Marketers across Asia-Pacific have a positive view of native advertising, with 67% enthusiastic about the opportunities it offers. Investment into native advertising is also set to rise significantly in the next five years as the medium matures.

A Warc & King Content survey of more than 300 advertising and marketing professionals across 16 Asia-Pacific countries revealed insights into how native advertising is being used, the biggest challenges marketers face, and thoughts on the future of the medium. Respondents included brand owners, creative and media agencies, media owners and content experts among others.

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Two thirds of those surveyed had a positive or very positive sentiment toward native and just 7% of those surveyed would not recommend native advertising to a client. Almost a third – 32% - are already using native advertising.  61% are likely to consider native for future plans. Brand owners in particular feel positive about native advertising.

However despite the intention to invest more in native advertising, 69% of survey respondents did not have a specific strategy in place.

Editorial formats proved most popular for native content, with online video and newsfeed placement also faring well. A fifth of respondents believed that native advertising offers a more credible alternative to traditional advertising, particularly in markets more cynical to traditional advertising such as Australia.  Native advertising is considered by many to be a cost effective way for brands to amplify their marketing efforts in a cost efficient way. The data indicates that how to best use native advertising is a point of discussion across the industry, not just in media investment.

The survey also revealed that marketers prefer to use native at the beginning of the path to purchase, with particular focus on brand awareness and engagement. But respondents also consistently raised issues with connecting native initiatives to real business results. Just 4% of respondents cited sales as a motivator for native advertising investment. A lack of effectiveness data was also considered a major challenge. Clearer strategies, effectiveness measures and more education will be necessary for brands to generate long term return on investment.