconic and timeless footprints.

So why use native to get through to a bunch of young urban guys, the Thrillist audience, who weren’t even alive in 1969? Because the moon landing, close approaching half a century away, still resonates with young people, especially young males. Urban men look for icons and, in their time, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins were urban guys in their own way; driven by their heroes, the test pilots and sound-barrier breakers that went before them. No banner ads and witty headlines can reach across generations like that.

But let’s say a word too for GE, themselves no strangers to going where ‘no man has gone before’, to paraphrase Star Trek. GE have always been at the forefront of adopting new technologies, whether for production or for marketing; quickly exploring the new opportunities created by digital and it’s off-spring, the internet and social media.

GE’s wish to celebrate that event with a commemorative shoe could have been a naff campaign that belittled the event. Instead it was a celebratory and respectful use of the native approach that served to remind everyone what those three guys and the thousands backing them up in 1969 actually did. GE made a leap of faith to go native, not necessarily a giant leap for mankind, but certainly a giant leap for native advertising.

Those ‘The Missions’ shoes are now selling on e-bay for over two grand a pair; if that doesn’t convince you that native is the way forward to really engage with your market then you must be living on some other planet!

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Remember – always take gifts for the natives

By | Native advertising, Technology

The native advertising consumers that is; those people who are increasingly the lifeline that is holding our media world together. While giving things away won’t necessarily stop your sales figures getting scalped, a little goodwill gesture can help you to bond with your readers and hopefully to encourage them to engage.

Because engagement is the real problem; without engagement you can talk until you’re blue in the face and nothing gets heard, you can have the most amazing offer since the beginning of mankind, but if there’s no engagement with the audience then it’s just so much hot air passing over the heads of a disinterested and distracted market.

Anyone who has watched their techno-savvy youngsters managing to watch American food eating contests on the telly, while engrossed in a movie on their tablet which they are simultaneously discussing with their friends via Facebook on their mobile, knows that getting engagement isn’t going to get any easier in the short term. The advertising world, and that includes native advertising, has to realise that the window of opportunity to win the hearts and minds of the people out there has come down to nano-seconds.  Read More

Native integrity wins out in robot fraud war

By | Marketing, Native advertising, Technology

It’s a sad truism of the human state that no sooner do we create some amazing advancement of technology then someone comes along and develops an antidote to the benefit. Think computers followed by viruses, think credit card followed by cloning and identity theft; almost anything we’ve ever done has been compromised by the tendency for evil to follow good around like some kind of parasitic pariah.

Take real time bidding and advertising exchanges for example. Within one hundred milliseconds of someone accessing a web page, the system has identified their browsing habits, along with demographic and preference data, put the target up for auction and sold the ad space to an interested party for immediate exposure to that user.

Even if the thought of the real-you being so easily sold on is a little discomforting, you have to admit that the very fact that we can do that, in the mere blink of an eye, is pretty incredible. For the advertiser such targeting pushes up the click-through rate substantially, compared to more random exposure, which in turn has pushed up the pay-per-click rates to reflect the benefit.  Read More