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My first encounter with a native ad was in 2009; it was the first sponsored post I ever saw. Although, for the life of me I can’t remember what it was, as an aspiring marketer, I recognized it was an effective way for a consumer to discover a new brand, a company to reach its target audience, and a publisher to monetize its content.
A year later, Mashable reached out to me to pitch me the opportunity of partnering on a “Sponsored Post Series”. For a cool $1500 per post (with a minimum commitment of 3 posts), you could have a branded short series of posts related to your industry. At the time, I was building an e-commerce menswear brand, so the three posts would have been positioned to engage fashion-conscious males.
Skeptical and short on a budget, my small startup and I decided not to pursue a Sponsored Post Series. Looking back, it seems that was a relative bargain. Now, sponsored posts on Mashable easily cost several thousand a piece. Although Mashable reached a smaller audience in 2010, there would have been tremendous potential to elevate any brand using sponsored posts which would have had lasting effects to this very day. Fortunately for us, we were still able to receive organic features and mentions on Mashable that helped grow sales.
Interestingly enough, Mashable wasn’t the only publisher to offer sponsored posts during that time.
These days, sponsored posts are now part of the larger, growing category that is native ads. Publishers, now with years of experience offering native advertising, are committed to this exciting form of advertising which promises to drive more revenue and engage more readers.
Since 2009, native ads have gone a long way. Here are 11 stats that prove native advertising is much better than the dreaded banner ad, and that it is here to stay.
- 70% of individuals want to learn about products through content rather than through traditional advertising.
- People view native ads 53% more than banner ads.
- Beeby Clark+Meyler led a native advertising campaign for GE which reached 5.1 million people and resulted in 416,000 clickthroughs — an astronomical >8% CTR.
- Compare that to traditional display ad CTRs, which have dropped from 9% in 2000 to 0.2% in 2012.
- 32% of consumers said they would share a native ad with friends and family vs 19% for banner ads.
- Viewers spend nearly the same amount of time reading editorial content and native ads — 1.2 seconds and 1 second, respectively.
- 57% of surveyed marketers measure engagement — time spent — when evaluating the effectiveness of native ad campaigns.
- Native advertising generates up to an 82% increase in brand lift.
- Native ads that include rich media boost conversion rates by up to 60%.
- Purchase intent is 53% higher with native ads.
- 57% of publishers have a dedicated editorial team to create content readers will care about, leaving publishers in full control, not brands, which ultimately benefits readers.
Bonus: 71% of publishers received no major complaints from readers for featuring native ads while 29% received minor backlash.
What does this mean for the future of native advertising?
We should all be optimistic about how native ads will impact consumers, brands and publishers. It’s time everyone started caring and put more effort into making this work.
Naturally, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Brands will need to increase their budgets and plan better campaigns. Publishers will need to better integrate native ads so the ads do not interrupt the reader experience and are honest, ethical and transparent. Consumers will need to warm up to the new form of advertising which is meant to be helpful and engaging.
We all need to do our part to ensure a great future for native advertising, otherwise native ads will become less effective than banner ads are today, and who knows what new form of advertising may swoop in after that.
Personally, I’d rather not know. I’ll take native ads over every other sort of ad any day of the week.
Are you an engineer interested in content marketing and native advertising? We want to hear from you.