According to the study, advertisers use native strategy to achieve many of the same goals as traditional content marketing. Seventy-one percent of advertisers surveyed said branding was a main objective of their native campaigns—sales and conversions were close behind, with 65 percent placing a high priority on that goal.
Overall, the study concluded that as advertisers focus on campaign performance and the growth of their brand through their marketing strategy, they are warming up quickly to native content as well as the programmatic buying of digital ads.
“The takeaway for digital content providers is that to stay ahead of the curve, you must find ways to customize and innovate on both of these offerings to achieve, and exceed, the branding and performance metrics put forth by advertisers,” said Purch Chief Risk Officer Mike Kisseberth.
Among the research’s most significant findings was the way advertisers prefer to incorporate native campaigns. Forty-seven percent prefer to have native content that lives within a hosting site as in-feed sponsored content, similar to how sponsored advertising appears within a Facebook News Feed. For native campaigns that redirect users to an off-site landing page, adoption is much lower—only 28 percent said they were likely to take this approach.
Given the rapid evolution of marketing and advertising on the digital front, most advertisers aren’t concerned that native advertising is not currently enabled on most programmatic platforms. They anticipate that those platforms will adapt their services in the near future. Forty-two percent of advertisers expect those platforms to launch a large-scale adoption of native ad programs within six months, and 79 percent expect those opportunities to come within 12 months.
The biggest challenges to greater native adoption, according to Purch, are the insufficient reporting and return on investment metrics attached to native ads. Forty-six percent of respondents were concerned about the poor analytics opportunities regarding native campaigns. Misalignment between marketing objectives and individual campaign goals was cited as a concern by 38 percent of advertisers, and 26 percent remain leery of the time and resource commitment of native campaigns.
Despite these obstacles, advertisers generally believe that native content will overcome challenges and deliver impressive results for brands that take advantage of this opportunity. Purch’s study largely confirms the results of another recent survey conducted by Cxense, which identified industry optimism toward digital revenues as a whole and native ad returns in particular. Sixty-three percent of respondents to the Cxense study said ad sales would be the primary driver of increasing digital revenues.
As native content continues to blur the line between organic and sponsored content, it remains a great opportunity for brands seeking greater visibility and brand recognition. Native ads are pushing forward the evolution of digital marketing at a macro level, but as recent research shows, it is also offering tangible benefits to business and brands—along with a lot of opportunity for growth.
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