NEW YORK: The past year has seen a surge in the use of the native advertising format and a dip in programmatic advertising as advertisers react to brand safety concerns, a study suggests.

MediaRadar, an ad sales intelligence business, analyzed ad spending patterns from tens of thousands of print, digital and email advertisers across native, video and mobile campaigns for its Consumer Advertising Report.

It reported that the number of advertisers buying native formats had leapt 74% between the start of 2016 and the end of the first quarter in 2017, while demand for native ads had more than tripled since 2015.

Advertisers in the media & entertainment category were by far the most likely to use native ads – half as many again as professional services which in turn used this format significantly more than the next three, including, financial & real estate, technology, and wholesale.

"Consumer advertising is shifting as audience consumption patterns evolve," Todd Krizelman, CEO and co-founder of MediaRadar, told Adweek.

"Advertisers will keep spending more on native because it outperforms traditional ad units," he explained. "Audiences look at native ads more frequently than non-native, and buyers are investing accordingly."

But advertisers also appear increasingly concerned about brand safety, as evidenced by a 12% decline in the number of advertisers buying ads programmatically.

"This form of advertising is continuing to evolve as brands seek more control over where their ads are running," said Krizelman. "We expect to see programmatic rise as more brands move to programmatic direct models."

MediaRadar also reported that the number of print ad pages had fallen by 8%, while print spending was down an estimated 6%.

"That being said, there are still a considerable amount of pages being bought," Krizelman added. "Niche and enthusiast titles are on the rise, with some regional titles flourishing."

Data sourced from MediaRadar, Adweek; additional content by WARC staff