The Future Of Native Advertising

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Adaptly CEO, Nikhil Sethi, chats about the existing state of native advertising, with perspectives on whats working and whats not, and what it will take to succeed amidst the constantly shifting world of digital media.

There’s huge excitement in the digital publishing world around native advertising and a lot of new marketing dollars being spent on platforms that can deliver unique experiences for their users – all of which do not conform to the media formats of the industry’s self-imposed ad standards.

Here’s a look at what we are focused on right now and how Adaptly is thinking about this new era of digital marketing.

What are some of the best examples of effective native advertising?

One of the simplest yet most effective forms of native advertising is the feed based advertising unit. Facebook and Twitter have truly pioneered this feed based format, and due to a fundamental belief that advertising experiences on their platforms should conform to the user experience – not the other way around – they have unlocked one of the most impactful forms of advertising. This approach has perhaps had the biggest impact on mobile media and marketing, and the feed based native ad has almost singlehandedly provided the mobile advertising industry with a leapfrog monetization experience versus traditional mobile ad experiences.

How should publishers, advertisers and agencies measure the performance of these feed based ads?

The exciting thing is that we are now at a point where virtually any marketing objective can be measured against Facebook and Twitter feed based ads. In addition to many of the traditional digital metrics like click-throughs and engagement, these platforms enable classic business metrics to be analyzed since they can match unique identifiers for each user who has been exposed to an ad. We measure KPI’s like reach & frequency, brand lift, and even sales lift – both online and offline.

What are the biggest challenges that advertisers and publishers face with native advertising? How can they overcome these challenges?

Traditional digital media publishers face a few challenges. If a publisher is developing custom content (one flavor of native advertising) then they can have issues achieving large scale. And while it is true that custom content can deliver huge impact, general consumer brands need to reach large audiences at cost effective prices. Another challenge with custom content is finding the right balance between editorial standards and the marketer’s message. Obviously, it is important to clearly label any paid content as such, since the objective of native advertising is not to trick consumers, but rather to deliver a more seamless, natural experience.

Then how can major brands and publishers scale their native advertising efforts?

Autonomous marketing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube offer the perfect combination of scale and format. These ecosystems reach billions of users globally, and the majority of the advertising opportunities are native to their environments. Plus, they offer all of the most sophisticated forms of targeting available today so marketers need not sacrifice precision for reach.

Whats next for native advertising? What should publishers, advertisers and agencies be thinking about this year?

Content sharing and “social” platforms will evolve and these publishers will continue to offer exciting new ways to integrate advertising. But perhaps the most exciting new opportunity is in the mobile messaging space, where both consumers and brands are creating, interacting, and chatting in an entirely new way. To be sure, it is early days for advertising on mobile messaging apps, but platforms like Kik and Shapchat have already begun testing some interesting brand integrations, with very promising results.

We’re headed to SXSW next week to continue this conversation on Native Advertising and more. If you’re planning to be there, we’d love to say hello!