While native advertising and content marketing are beginning to garner budgets and rival standard digital display, brands often misalign native campaigns with marketing objectives, which potentially can backfire and destroy credibility.
Native ad spend is expected to triple from 2013 to 2015, according to a new study on branding and performance by Purch. However, for native advertising to be effective, the messaging should have claim over its environment, speak its own language, and ultimately, belong there.
“Native is most effective when it’s truly native,” said Mike Kisseberth, COO, Purch, Lincoln Ogden, UT.
“That means it’s served within the context of the user experience and follows the natural form and function of the site it’s on.”
While the findings aren’t mobile-specific, 62 percent of advertisers surveyed reported that they will incorporate mobile campaigns in 2014, which speaks to the untapped potential of mobile native, thus far.
New research commissioned by Purch examined native advertising and programmatic buying, two of the top trends in the advertising and marketing industry, defining their growth and identifying specific objectives and challenges for each.
The study was conducted in Q1 2014 among high level U.S. marketer and agency advertising decision makers, spending $1 million or more on digital advertising. The survey focused on their current use and future plans for native and sponsored content and programmatic digital advertising campaigns.
Though native spend is projected to triple by 2015, critical obstacles remain.
Insufficient reporting and ROI metrics at 46 percent are the biggest challenge to success, followed by misalignment between the campaign and marketing objectives, 38 percent; required time and resource commitment, 26 percent; and native programs being insufficiently turnkey, 24 percent.
Most marketers prefer native programs that live directly in the hosting site’s content well. According to Purch’s findings, 47 percent are extremely likely to execute in-feed sponsored content that is consumed in an editorial-like environment on the hosting site. Only 28 percent are extremely likely to use in-feed campaigns that link to an off-site landing page.
Ostensibly, brands are taking their ads further into someone else’s editorial environment. While this seems practical, it deviates from true nativity as the advertising knows what is not, but also cannot define what it truly is.
Since entering the realm of social networks, brands have struggled on formulating best practices in advertisement with publishers and platforms to create content that fits seamlessly into a social stream, rather than alongside it.
Native advertisement on social media began as a way to promote brand image without essentially saying the content was being paid for and disseminated by a brand. The initial intentions behind this were to camouflage messages with non-branded content to exact trust from consumers.