CANNES: Native advertising is much more effective than display, especially when it comes to reaching millennials, according to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
In a presentation at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity and in a subsequent closed-door media session, she emphasised that she saw native advertising playing a vital role in Yahoo's future.
"Native experiences beat their traditional display counterparts in almost every metric," Mayer said, citing Yahoo research which showed that a viewer of a native ad was 3.6 times more likely to conduct a brand search than viewers of traditional display ads and six times more likely to do a related search.
Further, 46% of millennials who noticed branded content said they consumed the content and one third of those then shared it.
Mayer's pitch coincided with the news that Yahoo would be running Tumblr Sponsored Post ads on its own sites, Ad Week reported. She later elaborated on this, telling reporters that an average sponsored post on Tumblr, the blogging platform Yahoo paid more than $1bn for last year, was reblogged 10,000 times.
She had an interesting take on native advertising, explaining that she had noticed her son paying more attention to the ads on Saturday morning TV than to the surrounding cartoons.
"When you think about it, TV ads are native. They are 30-second stories embedded in a 30-minute story," she said. "Print ads add to the aspirational factor of the medium and radio is smaller programming in previously scheduled programming.
"On a PC, however, the ads are stickers around the content. It was never native to its environment."
While there are attractions of native advertising for Yahoo, regulators are also keen to ensure clarity for consumers so that they understand what they are reading is an ad. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK regulator, has just ruled that an ad for related content at the bottom of a newspaper article was not "obviously identifiable as such", Media Week reported.
This related to content recommendations provided by Outbrain which included paid-for links to third party websites and which the ASA said breached its codes on recognition of marketing communications and misleading advertising.
In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has also discussed the issue informally with advertisers, publishers and legal experts.
Data sourced from Ad Week, Media Week, Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff