Native advertising is the masked hero in the world of advertising technologies. Behind the mask is what many may describe as the pricey, digital and perhaps even direct descendant of the advertorial.
“It’s all about content. Native advertising is a non intrusive experience that engages viewers. This essentially means that the quality of content is the driving force behind it,” explained George Head, Sales Director, EMEA, Polar while speaking at ‘The Next Track’ hosted by SMG at Arab Net in Dubai last week.
In comparison to markets in the West, where native advertising is an accepted advertising medium, MENA is relatively new to this form. But the region is quickly catching up. According to Mr Head, “Native advertising should not be seen as an alternative for display. The best way is to make them work in harmony with each other.”
Native advertising emerged due to the declining rate of clicks on the traditional display ads. But marketers are still not convinced and that is where ‘native programmatic’ comes in. Simply described native programmatic is when advertisers buying placement on publisher pages, and backend technology renders the ads to look like the content of that page, essentially making the ad look like it belongs there. Mr Head pointed out, “Programmatic channels can definitely be used to extend reach of campaigns.”
Despite all the arguments on credibility, journalistic virtues, role of advertisers, robust publishers, the future of native advertising is incredibly promising. There are many stakeholders that stand to gain with the growth of native advertising. These include publishers, social media influencers, brands, and most importantly also, consumers because when executed well, native advertising can be appealing and useful to the consumer. As the players in native develop their technology, integration, formats and other capabilities, Mr Head advised, “Get creative; experiment and lead with content.”
Even as brands are convinced by native advertising, a question staring at them is how do they know they are getting their attempts at native advertising right. There are some points that can help to solve that challenge. Brands must ask themselves, who will be the best partner to work on their content? What are the needs of the publishers? Is the native advertisement “shareable”? and Will it reach new audience? A positive answer to some of these points is assurance enough that a brand is making the right moves in native advertising.