SYDNEY: Marketers are investing in native advertising as a tool to boost engagement and brand visibility, a new survey has revealed.

Exclusive research by Warc and content marketing agency King Content found that native advertising is most commonly used by marketers to put their brand in contention at the awareness and consideration stages of the path to purchase.

The Native Advertising: Trend or Future report surveyed more than 300 advertising and marketing professionals in sixteen markets across Asia on how they used native advertising as part of their marketing strategies. (Non-subscribers can access the full report here.)

The top motivators for using native advertising are boosting engagement and distributing content. More than half (59%) of those surveyed are using native content to create engagement with audiences, or as a content distribution platform. Branding is a close second, with 58% of all respondents using native advertising to build brand awareness.

Marketers are less likely to use native advertising further down the path to purchase – customer acquisition and retention were the least popular roles for native, with 29% and 19% respectively citing these as motivations for use.

These priorities are reflected in how marketers are measuring the success of native advertising initiatives. Engagement is the leading metric for generating return on investment, with traffic and social media shares also in the mix. More than half of respondents – 51% each – use web traffic and content shares as key metrics.

Editorial content is the most popular platform for brands seeking to build awareness at the beginning of the path to purchase, with 59% using this format. Online video, one of the fastest growing areas of ad spend across Asia, is a strong second with 47% of marketers looking to this format to amplify content. Native advertising via social media or other newsfeeds is also on the rise: 40% of brands use paid in-feed placements.

Total Aussie internet advertising expenditure is expected to top A$6bn this year, according to Warc's latest International Ad Forecast.

Data sourced from Warc