WNIP sat down with Ally Stuart, Strategy Director at native advertising SSP Sharethrough to discuss developments in native advertising as we enter a new year.
How can brands ensure the value of each impression in native?
It’s all about understanding that people interact with in-feed native ads differently to traditional display. They read native ad headlines, even if they don’t go on to click on the ad, and that makes every (viewable) impression an opportunity to create brand impact.
A recent Sharethrough study showed 39% of people searched a brand online after reading a native ad headline and 44% visited a brand website or social media page.
Brands need to optimise their native creative towards their marketing objectives; rather than optimising their headlines for clicks alone, it’s about imparting an idea at that moment of impression with straightforward human headlines rather than clickbait.
Which brands would you say are exemplary examples of mobile native?
Sharethrough works with around 250 publishers across over 1,100 of their sites – and more than three quarters of the impressions served through the Sharethrough Exchange are on mobile devices.
These are all innovative publishers who are adapting to the new user experience of the mobile phone and building business models more supportive of non-interruptive ad experiences. This ranges from some of the biggest names in traditional media, like a Rolling Stone, Sky Media, or Time Inc., to newer, native-first media brands that have come about in the digital era, like TasteMade, Gear Patrol or Thought Catalog.
Do you think brands fully understand the potential impact of mobile native? What would be your top tips?
People have a completely different relationship with their phones compared to any previous piece of technology. There’s an intimate connection between person and device, and that new intimacy means that brands have to be more considered in their approach.
On mobile, when advertising arrives in unexpected formats at inopportune times, it is unwelcome. This produces anger and distrust. But conversely, when advertising arrives as expected and is respectfully integrated, it is perceived as part of the user experience and produces real, meaningful attention.
This is the true impact and potential of native – the chance to build a sustainable advertising ecosystem for mobile that benefits all parties: publishers, users and brands.
Which role does video play in mobile native?
A large and increasingly important role. By 2020, it is estimated that 77 percent of all mobile traffic will be from video.
More video is watched than ever before on mobile devices, especially by young consumers who use it more frequently than TV. Emerging generations are using their phones as their main online access point, spending their time scrolling through feeds of content and consuming an increasing amount of video. This new feed mindset has brought with it a new video experience, pioneered by closed social platforms and translated to the open web, silently autoplaying video, running alongside headlines, designed to be consumed in-feed.
The combination of the visual component, the accompanying headline, and the autoplay experience, have made mobile native video a huge opportunity for advertisers. Even short form video can drive huge brand impact – with a recent study from Facebook found that the vast majority of ad recall, awareness and purchase intent took place within the first 7 seconds of a native video ad.
What does your recent announcement on the Millward Brown partnership mean for the industry?
As I mentioned, at Sharethrough we believe there’s huge value in someone reading a native headline. However, previously it’s been hard for brands to optimise native campaigns towards that value and attention, instead often relying on proxy metrics like click through rate.
Our recent partnership with Millward Brown allows native campaigns to be optimised in real time based on their true brand impact. Native ads are made up of dynamic, changeable parts, and brands should be able to optimise creative while it still matters, instead of waiting for next year’s campaign. The new suite of tools allow brands to assess the real value of each impression: how memorable their ads were, whether they made someone more likely to buy a product and whether their ads made people feel more favorably toward their company.
What can we expect to see from mobile native in 2017?
Smartphones are becoming the primary access point for the Internet and Native advertising is the only ad format that feels appropriate on smartphones. None of the major new media brands of the iPhone era make money off display advertising. Feeds are the predominant design paradigm of the mobile web, in-feed native is the only format that will work. In 2017, this dominance will only grow and continue to deepen.
More specifically, we think that in-feed native video will establish itself as a premium video category for mobile in 2017. We’ve seen an explosion in video watching on mobile, and an overall increase in liquidity in the native video market. With the pipes being connected for native video to be traded programmatically, this whole area will be huge in 2017.