Native And Mobile Social Growth Shows Brands Need To Be The Sandwich, Not The Wrapper

There are some big digital advertising figures out from the IAB today, such as the overall industry showing a 16.6 percent rise to hit GBP3.5bn in the first half of 2014. As you would imagine, mobile and video are touted as the major driving forces behind the growth. It's for good reason, because they clearly are.

However, one thing in particular -- and possibly two -- really leaped out at me from the figures. More than a fifth of the billion pounds that were spend on the UK's digital display during the first half of 2014 were allocated to native advertising. From seemingly nowhere, that is a massive leap.

The other statistic that caught my eye was social was social media growing 73 percent year-on-year, to GBP396m for H1 2014. Of that, more than half was spent on mobile social. That's aside from the fact that mobile's share of digital advertising has tripled in just two years to now account for a fifth of all digital display.

So a fifth of display, getting on for a quarter, is being spent on native -- and an additional fifth, which is growing massively, is spent on mobile. Within this, half of all mobile advertising on social media.

It always takes a while for advertising dollars to follow consumers' behaviour, but the rise of native and mobile -- and particularly social mobile -- is very rapid and appears to be picking up pace.

Given that the other poster child of these figures is a near 200 percent rise in online and mobile video advertising, there is a stark conclusion that simply cannot be avoided.

Advertisers are recalibrating. They are focussing where the attention is. Of course, this is nothing new. However, what it does signify is that the ad units dotted around the edges of Web sites are increasingly not being seen as where their attention is. Although digital display still dominates, the trend is to try to get inside the content -- to get within a social post -- to be within the video package someone is consuming. 

Inside is where you increasingly have to be now, not around the edges.

Advertising next to a piece about, say, super mini cars is okay -- but being within the article, or having your content linked to the article in some way as "you may also enjoy" feature. The same is true of needing to be a pre-roll to the video review of the cars or within the social media post that flags up the review. 

The digital marketing industry has known for quite some time that they are dealing in the attention economy, yet still the majority of money goes around the edges of this attention.

Well, with the rise of media consumption on mobile and video -- and often both -- it's no longer an option to be solely a wallflower hoping to get a tap on the shoulder and asked to dance. 

If the latest IAB research shows one thing, if nothing else, it's that the main action is on the dance floor -- and that's where you have to be.

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