FTC Not Relenting in Native Ad Witch Hunt

FTC Not Relenting in Native Ad Witch HuntAdweek recently connected with Jessica Rich, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer protection bureau. In a new interview published on Sunday, Rich made it clear that the Commission is not taking its sights off of native advertising any time soon.

Native ads – advertisements designed to look and read like organic newspaper and magazine content – have drawn intense scrutiny since their impressive surge began across the digital media landscape last year. Just this week, The New York Times will launch its redesigned website, which will prominently feature native ads.

“Native advertising will be a huge and continuing theme in our work,” Rich tells Adweek. “I want to make a broader push into mobile, mobile security, mobile payments, making sure we are able to bring mobile investigations, just as we are able to bring brick-and-mortar investigations.”

In 2014, native ads are projected to make a huge splash in mobile and could drive ad spend and ad revenue to new heights, benefiting advertisers, publishers, and even mobile app developers who may for the first time have an option to monetize their apps with native ads.

In December, NativeMobile reported that U.S. mobile advertising spending was on pace to reach $9.60 billion by year’s end, which is up 120.0% from $4.36 billion from 2012.

“But when you look across the advertising landscape today, there is no hotter phenomenon on the scene than native advertising,” the report reads. “And its burgeoning presence in mobile is undeniable.”

But with the FTC remaining committed to its alleged witch hunt on native advertising, will the fear of new regulations stifle the ad format’s growth until the smoke clears and greater clarity enters the market?

According to Mark Riley, an independent advertising consultant from Chicago, Illinois, the lucrative potential of native advertising is too great to keep the majority of interested parties on the sidelines for long.

“You can almost picture that scene from the original Batman,” Riley tells NativeMobile. “I can also picture the early adopters of native advertising saying the same thing: ‘Wait ’til they get a load of me.’”

“For the companies that get it right [native mobile advertising], the payday will be immense,” he adds, “both for the provider of the ads and the consumer who may finally have something to gain or something to learn from an ad on their smartphone or tablet.”

To read the full report on Adweek, click here.