Native advertising is perhaps the marketing phrase of 2014. With the success of ‘new’ media companies like BuzzFeed and VICE, and their focus on digitally native campaigns, it’s also becoming apparent that native advertising will offer the most ad revenue growth for publishers over the next three to five years. Clearly it’s a growing trend, and more marketers are considering their options in executing their own native advertising campaigns.

But what exactly does it entail? That is the major question that this report aims to answer, along with examining the changes in market trends and reasons why it has become more prevalent, who is doing it, how it is being measured and what the potential drawbacks to the trend are. There are also numerous examples and best practice case studies included in the report to explain how advertisers, media companies and agencies are exploring the opportunity and executing campaigns.

We asked 30 industry experts across the media landscape for their interpretation of native advertising, and quotes from them are included in the report. Their views can clearly be linked to wider trends in digital advertising and marketing.

What you’ll learn

  • What native advertising is, why it has come about and its evolution as a trend
  • Important considerations for planning a native advertising strategy
  • How the performance of native advertising is measured
  • Potential challenges for publishers, audiences and advertisers
  • Examples of who is doing it well:

With the ubiquity and performance issues around display advertising, native has suddenly erupted as a digital trend to replace potentially lost revenue. But not only that – many publishers are seeing native as a primary method of growth. Native is not particularly new, but it has suddenly grown in importance.

– James Carson, Founder, Digital Factoid

Author and contributors

James Carson is the founder of Digital Factoid, a content strategy and production agency based in London, and Made From History, a publishing startup focused on historical education and accessibility. He speaks regularly on content marketing and strategy, as well as contributing to numerous industry blogs including Econsultancy.

He was previously Head of Digital Marketing at Bauer Media, working on audience and engagement development across brands like FHM, Grazia and heat. He has also worked as Head of Digital Content at Factory Media, and held content production roles at SEGA Games Europe and Greenlight Search Marketing.

Some of the companies and people who contributed to this report include:

  • Rory Ahern, Partner, Rubber Republic
  • George Brock, Professor and Head of Journalism, City University London
  • Neil Dawson, Chief Strategy Officer Europe, SapientNitro
  • Simon Gill, Executive Creative Director, DigitasLBi
  • Will Hayward, VP of Europe, BuzzFeed
  • Dan’l Hewlett, UK MD, Maker Studios
  • Sean King, CEO, Seven
  • Andrea Marsh, Digital Director, Factory Media
  • Ciaran Norris, Chief Digital Officer, Mindshare Australia
  • Steve Payne, Head of Planning, AOL
  • Anna Watkins, Managing Director, Guardian Labs