IAB Members Offer Native Advertising Predictions

More than 20 Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) members have offered native advertising predictions for 2017. The predictions come from members of the IAB’s Native Advertising/Content Committee.

Participating executives came from companies including AdYouLike, AOL, BBC Storyworks, Bidtellect, Centro, Flipboard, GumGum, IDG, InMobi, Lonely Planet, Meredith, Merkle, Pulsepoint, and Sharethrough.

Native Insider chose four highlights to share from the predictions:

Kayla Wilson, Head of Programmatic Partnerships, InMobi:

“We thought 2016 was going to be the year of in-app native buying, but DSPs [demand-side platforms] were quick to de-prioritize when they realized this year was actually all about their clients wanting in-app video.

Results from our recent programmatic survey sent to InMobi buyers showed that video will see the largest increases for in-app mobile spending, immediately followed by native for the remainder of this year. This means DSPs will need to prioritize supporting in-app native buying in order to allow their clients to run this demand.

With a large desire for mobile in-app video from buyers, we predict native display ad formats will also be used as native video placements, in order to extend video supply.”

Angelina Eng, VP Media Platforms & Ops, Merkle:

--Eng predicts increased spend by 2x to 3x in native advertising in 2017.
--Also to come: the ability to cross-device-target native ads.
--Clients will create more content for native ad experiences.
--Ad servers such as DoubleClick will be able to “ad-serve” native ads responsive within the ad server platform.
--Google Adx will be a prominent supplier of native ads.
--Animated/video native ads will be in demand by marketers.

Aaron Tabas, Director, BBC StoryWorks:

“The most important aspect of native content is that it effectively delivers on client goals and objectives. In order to do so, it must be accurately measured, flexible in format, and engaging, above all. In order to maximize engagement, native content must reach the right people, in the right environment, and create the desired emotional impact.

As such, I see the following trends for 2017:

--A continued focus on channel-specific content strategies—the same story told in multiple formats across Facebook (with no audio, text overlay); Instagram (highly visual and less than 60 seconds); Snapchat (vertical format).
--Increase in 360 video and virtual reality, as costs begin to decrease.
--Focus on greater content engagement and performance analytics for both publisher-owned and third-party platforms.
--Year-over-year increase in overall investment in native content.

Laura Brown, Senior Product Manager, Lonely Planet:

Measurement: The ROI of native advertising continues to be difficult to prove. Data benchmarks for success are hard to measure in any sort of context, and proving brand lift and real-life results are even more difficult without the help of time-intensive and expensive third-party surveys. Publishers are faced with the task of taking the available data and making it look compelling, but advertisers are increasingly seeing through this.

Scale: Publishers will struggle to provide organic scale to native content. In order to hit advertiser targets, traffic often has to be acquired through paid social or content discovery tools, which often dilutes the publisher’s unique audience. Additionally, how many pieces of native content can a publisher promote at any given time before they begin to cannibalize performance?

Integrity: Questions like these continue to be important: Where do you draw the line with advertisers in order to protect editorial integrity and also provide a branding opportunity for the advertiser? How do we create a native product that protects our publisher brand, when other publishers have less stringent guidelines for advertiser input?

Cost: Native is costly. Advertisers pay a high price and publishers have high overhead for content production and traffic acquisition. At the end of the day, the resulting piece of content can be beautifully written and integrated, and still not justify the expense -- at least, not in the sense that native is going to save the digital publishing ecosystem.

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