A little over a year ago, native advertising was still relatively new to most marketers and the future of mobile native was unknown to many. It was so new, in fact, that we felt it worthwhile to set out in a post what exactly we believed mobile native advertising to be as the terminology was still unclear enough to require clarification.
Fast forward to today though and native advertising is a seriously big deal. The success of native advertising in powering revenue growth on mobile and desktop has helped wake up marketers to the concept, with 60% of respondents to an e-marketer survey in April 2015 claiming they understood clearly what native was.
But with only 36% of all respondents to that survey saying they had actually used native advertising, there’s clearly plenty of room for growth in the sector. But what exactly does the future hold for mobile native advertising? Here are four of our thoughts on what you can come to expect from the sector.
Increasing Trust Amongst Consumers and Marketers
Despite native making a real breakthrough in the past year, the issue of trust remains an obstacle for the sector to cross to fully convince consumers and marketers of its worth.
In theory, it’s well placed to do that. On the one hand, the framework necessary for successful native advertising to flourish across all digital disciplines lies on a conceptual base that relies on a positive user experience – which is eminently pro consumer. And, on the other hand, marketers are increasingly seeing stronger returns from native advertising across the board – making it likelier for trust from a purchasing perspective to help.
But overcoming what may be called the “John Oliver Problem”, where mobile native advertising is seen as a way of smuggling advertising to unsuspecting users, will be one of the major things that native advertisers will seek to solve in the near future.
Already, steps are being taken to assuage consumer concerns via the language used to label native advertising, with straight up terms such as “sponsored” and “sponsored advertising” increasingly used by marketers instead of more oblique terms like “branded content”.
And for marketers, their concerns are likely to be resolved by the increasing prevalence of native advertising expertise. With 29% of agencies, brands and publishers hesitant to use mobile native advertising because of a lack of expert insight and 26% a lack of data on effectiveness, the continuing success of the native framework should lead to talent spreading more widely and success stories inspiring more mobile marketers to dip into the native waters.
Budgets on the Increase
As with CPI in the broader app economy, native advertising budgets are predicted to increase. In the US, native advertising spend is predicted to increase 6.7% by the end of 2015 and to have grown by 15.0% by 2020 and there’s little reason to doubt native’s growth trajectory.
That’s the case for two reasons. First, there will likely be more marketers spending on native across the overall economy. A survey in e-marketer found that nearly 50% of marketers it questioned across industries thought that both health and retail could benefit strongly from native advertising; only placing them behind entertainment and mobile apps as the chief potential beneficiaries of the native expansion.
Second, the increasing prestige and prevalence of native advertising is likely to drive costs up further. As Business Insider pointed out in a recent piece, examining the projected growth in overall native spend, the effectiveness of the format combined to the prestige of channels like Buzzfeed and the New York Times running native adverts will drive budgets higher across the board.
It might be classical economics, but it’s still worth making sure you aren’t caught out by a likely increase in native advertising spend.
New Social Channels to Open Up
One of the other key findings from the Business Insider report is the importance of social platforms to the future of native advertising. Facebook’s multi billion-dollar growth is the obvious example, but it is clear that other social platforms which boast large audiences and detailed targeting capabilities could be poised to push native growth to the next level.
On the one hand, established social networks are beginning to catch up with Facebook’s early success. Instagram is piggy backing Facebook’s API to power their image led native advertising which, according to recent research, could earn them over $595m in 2015 alone; Pinterest’s Apple backed app pins could open up a new relationship between native adverts and app store gatekeepers; Snapchat advertising content is still in its early stages, but it is reported to be generating eCPMs of $100.
So established social players are making their native plays. What could prove to be even more interesting are those yet to get involved. The likes of Periscope and Vine both have potential to become native advertising platforms but currently lack a product. The growth of these networks, and the potential for other players to emerge in the market, could help drive further growth in native advertising as a whole.
Finally, continued automation in the mobile native advertising sector is likely to be an essential condition for growth for a number of reasons.
The first will be in solving problems from the demand side of the native advertising market. Automation and, in particular, the creation of dashboards that continue to help marketers quickly and easily run native campaigns will be essential in helping bridge the short term knowledge gap that holds many back from native – 53% of marketers, according to e-marketer.
The second will be the role automation will play in helping to continue to match the right audience with the right content. The evolution of Twitter’s analytics tools to help the company accurately target the right users without increasing the amount of information users need to give is one such example of automation improving user targeting.
Third and finally, automation will support the distribution of native advertising across the industry. As demand grows for native advertising, inventory pressure will need to be relieved by automation efforts that will help serve more adverts, more effectively to more users.
And while automation might be one of the least glamorous of these trends, it is nevertheless the vital underpinning that’ll allow the content heavy nature of native creative to continue to scale in the coming years.BACK