What does the future hold for native advertising?
The future of native advertising on news websites will depend on how advertisers and publishers continue to implement it.
I expect a bright future if all publishers clearly label their native ads and if advertisers always aim to provide content that is highly valuable to readers.
Over the past several years, native advertising practices have already become more professionalized at many news outlets. This is due in part to more research, dedicated content studios, and clear disclosure guidelines. That being said, there are also still many poorly-written, poorly-disclosed native advertisements on the web. Research shows that negative experiences with advertisements and deceptive advertising practices can damage readers’ perceptions of native ads in general.
To prevent negative predispositions toward native ads on the part of readers – and to maintain reader readiness, as it pertains to a willingness to click on native advertisements – we need to keep improving the quality of all native advertising. I believe that if advertisers and news media try to implement native ads in an ethical and valuable manner, readers will be open to native ads.
What are some industry changes we’ll see in the coming year?
Again, if I’m solely focusing on native ads on news platforms, I expect that more and more content studios will further develop into full-service agencies that help advertisers create various types of native ads for different types of platforms, not just the websites of the news publishers. I also expect that besides content creation services, other services such as providing audience insights and custom research, and broader content strategy services, will continue to grow (if advertisers are open to it).
What has surprised you – so far – about the development of the industry?
It is surprising to me that campaign evaluation reports are often still mainly focused on reach/clicks. I think that using quantitative reach/clicks as the most important metrics often leads to more clickbait native advertising campaigns.
I am happy to see that more recently, the metrics have finally started to change into ‘quality views’ (i.e. people who are spending at leads 15 seconds on the page) and focus more on ‘quality reach’ (i.e. using the data to see whether the right audience has been reached). In my opinion, quality over quantity is key to native advertising success.
What is great native?
I think that there are two key requirements for developing great native for news platforms.
- Use native advertising as part of a broader (content) strategy, do not post a one-off article that should directly increase sales. Especially news platforms are not suitable for such bottom-funnel content.
- Native ads need to be developed from a deep understanding of the readers’ needs and preferences, and news media and advertisers need to be willing to invest time and energy in truly understanding the readers.
What sorts of developments would you like to see in the future for native advertising?
I hope that the industry will conduct research more often, in order to develop the best native advertising practices. Native advertising is quickly developing and there are many types of news platforms and new native advertising formats. I believe that if all news website and advertisers test readers’ recognition and evaluations of native ads, to make sure readers are not being deceived and to tailor the native ads to readers’ preferences, it will drastically improve the likelihood that native ads are being welcomed by newsreaders.
What’s the secret to success in the industry?
Finding the right balance between advertisers’, newsreaders’ and news websites’ interests. And did I already mention research? ;-)
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s DAYS?
As a researcher, I’m absolutely curious about insights from research from practice. I also can’t wait to hear success cases from the industry. This might bring up news ideas for future academic studies on factors that can contribute to effective and sustainable implementation of native advertising on news websites.
Want to hear more from Simone Krouwer?
Join us at Native Advertising DAYS 2019, where Simone Krouwer will be giving a session on the implementation of native advertising on news websites, based off her own research. If you are an advertiser or publisher, this is a must-see!