New data from BI Intelligence shows that overall spending on native advertising will reach $7.9 billion this year and grow to $21 billion in 2018.
This is great news for publishers who want to gain increased revenue and for advertisers who are seeking new ways of reaching audiences with engaging content. However, before the industry can reach new heights, emphasis must be placed on addressing the remaining challenges and uncertainties in native advertising adoption.
One of these challenges is so prominent that it made it into the Interactive Advertising Board's (IAB) “Native Advertising Playbook” a framework for thinking about and discussing current native advertising options. It's the question of native advertising disclosure.
Earlier this year, the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) conducted a survey of 127 client-side marketers. Of those marketers, two-thirds asserted that clear disclosure of native advertising is vital. It certainly makes sense. Most of us would agree that with native advertising comes the obligation of disclosure and transparency. That means clearly indicating that content is advertising so that consumers don't feel like they're being tricked.
There are a few of reasons why this is important:
Publishers that mask native ads by removing any prominent disclosures risk losing the trust of their readers;
Readers may foster negative associations with a brand if they feel like they were tricked into clicking on a native ad.
In order to avoid these issues, let's take a look at some of the more popular techniques for disclosing native advertising.
This comes in a variety of forms depending on the publisher, however, typically native ads are labeled as “Sponsored Content,” “Paid by...,” “Promoted by...,” or “Sponsored by...”
The Atlantic opts in for Sponsor Content label:
Buzzfeed tends to label native ads as either “Brand Publisher” or “Publishing Partner” and will include the advertiser's logo:
Buzzfeed's label for in-feed native ad previewing the sponsored content on the home page (similar disclosure is present on their mobile site):
Previously, Google and Buzzfeed used a light-yellow background to indicate which stories or search results were paid for by an advertiser. Both of these companies have since retired shading as a disclosure tool. Nonetheless, we believe that shading is a great way to distinguish native ads from editorial content, and can actually make the placement look more prominent.
ContactMonkey opts for a “Sponsored by...” label, brand logo, and shading:
StackAdapt is a programmatic native advertising platform. Integrated with all major native advertising exchanges, StackAdapt platform enables world's most sophisticated traders and programmatic buyers access native advertising at scale. With audience buying in mind, StackAdapt brings targeting and optimization capabilities to cross-platform, responsive native ad units previously only available for banner advertising.