eMarketer Archives - Tan Media

Yahoo’s native endorsement

By | Native advertising

Little more than a year ago, the native ad industry was growing but there was not much performance data to support the native growth forecasts. Today, that has all changed and few advertisers or publishers are coming forward to dispute that the native advertising format is going to be a mainstream choice for budget allocation in the future.

Yahoo’s big data

The latest data from Yahoo shows just how large a chunk of ad revenue is going the native route. Of more importance is their data on the effectiveness of that native ad spend; the Gemini platform is open to both mobile search and in-stream native display opportunities and they say quite categorically that native far outperforms the more conventional display ads.

From their most recent consumer research work, Yahoo give us some encouraging top line insights; for example, 60% of consumer respondents ‘feel positive’ about native ads which, given the general scepticism often expressed by consumers about advertising in general, is a pretty amazing result.

Perhaps the most fundamental insight though, is Yahoo’s assertion that the more transparent the source and purpose of the native material, the more effective it appears to be. Once again, this sends a very clear message to those who see the native format as devious and dishonest: native doesn’t need to be underhanded to work and disreputable content simply won’t work.

Key results from the Yahoo study show that in advertiser site view-through, the percentage lift for in-stream material was 181% against 47% for normal industry display – or a factor of 3.9 times. For branded search activity, the lift for in-stream material was 204%, as opposed to only 56% for normal display. These aren’t just big percentages on a small base either; eMarketer, one of the industry’s leading forecasters, are suggesting that, in the US alone, native will command around $5 billion by 2017.

Not surprisingly, given this sort of data, more that 80% of advertisers are planning to commit to native content, giving native the highest growth prediction – some 13%, according to the Native Advertising Report “Advertiser Perceptions 2014”.

Digital mobility

One of the biggest growth areas is in the mobile platforms, with smartphones and tablets now accounting for the majority of all online searches. Invasive display ads are particularly annoying for consumers on the smaller formats as they interfere with (and often overlay) the searched content. Because native is woven contextually alongside the editorial content, providing both relevance and a next-step opportunity, it is not in a distracting and adversarial relationship with the host content.

The consumer is likely to be consciously cycling between editorial and native content, gathering value from both on the journey without the constant focal changes that dynamic digital display approaches can force.

For advertisers, the media landscape has developed dramatically in the last 20 years, with more options appearing every month; what seems certain though, is that the native format is now a fundamental choice for future marcomms.

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Getting the measure of native advertising

By | Native advertising

It’s quite extraordinary when a new marketing approach needs a new system of measurement to be able to forecast its potential, but the evolution of native advertising is doing exactly that. In 2012, native ad spend in the US was $1.6bn; 2014 is expected to top $2.85bn and few commentators are arguing with eMarketer’s prediction for 2017 of $5bn. Not a figure snatched out of the air but the result of talking to agencies and marketers about their future plans.

Research by FaR in the UK, confirmed that 83% of UK agencies are already making native commitments on behalf of their clients, and the remaining 17% stated that they were going to in the near future. Currently, sponsored or native content is grabbing some 9.2% of the total display ad budget, but a recent panel of media agency directors suggested that they were increasing that to 15% in their 2015 business models.

So, in both the UK and the US, the native format will be on the shelves of all the leading ad agencies; meaning that more and more marketers are likely to be influenced to try, driven by both growing reputation and growing availability. But while that accounts for the volume, what about the quality implicit in that reputation?

Well, here too the statistics tell an amazing tale. Research by IPG found that engagement with native ads by consumers was 53% greater than for display ads, with 32% of those respondents would share that native content with people they knew would be interested.

Such success needs to be rewarded, but it needs to be rewarded in a way that truly reflects its value to the marketer. At the core of the native offer is that engagement with the consumer is greatly improved over traditional display ads.

Metric tools to date have relied on CPC, a fairly blunt measure of whether you’ve caught the consumer’s attention, and the more informative CPM, a good measure of dwell time or the stickiness of the content.

At the moment CPC and CPM are the two measures available on Google Analytics, but the sheer success of native content demands we look for another level. If the claim for native is one of consumer engagement then that is what we have to aim to measure.

Native is a particularly good format to bury opportunities to engage throughout the content, whether in the form of video, games or access to relevant sub-content. Consumer response to each of these opportunities is a pretty good indicator of how robust engagement is throughout the content.

The data coming out of these measures not only helps to build the success of native content, but also helps us to improve the quality of the content we offer. It’s a win-win development; but then that’s the story of native advertising.

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