Native Advertising – all you need to know

June 8, 2015

Buzzwords, don’t we all love them? It seems in digital advertising there’s a new one every month. Move over RTB, that was so late 2014! Here at Silverdrum we work with new clients in these emerging corners of the digital landscape and one that’s particularly busy recruiting top talent at the moment is the ‘native’ advertising sector. Here’s a no-nonsense guide to the basics and all you need to know about it, for those awkward interview questions around ‘emerging trends’.

What is it?

At its core, native advertising is simply paid-for advertising which is deliberately designed to replicate the look and feel of the editorial content that it appears against. It usually comes in the form of promoted content and this tends to appear within social media feeds, ‘related articles’ within blogs or web pages and paid inclusions on content aggregator sites like Buzzfeed.

What are the benefits?

Very simple really – it captures much more attention than display advertising because of its contextual relevance to users and huge sharing potential. Programmatic brought scale to display, the shareable nature of native content / advertising brings about the same result.

Is it really that big?

Not really, but it’s growing a great deal. Native and content advertising spend– including paid for sponsorships, advertisement features and in-feed distribution – hit £216 million in the first half of 2014, accounting for 21% of display ad spend (according to the IAB’s 2015 Content and Native Consumer Research paper). It has huge potential for one reason and one reason alone – the never-ending advance of data-fuelled ad technology platforms. Through programmatic (that is to say, automated) means, advertisers can distribute the right content to the right audience on the right platform in real time.

Who benefits as well as advertisers?

In theory consumers, because they’re getting the best user experience, i.e. a non – disruptive and relevant form of advertising and of course publishers hugely benefit from the advertising revenue. In a world where press circulation is falling alarmingly, this could be many news brands’ saving grace. Let’s not forget media owner sales teams – most of their display is sold through machines and auctions so native offers a more human  / consultative selling based upon creativity.

Why would users engage with this?

Generally speaking, consumers decide to engage with native content based on how relevant it is to them, whether they’ll derive ‘value’ from it and if it’s clear who it’s from and if they trust the author, brand or publisher.

How is it measured for success?

There’s some way to go before consistent content trading currencies are agreed across the industry. Clicks and views are a bit outdated so most credible conversations around measurement involve engagement and attention metrics.

So there you have it. This is a real beginners’ guide to native advertising but the next time you get that awkward question in an interview about ‘latest industry developments’ you’ll be fully prepared. For our latest native (and all digital) opportunities visit our site at