SINGAPORE: Just 3-4% of consumers in developed APAC markets like Australia read or watch banners and pop-ups, although one third of those in urban areas of China and India do so, a new report has stated.

According to Forrester Research, more than half of consumers in the first two markets actively avoid these advertising formats and it suggested that marketers should be exploring native advertising opportunities instead.

And as there is every likelihood that developing markets will follow the same pattern – currently 17% avoid banners and pop-ups in metro China, 16% in metro India – it could make sense to experiment with native ads in these markets as well.

"While Asia Pacific marketers have yet to invest in native advertising in a big way, native advertising provides them with an additional avenue to better engage with customers and win their preference," said report author Clement Teo.

But Teo also cautioned that marketers need to be transparent and should work only with publishers which make clear when readers are viewing native ad content.

"Consumers can easily sniff out digital advertising from genuine content," he said. "Marketers and content publishers can get stung by a loss of consumer trust if they are not up front about differentiating editorial content from native ads and fail to deliver engaging, valuable content."

Ultimately, Teo argued, it was easier to simply be clear from the outset rather than have to try to win back consumer trust later after being called out for an unscrupulous methods

Similarly, he warned that marketers taking a generic approach "do target audiences a disservice and will quickly lose their attention".

Further advice to marketers included working with publishers which have a deep knowledge of their audiences and choosing topics that sit well with the native advertising concept, such as travel, food, fashion, beauty and finance.

Several regional publishers have already set up native advertising units, Mumbrella noted, including include Singapore's MediaCorp and Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.

Data sourced from Forrester, Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff