Native advertising is one of the buzz words of the moment and it generally provokes one of two reactions. Either a sense of confusion, or the feeling that it's an over-hyped phrase which is just a new way of describing what we do already - creating advertising which is relevant to the editorial experience.
At Yahoo we're firmly in the camp that native advertising is not just about new terminology but that it's an entirely new revenue stream which will be the key growth area in online advertising of the future. If we assume the definition of native advertising to be valuable content placed in the context of user experience, then there is often the mistaken assumption that native advertising is all about content marketing. However we see in-stream advertising as the key driver of native advertising, and the beauty is that it's scalable across screens.
Native advertising is spawning a revolution, and a catalyst for the growth in native is the shift to mobile. This year we will experience platform crossover, where more users will access Yahoo on mobile devices than on PC. Clearly the rise in mobile usage calls for a new form of advertising, more seamless to the user experience.
This move to mobile has been motivated by the habits of the influential 16 -24 year olds age group, the TL:DR generation for whom a summarisation app like Yahoo News Digest is designed. This is an audience who feel more insecure without their phone than their wallet, according to recent Yahoo Generation Z research. Mobile is where they are, and where brands need to be.
So enter native, spawned from the evolution of the digital ecosystem and one which fits in with the need state of users. First came display, then came search, and in a sense you could say that native is born from search. Search now towers over display and native brings these two together, working as a hybrid. As a media player who operates in this space we know all too well the symbiotic relationship they have. The impact of display on driving search is clear and our Rich Ads product which integrates video and imagery into the search results, ties offline creative into the PPC world. Native evolves this offering in a revolutionary way.
To succeed with a native platform, you need three key things. Firstly, the content must be discoverable to give clients audiences at scale which in turn drives performance. Secondly native advertising should provide the same value as any other content. Lastly, we have to get user trust right. Native advertising assets should be clearly labeled to maintain consumer confidence.
Driven by in-stream advertising, and incorporating a spectrum of digital advertising from search through to content, native advertising will be the biggest growth area for 2014. With mobile usage leading this charge, it's a revolution brands can't afford to ignore.