What are the trends in native advertising and what can we expect in the future?

Native advertising is certainly one of the fastest growing channels of digital advertising. By 2022, it is expected to reach 170 million dollars in total global value and according to research by ADYOULIKE native ad spend is expected to increase by 372% from 2020 to 2025.

Published on 27.09.2021.

What are the trends in native advertising and what can we expect in the future?

A substantial part of native advertising relates to native advertising platforms, which are today successfully used both in the initial stages of digital campaigns for branding and awareness as well as the closing stages for direct sales. This kind of advertising presents the user with nonintrusive ads which naturally blend in with the environment of the website.

In comparison with 2017, when Linker had just started doing business in Croatia, sales of native advertising increased significantly. In the last year alone, the awareness of native advertising, as one of the channels used in the overall marketing funnel, reached levels virtually incomparable to any year before.

If what we’re considering is strictly limited to ongoing trends in Croatia and the surrounding region, we can with certainty say that the native mode of advertising is present in a great deal of media plans with continually increasing budgets. Advertisers across virtually every industry - retail, telco, hotel, FMCG, pharma, banking, gambling, e-comm – use native ad formats to present or promote their products and services, increase their sales or boost catalog views. Furthermore, native ads are used in new client acquisition or app download campaigns or simply to increase readership of advertisers’ blogs, native articles and projects as well as PR articles.

Moreover, in their natural course of digital evolution, advertising channels have undergone a transformation from more traditional display ads, GDN, and direct media buying towards programmatic and native advertising. In addition to that, they have become more diverse to fit a broader niche spectrum on the general market of digital advertising. Advertisers are no longer limiting themselves to static images but are employing video formats, interscrollers, and other interactive banners (3D cube) more often. In the sphere of native advertising, what seems to increasingly be coming to the foreground is storytelling and the environment in which the ads are being placed. 

In this article we are going to present 6 trends in native advertising that advertisers should pay attention to in 2022.

1. More programmatic
Differences in design and the overall aesthetic feel of native ads, stemming from different image dimensions and copy lengths between media, have been causing difficulties for publishers in the department of programmatic buying. However, as soon as the largest American native platforms and DSP (demand-side platform) players found common ground and connected via RTB (real-time bidding), nearly 90% of native ads in the US have been bought programmatically. Having in mind the percentage of native platform usage by way of programmatic buying in the USA, it is safe to anticipate that the same trend is going to take place in Croatia and the neighboring region as well. 

2. More mobile
In a report by eMarketer it is stated that 88,8% of native ads in the US will be delivered on mobile devices in comparison to 85,2% in 2018. On the other hand, the percentage of native ads on social media networks is showing a slow but steady drop from 76,7% in 2018 to 73,5% in 2020, and 2021 seems to follow that trend as well. 
Linker Native Platform is no exception in that case, recording as much as 85% of the overall traffic on mobile devices in comparison to 2020 when the ratio was around 75%.

3. Native video
Video is one of the most popular trends in the digital marketing industry. Today, native video as an advertising format is progressively more present on the news feeds of websites and social media in the US.
According to eMarketer’sforecast, native video ad spend is growing every year and it made up to 31,2% of the US native ad spend in 2020.

4. Interactive formats
GO-Gulf reported that 93% of marketers agreed that interactive content is effective in user education and bridging the gap between their brand and the users. What is more, 88% of them stated that interactive content is efficient in raising brand awareness and helping users differentiate their product from their competitors’.
Until recently, native ads in the US comprised of a simple combination of static images and titles but lately there has been an upsurge of formats with interactive elements, such as the Native Search solution for clients who have a web shop. Native Search enables the user to type in product keywords they want to search within the very native ad. When users enter the keywords and press the search button, they get redirected to the website with the search results on the advertiser’s web shop.

5. Content
Clients, i.e., readers of specific types of websites accept native advertising more positively and expect it to provide them with valuable information.
According to research conducted by Time Inc, close to 90% of younger internet audience (Gen Z, millennials, and gen X) prefer personalized content, including native ads, to traditional forms of advertising. Around 93% of the audience said that they appreciate brands that invest at least some amount of effort into creating something unique to draw their attention. More than 56% of the audience said that they prefer brands that communicate value rather than trying to aggressively sell their product.
Therefore, landing pages to which users will be led after having clicked on native ads have to be content oriented and display valuable information about the product and/or service they are advertising but also explain how the product is used or can benefit the user.

6. Storytelling and ad position
The website on which users can see your ads is also an important aspect of advertising you should take into consideration.
As previously mentioned, the percentage of native ads on social media is steadily decreasing and it seems that an increasing amount of advertisers are giving priority to context while considering it more efficient to position their native ads only on premium media.

According to Outbrain’s research, ads displayed on premium news sites have a significantly greater chance to be trusted (+44%), clicked on (21%) or result in action/purchase (+24%) than advertising shown on social media platforms.

A considerable amount of research shows that native advertising displays greater levels of trust among consumers. There is a 33% greater chance that the user will trust a native ad more than a traditional ad format and that the click on a native ad on a premium website will have greater significance for the brand from the click on traditional display channels.
That trend also relates to the environment of native ad campaigns. In the last year only, there are more and more advertisers who choose media that will display their ads because sponsored content on premium media gives more credibility to their products/services.  

Linker Media can say with confidence that it is proud of the network it has built in Croatia. With more than 50 news media websites in the network mostly all of them are premium news portals in Croatia; Jutarnji list, Večernji list, dnevnik.hr, tportal.hr, N1, Poslovni dnevnik and so on. Besides the big premium websites there is a great deal of regional but also specialized premium websites which contribute to the promotion of products and services while targeting specific types of audiences.
 
Due to the stated diversity of media in the Linker Media network, targeting categories include location, interest, device type, and period of the day, which, when combined with A/B creative testing, allow the native story to reach engaged and, therefore, high-quality users.

In conclusion…
The key to a successful native campaign is creating high-quality content and accurately delivering it to an exact audience in the right kind of environment and in just the right way.

Apart from Croatia, Linker network is present in South East Europe; Slovenia, B&H, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria, which makes it the leading native platform in the SEE region.

LINKER platform enables you to tell a story in a safe environment consisting of premium media in an unusual and interesting way which will at the same time attract the right audience and precisely narrate your brand’s story. Our focus is aimed at premium media across all markets so that your ad can be positioned in a brand-safe environment. In addition to standard ad formats, we also developed a storytelling format and a special e-comm widget designed to promote products from your web shop.

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