MarTechAsia Q&A on Native Advertising

Henry Shelley, Managing Director, APAC, TripleLift, shares with MartechAsia his insights on native advertising and its promises.

What is native advertising?

As their name suggests, native ads appear completely at home in their surroundings. Located within the editorial feed of publisher placements, they are seamlessly integrated with their environment, reflecting the look and feel of the web page, app or article they feature in. They can also be scaled across desktop, mobile web or mobile apps and can use the same attribution models that display campaigns rely on.

In short, native ads offer a smoother user experience by working with the content they appear in, rather than disrupting it. 

What are some of the alternative definitions of native advertising?

Native ad placements are often described as non-standard ad experiences, so they can be pretty varied and wide-ranging. In 2017, the IAB introduced guidelines to clarify different native ad types and how to identify them. These include:

    • In-feed native ads: appear naturally as you scroll through in-app or news feeds
    • In-article native ads: seamlessly embedded into articles
    • Peripheral native ads: appear adjacent to content, in the margins
    • Recommendation widget placements: sponsored content that appears at the end of an article
Henry Shelley, Managing Director, APAC, TripleLift

In-feed native generally fits most seamlessly within the editorial feed of premium publisher environments, earning consumer attention rather than disrupting it. Each native ad format varies aesthetically and can elicit different reactions from consumers. In-fee native generally fits most seamlessly within the editorial feed of premium publisher environments, earning consumer attention rather than disrupting it.

Some Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) have taken targeting a step ruther to allow advertisers to select exact page location and size through native placement type targeting. This allows buyers to understand what native placements are available and then select their desired native inventory within their DSP. 

For advertisers looking to have more control over their native placements, talk to your DSP of choice to see if they support this type of targeting.

How does native advertising work?

High-quality native advertising needs the right technology to ensure ads are perfectly replicated across thousands of publishers and placements. At TripleLift, sophisticated computer vision technology scans brands’ creative assets, making sure the most important aspects of each image are flawlessly scaled and rendered across all sites and devices in the best format. So, advertisers need just one set of quality creative assets; the technology does the rest.

How does native advertising benefit marketers?

Over half (59%) of consumers find native advertising interesting, and a third of consumers are more likely to trust native advertising than traditional display. This can lead to more positive perceptions for brands in the eyes of consumers, who are not irritated by their ads. It can also lead to positive campaign outcomes, as consumers are more likely to interact with ads they find interesting.

In addition, the real-time adaptation of brands’ creative assets means native ads seamlessly match every environment quickly and easily. This also means that ads will likely reach relevant audiences, in the right place at the right time.

This is great for publishers, too. They can monetise their inventory more effectively, safe in the knowledge their audiences are receiving relevant and quality ads, making for a more enjoyable user experience.

How is native advertising measured?

Native ads can be measured in the same way as traditional display ads; via click-through rates (CTR) or impressions, for example.

While a high CTR would suggest a native ad is relevant and interesting to audiences, subsequent behavioural metrics such as bounce rate or average session time may contradict this. For example, a user may quickly leave a page after linking through to it, indicating that the ad didn’t accurately portray the site or product. This often prompts a trial and error process of tweaking content to drive greater clicks and longer interaction times from consumers.

This can be particularly challenging when it comes to native video advertising, as it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moments that engage users. Attention metrics are therefore emerging as a viable way to measure audience engagement. For example, by using eye tracking technology, attention metrics can assess users’ eye movements to determine which areas draw the most focus, with the aim of boosting conversions and improving the user experience.

A TripleLift eye tracking study found branded video content led to a 38% higher brand recall than traditional video ads. We have also found that users are 25% more likely to view a native ad over a banner ad, with 179% more time spent on native.

What is the future of native advertising?

With the right technology and openness, marketers are set to achieve better results through relevant and seamless native ad placements. This equates to well-targeted, quality ads for advertisers and better monetisation opportunities for publishers, as well as an improved user experience.

Delivering on KPIs will only become increasingly more difficult when third-party cookies are further deprecated – the future requires smart and savvy targeting solutions. When advertisers are no longer able to rely on third-party cookies to target niche audiences, formats like In-feed Native, with high brand recall and awareness will be important to help brands stand out.

Advertisers who prioritise partners who offer a portfolio of first-party data solutions to connect with target audiences when paired with premium in-feed native formats will achieve better results. This not only equates to well-targeted, quality ads for advertisers, but also an improved user experience and better monetisation opportunities for publishers.