Can Native Advertising Scale?

At this moment, native advertising only accounts for 5% of digital ad spend, although from the amount of ink it’s gotten and its prominence on conference agendas you’d have thought it was much more.  Native maybe small, however, since 90% of publishers have decided either to use it or at least to try it, this will only be the beginning.

First of all, there are two kinds of native: the first consists of ads that fit into the feed of Facebook or a news site. This is core native or infeed. These ads look like ads, and they may be blocked by ad blockers.

The second is content that is appropriate for the publication but is written by or paid for by the brand. This is more difficult to identify as an ad so more difficult to block. But it is also more difficult to measure

There are also two kinds of advertising: performance and brand. Before the days of ad tech with its focus on measurement, performance advertising was the wicked stepchild of advertising — measurable, yes, but somewhat sleazy with its moniker of junk mail. Brand advertising, with its high concept creative and huge budgets was the fair-haired child: not easily measurable but it worked.

Then came ad tech and brand advertising went right down the drain. The terrible metric of CTR ruined the brands confidence in using online advertising. Now, with native, brands realize they need to be “thought leaders,” and advertising is merging into “content marketing.” Brands are again believing that they can reach consumers and win them over slowly and consistently.

So if we are going to use native widely we are going to have to find a way to re-define what’s meant by a successful campaign. We are going to have to up the quality of creative, both visual and written, and start measuring for further in the future than purchase tomorrow. Like old time brand advertisers, we are going to have to measure for trends, forgo immediate gratification, and stop asking that less of the ad spend be “wasted.” What’s truly wasteful is not using native. Not using native is missing the opportunity to reach high quality consumers and explain in long form and in gripping fashion why your product is good for them.

ZINC does sell native innovations on our secure end-to-end platform.  They run through our private exchange and only appear on premium, brand-safe sites. So we offer scale, and it is SAFE, TRANSPARENT AND QUALITY scale – perfect for brands raising the profile of a product or feature.