LONDON: Better regulation means UK media planners are increasingly confident in allocating budgets to native ads, with a growing proportion of digital spending expected to be directed to the format.

A study by AdYouLike, a native ad specialist, found that the proportion of agencies expressing confidence that the native market is well regulated had almost doubled in one year, from 33% to 63%, The Drum reported.

This was in part due to the introduction of guidelines by the IAB trade body, stipulating the use of visual and textual clues to clarify that such content is paid-for.

This became a live issue late last year when the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that a number of vloggers had failed to clearly tell viewers their videos were in fact part of a campaign for Oreos and instructed brand owner Mondelez to ensure that any future ads in this medium "made their commercial intent clear prior to consumer engagement".

A natural outcome of this growing trust has been a willingness to put more money into native ads. Some 18% of agencies' digital budgets are predicted to go on native in 2015 (and almost one quarter of this will be on mobile), rising to 26% the following year.

Other factors driving this shift include digital users' widespread tendency to ignore banner ads, the greater user engagement that native ads offer and the better creative opportunities it enables.

Two thirds of agencies saw the last of these – creativity – as a key force in future growth and a similar proportion thought native ads addressed a creativity gap in mobile.

But there are also particular difficulties posed by this format. Creative agencies, for example, were said to have problems around execution, while media agencies questioned clients' sign-off processes.

"There are still challenges around native ads, mainly in bringing the creative opportunities that everyone can see to actual fruition," said Francis Turner, managing director of AdYouLike UK.

"However, what's very clear is that it's an incredibly exciting time for the market, with programmatic trading and mobile at the forefront, and things are only going to accelerate over the coming months."

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff