Digital advertising is akin to a carpenter’s toolbox. Each tool in the box serves a different purpose and was made to accomplish a specific task. Similarly, native advertising, or sponsored content, is a marketing tool that marketers can use as a complement to other forms of digital advertising to achieve a specific purpose.
Forrester defines native advertising as: Any form of paid or sponsored content that directly and transparently contributes to the experience of the site or platform where it appears by aligning with the format, context, or purpose of that site or platform’s editorial content page.
While Asia Pacific marketers have yet to invest in native advertising in a big way, native advertising provides them with an additional avenue to better engage with customers and win their preference. Native advertising is more engaging than display advertising and is also showing early success on consumers’ mobile screens. For example, content marketer Contently saw a clear 10% rise in brand opinion among its engaged subscribers, while Virgin Mobile USA claimed that native ads led to a 200% uplift in the likelihood to consider its brand. Taboola, Virool, and Skyword are examples of companies that can help marketers drive discovery of their content and improve engagement. I discuss how marketers can work with them in my latest report.
A word of caution: Consumers can easily sniff out digital advertising from genuine content. Marketers and content publishers can get stung by a loss of consumer trust if they are not up front about differentiating editorial content from native ads and fail to deliver engaging, valuable content. Hence, marketers should be judicious about the type of content they publish and the value it brings to their target audience. As long as it enhances the overall experience of users, it will achieve its aim of driving brand engagement. Just ask Red Bull!