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Native ad growth stutters

News, 07 January 2016

NEW YORK: Fewer marketers plan on using native advertising in the coming year, according to a new survey which claims the format is hard to produce and difficult to measure.

The findings emerged from a poll carried out by Trusted Media Brands Inc (TBMI) – formerly Reader's Digest Association – asking 300 marketers and agencies which mobile advertising formats they intended to invest in.

Half (50%) of respondents had used native ads in 2015 but only 45% were going to do so in 2016.

"While [native will] be a leader in 2016 – it's trending down year over year," said Rich Sutton, chief revenue officer at TMBI.

"It's possible that native could come under pressure since it is perceived as challenging to produce and measure," he told Mobile Marketer.

Nonetheless, native remains the mobile ad format of choice (42%) for client-side marketers, while agencies prefer pre/mid-roll video (52%).

Among other formats, display banners are fast falling out of favour: 63% of respondents used these in 2015 but only 45% planned on doing so in 2016.

Rich media has also lost some of its shine, with a seven percentage point drop to 39% in the proportion of those surveyed intending to use it in the coming year.

Several formats are gaining traction with marketers, however, including display interstitials (up from 29% to 37%), interstitial video (28% to 37%) and interactive overlays (28% to 35%). And interest in the IAB Rising Stars formats – brand-friendly ad units that aim to spur greater creativity in interactive advertising – has doubled (15% to 31%).

At a time when marketers are increasingly concerned about the impact of ad blocking, native ads are seen as a less intrusive way of getting a message across – 44% of respondents agreed on this.

One in three also cited increased brand awareness and better engagement and interaction rates as good reasons for using them, but less than one in five felt they were useful for lead generation or driving click-through rates.

Data sourced from Mobile Marketer; additional content by Warc staff