Editor's Note:This post was originally published on July 23, 2018, on AdAge India and is written by Ashish Shah, Founder and CEO, Vertoz..
Today, users are bombarded with nearly 30 billion ads every day. The internet is deluged with ads. A zillion brands are simultaneously vying for users’ attention. The result? No one is getting undivided attention. In such a situation, it is quite natural that users have learned to ignore the ads and focus on the content. This has created the grave problem of banner blindness. The Click-through rates (CTR) are constantly diminishing. It is interesting to note that the first banner ad, created for AT&T back in 1994, had achieved a CTR of 44%. Everyone knows the sorry state of CTRs today. Banner blindness is annihilating CTRs. Consumers have lost patience with banner ads, which irk them off to a whole new level. This has now reached a level, where all they want is to totally eliminate ads, giving rise to the juggernaut problem of ad blockers. More than 615 million devices worldwide are now using ad blockers.
This is thwarting the basic purpose of advertising, i.e. to get users’ attention. Ad budgets are flushed-out without achieving any substantial results, making life difficult for advertisers. They are now facing the knotty question - how to make advertising work? But, I will tell you what the good news is - all these woes can be overcome by one simple solution: Native Advertising.
Unlike banner ads, native ads are not intrusive. They seamlessly blend with the website’s look and feel and merge smoothly with its content. It is the perfect solution to reach today’s content-focused audience. And guess what? Native advertising actually works! The fact that native ads do not actually look like ads, lies at the crux of it. They are perfectly gelled-up with the main content, to an extent that one can hardly differentiate between the ads and the main content. Unlike banner ads, native ads are more informative and are presented in the form of content that might be relevant to the users. This results in considerably higher CTRs. Bingo! It does not surprise me that in a study conducted by Sharethrough, native ads were shown to achieve 52% more views as compared to banner ads.
Naturally, native ads are selling like hotcakes globally, and native ad spends are expected to increase 100% in the coming years. As per the Native Advertising Institute, native ad spends are projected to go from $30.9 billion in 2015 to $59.35 billion in 2018.
Not only advertisers, its advantages extend even to the publisher community. In 2016, 35% of worldwide publishers said native advertising was “extremely important” to their companies. This number shot to 50% in 2017.
Closer home, mammoth publishers like Hindustan Times, The Times of India, Indian Express, Financial Express, NDTV, including e-commerce giants like Flipkart, are switching to native advertising. With irresistible benefits like the ability to deliver a multifold increase in the conversion rates, and elegantly capture the user’s attention, Native ads have already formed an integral part of most advertisers’ strategies.
Native ads are total game-changers. They engender a win-win situation for everyone—the advertisers, the publishers, and the users. They work their way around the whole problem of banner blindness and consumers becoming indifferent towards ads. Native ads successfully get the brand message across to the consumers, without intruding their browsing experience. One thing is certain - native ads are here to stay, and if you have not adopted these yet, it is time you started!