SINGAPORE: Consumer engagement is the top reason marketers use native advertising in Asia-Pacific, according to new research.

Warc partnered with content marketing agency King Content to survey more than 300 advertising and marketing professionals across 16 Asia-Pacific markets. Respondents included brand owners, creative and media agencies, media owners and content experts.

Questions addressed how marketers are incorporating native into their wider marketing strategies, the types of content that brands are amplifying, the challenges they are facing and how they are measuring return.

The exclusive survey revealed marketers prefer to use native at the beginning of the path to purchase, with particular focus on brand awareness and engagement.

"Native advertising is a cost-effective way for brands to amplify their marketing efforts and capture hard-to-reach consumers [who are] more cynical toward traditional advertising," said Ed Pank, managing director, Warc Asia Pacific.

"But just 4% of respondents cited sales as a motivator for native advertising investment, indicating issues linking native initiatives to real business results. Effectiveness and attribution capability are likely to be major focus areas for marketers going forward."

Two thirds of those surveyed had a positive or very positive sentiment towards native advertising, with almost a third already using the medium and 61% likely to consider native for future plans.

Investment into native advertising is also set to rise significantly in the next five years as the medium matures. The native ad market is expected to grow to US$53bn by 2020, according to a new study commissioned by Facebook's Audience Network.

The research estimated that 75.9% of all adspend will be digital by 2020, and that native advertising will generate 63.6% of all global mobile display advertising, or $53bn.

In Asia-Pacific, native advertising will amount to $14.1bn, indicating that native advertising is a point of discussion across the industry, not just for media investment.

"Though brand owners in particular feel positive about native advertising, the lack of strategy for the medium is a concern," said Leanne Brinkies, global head of native advertising at King Content.

"Most respondents would recommend investing in native advertising. However, clearer strategies, effective measurement and more education will be necessary for brands to generate long-term return on investment."

Data sourced from Warc