IAB Study: Native Advertising Boasts Benefits for Brands, Risks for Publishers

IAB Study Native Advertising Boasts Benefits for Brands, Risks for PublishersWho gets the goodies when native advertising is employed?

In one of the largest studies of people’s attitudes towards native advertising, 62 percent said that it didn’t help to enhance the reputation of news sites, but it did help brands to be seen on highly trusted media sites.

Comprehensive coverage about the study was recently provided by ZDNet.

Native advertising, a form of advertising designed to look similar to “native” media content such as news or feature articles written by journalists, is where it’s at right now. If a marketer isn’t already doing it, he’s trying to figure out how to do it.

The study, “Getting Sponsored Content Right: The Consumer View,” was conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Edelman, the world’s largest privately owned public relations firm. Study managers asked 5,000 nationally represented consumers of online news to comment on the effectiveness of native advertising across three verticals: general news, business news, and entertainment news.

The study was sponsored by TripleLift, described as “a native advertising technology company.”

The study ultimately indicates that — at least right now — media companies carry a far higher risk to their reputation and value perception in allowing native advertising than their brand advertisers. Interestingly, native advertising on business and entertainment news sites was less problematic than on general news sites — most likely a sign that people still know the difference between critical news that shouldn’t be tampered with and “other news” that is largely inconsequential and for entertainment purposes.

A major takeaway from the study was that brands on credible media sites benefit tremendously: 88 percent favorable response on credible sites versus 66 percent on non-credible sites. That’s a 33 percent boost — nothing to shake a stick at, as they say.

What else did the study discover?

Well, the obvious. Like this: native advertising works best if the brand is trusted, relevant, and tells a great story.

“One of the report’s key recommendations is that publishers have to “walk away from advertisers who aren’t relevant/trusted,” according to the report. “And that they exercise transparency and make sure disclosure is very clear and labelled because an astounding seven out of ten visitors could not distinguish native advertising from native content.”

Perhaps the most lucid information is contained in an introductory paragraph to the study:

“It is a maxim among sophisticated marketers that clicks are a relatively meaningless metric. What matters most is the degree to which consumer attitudes can be formed and reshaped by advertising and marketing communication and then translated into sustainable behavior that benefits marketers and their brands.”

The paragraph ends with this sage advice: “It often seems as if the basic tenants of marketing have been forgotten these days. Marketing is not tracking, and tracking is not a strategy — sell me on something!”

Read the whole post here.