What’s On

The compelling case of native ads

In an increasingly digital and mobile world, the traditional ways in which brands reach out to consumers are undergoing major changes. Plain vanilla banner ads or pop-ups might have worked in a desktop-dominated era but that’s no longer sufficient. Now, marketers need to be even more sensitive to specific needs of consumers and engage them in more contextual and relevant ad formats.

For one, the phenomenal growth of mobile phones and tablets, coupled with a large base of traditional PCs, is creating a world wherein multiple screens play a connected, influential role in consumers’ lives. People are consuming more content on more devices in more ways than ever before. Mobile devices have narrowed the time between intent and action and it is playing a key role in the path to purchase in a consumer journey. This means advertisers are challenged to tell their stories across screens—and do it even more engagingly, for attention spans are getting shorter and consumer expectations, larger. As such, the need for a more personalised content experience and seamless advertising—especially native ads, which are embedded within content in a contextual setting—is being felt more than ever.

Brands are getting increasingly convinced that they need to look beyond the desktop-era ads and consider formats, such as native, that allow them to embrace digital more deeply and engage their target audience more effectively, irrespective of screen size or device type.

The reason for native’s new-found attractiveness to marketers is easy to fathom: at the core of it, native advertising weaves content in context and blends advertising with the digital environment effectively and unobtrusively. And it works even more effectively on mobiles due to limited screen space. For example, imagine looking at a recipe on your mobile app, and finding an ad or link that could tell you where to buy ingredients for that dish.

Native ads not only provide relevant experiences that mobile users want but also offer advertisers a highly targeted and performance-based approach that has a very real and measurable effect in terms of increasing awareness, shifting perceptions, increasing intent to purchase and, ultimately, driving revenue. A study by Interactive Advertising Bureau states that 70 per cent of consumers prefer to learn about products through native advertising versus traditional ad formats. Several case studies also show that native ads deliver higher metrics in awareness, purchase intent, and likelihood to recommend.

In India, too, native advertising is expected be on a high growth curve, especially with the rapid shift towards mobile and integrated media. India has seen skyrocketing mobile adoption, and has a large Internet user base of close to 243 million as per Internet and Mobile Association of India. In addition, an entire generation of new-to-net users will soon experience the Internet for the very first time not on a PC, but on a mobile device. This clearly shows that there are huge windows of opportunities for brands to establish a connect with their audiences on mobile which they wouldn’t want to miss. Given that more and more people are accessing the net through mobile devices, native ads are likely to grow faster than other formats of digital advertising (because they are less intrusive and work even better on smaller screens).

One indication of the growing excitement among brands—on both PC and mobile platforms—is the success of Yahoo’s native offering in India, Yahoo Stream ads. In the short span since its launch in July 2014, over 200 brands have come on board. In fact, globally, we have seen Yahoo Native ads experiencing triple digit year-over-year growth.

In 2015, we will see more innovation in native advertising, including better technology for more personalisation and more relevant content. While traditional ads can be disruptive, native ads can allow brands to build longer-lasting, more-trusted relationships with consumers in the digital environment. All that marketers need to have is the right voice, relevant content and the most appropriate platform or technology.

The write up is part of the DMA Annual Report ‘What’s Trending 2015‘. To book your own hard copy of the Annual, write to marketing@digitalmarket.asia

Naveen Pathak

Naveen Pathak is the Business Head of Search and Native advertising for Yahoo India. He has been with Yahoo for over five years. In his current role, Naveen is responsible for driving and implementing Yahoo’s business strategy to ensure consistent revenue growth. He is also responsible for measurement of sales strategies; business operations; local marketing & business development efforts, partner optimization and customer satisfaction.