In a recent blog discussing 2016 advertising trends, we mentioned the importance of native advertising in order to keep up with digital and mobile trends. While content marketing is nothing new, advertisers are using this tactic as a way to reach consumers more seamlessly.

Native advertising matches the design, style and behavior of the media in which it’s integrated. It comes in the format of written narratives, videos, infographics, images and many others–think promoted post on Facebook ad or an article in a publication sponsored by a restaurant.

Survey data says consumers generally have a positive attitude towards these kinds of ads, but they must stay relevant in order to be successful.

Since the use of ad-blocking software has risen 48% within a year, taking advantage of native advertising in 2016 might be a way to begin re-thinking the role of digital in campaigns.

Benefits of Native Advertising

Less Intrusive

Consumers are growing tired of seeing banner ads displayed on their device. 7 in 10 people prefer to learn about a company through an article versus a banner ad.

A great example of this is Buzzfeed (and no, this is not an ad placement!). Known for its humor and wittiness, Buzzfeed writes about hot topics in society while putting their own spin on it. Native ads are placed in the list of Buzzfeed’s top stories, fitting in effortlessly with other articles. The content in these sponsored articles is relevant and fits with the voice of other articles on the website, making it seem less and less like an ad.

Buzzfeed Example

Increase Brand Awareness

When Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” became popular, viewers grew more curious about women in prisons–statistics, demographics, locations, etc., you name it, people read it. “Orange is the New Black” was able to establish an emotional connection between viewers and the show by explaining the impact of incarcerating women in this New York Times article.

Netflix was able to increase their own brand awareness through this sponsored article by engaging consumers with a topic currently popular in society.

Netflix Example

Authenticity and Personalization

It’s much easier to connect with a brand when you feel like they understand you as a consumer. By taking a more personalized approach with native advertising, consumers don’t feel like someone is selling something to them, they feel more understood, being able to connect.

Going back to Buzzfeed as an example, “Game of Thrones” produced the quiz, ‘How Would You Die in a ‘Game of Thrones?’ as a native ad for HBO. By participating in the quiz you’re given a personalized result, making you feel like HBO and the “Game of Thrones” understands your personality, which allows you to connect with the show and feel a part of it. ­­

Game of Thrones Example

Because ad-blocking software is on the rise, advertisers are leaning towards options that provide a less disruptive advertising experience, which is why native advertising is growing.

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