The Master Report: The Smart Local talks about going native in the red dot

 This was a sponsored post by The Smart Local under the Master Report series. 

In the advent of ad blocking, marketers are looking towards putting out the most relevant content to reach the audiences they need for their business objectives. However, the ways of doing so can be numerous. Enter native advertising.

According to James Thompson, an Outbrain contributor, native advertising differs from content marketing, and is often confused with the latter. In an article first published on the Outbrain blog, he describes native advertising as “going on a date" while content marketing is seen as "being in a relationship" with your consumers. The latter is designed to build trust and demonstrate a brand’s capabilities – without the sales pitch. However, native advertising is all about the sell. He added on the Outbrain website that highly targeted, native advertising allows brands to “wine and dine” their customers in an immediate and time-specific way.

But what is the state of native advertising in Asia Pacific? According to a survey done by King Content and Warc in 2016, two-thirds of respondents had a positive or very positive sentiment towards native advertising. Almost a third of respondents said they are already using the medium, while 61% is considering native for future plans.

The study, called “Native Advertising Trend or Future”, interviewed more than 300 marketing and advertising professionals, from 14 Asia Pacific markets. 47% of respondents are from Asian markets while 54% of respondents were based in Australia or New Zealand. About half of all respondents are managers, directors or heads of their department.

Overall, respondents were found to be enthusiastic about native advertising and the opportunities it offers. Two-thirds (67%) of respondents had a positive or very positive view of native advertising. Meanwhile, 4% had a negative view, while 29% feel ambivalent, thinking there is still room to improve the perception of the medium – perhaps with better benchmarking.

Most marketers were found to believe in the power of effective native advertising, but the study found most of the industry seeming to be “flying blind”, the report added. 69% of respondents said that they or their client did not have a native advertising strategy in place, with only 39% actively working to put one in place.

The survey also revealed that marketers prefer to use native at the beginning of the path to purchase, with particular focus on brand awareness and engagement. Leading objectives of brands were for boosting engagement or distributing content. 59% of those surveyed were found to be using native content to create engagement with audiences, or as a content distribution platform. Meanwhile, 58% of all respondents use native advertising to build brand awareness.

As the path to purchase goes further down, marketers were less likely to use native advertising, with customer acquisition (29%) and retention (19%) being the least popular roles for native. The report added that this shows that marketers feel native advertising can be used to address multiple marketing challenges. 24% of respondents were from brand owners looking to build their brand via native advertising and 24% belonged to media agencies with experience in native advertising media placement, while 22% are from creative agencies which build native content for publication. 12% of those interviewed are media owners – a primary area of native advertising business.

Marketers prefer to use native at the beginning of the path to purchase, with particular focus on brand awareness and engagement.

Meanwhile, the potential of native advertising is one which holds many promises, as supported by a study conducted by global business analyst IHS Technology, commissioned by Facebook Audience Network.

First party in-app native ads, which are similar to the ones seen on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, is projected to be the largest mobile native revenue driver. Meanwhile, third party in-app native ads will be the fastest growing, expected to grow at an annual rate of 70.7%. It will also account for 10.6% of all mobile display ads by 2020, worth US$8.9 billion. The study also found that consumers engage with native ads 20 to 60% more than standard banner ads.

According to the research, nearly two-thirds (63.2%) of all mobile display ads will be native by 2020, summoning US$53 billion in total advertiser spend. Clearly the potentials in this area are massive.

More tips from The Smart Local on making native advertising right:

Native Advertising: A guide of native advertising in Singapore

It’s hard to reconcile that it’s only been 10 years since Singaporeans used Teletext to check movie timings, and students tuned to radio stations while burning the midnight oil for their O-Levels. Then the internet came along and completely disrupted the media industry. And, in turn, the world of advertising. But let’s look closer to home, and keep up with the changes that are revamping advertising as we know.

Native Advertising: The Smart Local shares more on its partnership with Sony and Canon

Catch The Smart Local's case study around native advertising built from scratch that ended up viral, pulling it of with enormous success across Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. And while people have grown desensitised to certain branding, these case studies exemplified the virality of native advertising, building a campaign from scratch that would resonate and engage with the public.