5 Predictions for Native Advertising in 2015

  1. Wide spread adoption – It is already clear that native advertising has grown tremendously in the last couple of years and is likely to continue growing throughout 2015. As traditional display ads struggles with CTRs, more advertisers are moving their budgets to native advertising, where they can reach out to their audiences and connect with them in a much deeper manner.
  2. Integral part of the advertising eco-system – Despite its tremendous growth, its clear that native advertising has not reached critical mass yet. The main reason is that native advertising players, such as Outbrain and Taboola, are currently offering their own closed networks. Although these networks offer value to advertisers and publishers, the advertising market comprises a huge eco-system of network players, such as ad-networks and ad-exchanges, which cannot participate in such closed networks. In 2015 we will see this advertising eco-system making substantial moves into the native ads space. The IAB is already hosting important discussions with industry players to figure out how to create industry standards that will allow native advertising to become an integral part of this thriving eco-system.
  3. More types of ad-units – traditionally native advertising was offered in the form of content recommendations, which appeared in a content recommendations widget at the bottom of a news article. The IAB has since published its native advertising playbook, listing 6 standard types of native ad units, including a variety of In-feed ads, In-ad with native elements, recommendation widgets, paid search units, and more. In 2015 we will see how these multiple formats play a larger role in the native advertising field.
  4. Programmatic open platforms – this is probably the most important trend for native advertising. In a recent article on MakeGood.com, Joe Pych argued that “…until creative production and media buying systems adapt to native advertising, it will be difficult to justify large media investments because of the high transactional costs involved in securing the inventory.” In other words, native advertising has to become open and standardized, allowing “hands-free” purchasing and placement of ads across different networks. This means that technology vendors in this market should not only offer a native advertising network, but rather a native advertising platform that is open and allows various market players to build their own networks which eventually will be interoperable between each other. Historically this is exactly what took place in the traditional display ad space and this year I think will start to find its way into the native advertising market.
  5. Mobile – today it is clear that mobile devices are taking center stage in world wide media consumption. In some countries mobile content consumption has even surpassed the 50% mark. Yet in terms of advertising, mobile poses unique challenges that have to be addressed in a different way. The small screen sizes in mobile devices mean that there is less available “real-estate” for advertising, and consequently less revenue opportunities for publishers. Advertisers are also challenged by these screen sizes as there is a natural trade-off between effectiveness and intrusiveness. Native advertising offers an optimal balance between effectiveness and intrusiveness. However, it is clear that merely using native ads formats that were designed for desktops/web on mobile devices will not maximize its potential. In 2015 we will see more of these mobile-specific native ads as well as brand awareness advertising that leverages the native ads user experience.
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