Here comes yet another nod in the direction of native advertising.
A new report — The Power of Native — just released by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) suggests that, in comparison with traditional advertising, native rocks.
Native advertising was found to be more informative (32 percent compared to 16 percent), more interesting (27 percent versus 19 percent), more useful (21 percent versus 13 percent) and more helpful (15 percent versus 10 percent).
But there’s still work to be done. On the downside, native advertising was also perceived to be less eye-catching (21 percent versus 23 percent) and less easy to understand (23 percent versus 27 percent).
The study, conducted by Tapestry Research, combined the results of a quantitative online survey of 1,500 respondents with 10 qualitative interviews. The six native advertising campaigns previewed to study participants came from prime publishers such as Marie Claire, The Huffington Post, Trinity Mirror, The Week, and BBC Good Food.
According to Tim Cain, Head of Research at AOP, to be effective, native should be more about the soft touch than the hard sell.
“Native is one of the biggest topics in digital publishing right now,” Cain said. “This study is a significant piece of research into the power of native advertising, and provides best practice for publishers and advertisers to make their native adverts work harder. The study is extensive, but one key takeaway from the findings is that advertisers should be mindful of taking ‘the hard sell’ – if native advertising is too direct it can damage positive brand messaging.”
And — as always — transparency is a key issue.
“To get it right, publishers need to be transparent and make it clear who is bringing consumers this content,” noted AOP in its release. “The audience tends not to mind that it is paid-for as long as publishers are clear about it and make sure it is interesting and engaging, and not just about the advertiser’s own product.”
Industry experts who have perused the study give it high marks.
“This research on native advertising has proved some valuable points,” noted Lynne Springett, Insight Director for Time Inc. in the UK. “If you get it right by developing original content for a brand, in a tone of voice to which the consumer already relates, then it taps into an existing emotional connection that does the ‘heavy lifting’ in tasks such as shifting brand perception, raising awareness or increasing propensity to buy – making it popular with consumers, advertisers, and publishers alike.”