2018 has come and gone, and it was a truly great year for native advertising. One thing is for certain, though, there is more excitement to come.
In the most recent ebook put out by the Native Advertising Institute (NAI), 39 industry experts all over the world gave their predictions as to what trends 2019 will bring for native advertising. The sum of their predictions offers up a pretty clear roadmap for where we should be focusing our efforts this year.
Let’s take a look at some of the major trends for native advertising:
Technology will enable better more measurable content
Native advertising experts are in resounding agreement that engaging, relevant and authentic storytelling has and will remain integral to great native. 2019, though, will show a heightened reliance on technologies to pinpoint relevant stories, serve them to the proper audience and - perhaps of most importance - measure our impact in actionable ways, through measurement models that go beyond click attribution and give us deeper insights into return on investment and incrementally.
“Native Advertising is maturing and with this growth, advertisers will demand a data and insights-led approach, across all project phases,” says Dan Rubin, Executive Director at Studio M, Meredith Corporation and continues:
“The data and insights spotlight will require proof that the right content is being planned, that the correct optimizations are being administered in flight and that KPIs are being measured to determine ultimate success.”
Engaging, relevant and authentic storytelling is more important now than ever. The coming year will undoubtedly bring shifts in content formats, channels and metrics, but authentic content should most certainly remain.
"As the digital content landscape becomes more cluttered with noise and more difficult to navigate - due to restrictions and changing regulations - quality, authentic storytelling will be the True North for brands to follow,” says Tim Clark, VP, Native Advertising & Audience Amplification at SAP.
Some of the experts featured in the ebook are adamant that video can best deliver this engaging content. Senior Creative Manager Sabine Jürges and Senior Campaign Manager Anna Klasen, both from RTLi Brand Studio, go so far as to say the future will bring native web series.
Other experts are of the belief that audio is where the future lies. Anna Arvidsson, Head of Bonnier News Brand Studio, for example, urges us to “stop whiteboarding and create a strategy for audio and act on it.”
Whatever the format, storytelling will continue to be a critical element to great native, and fostering great storytelling skills will simply need to be a given here in 2019.
The native advertising industry will play a more central role in marketing
As the power of native is being increasingly recognised, experts predict that 2019 will be the year the advertisers fully jump on board, embracing the discipline and developing solid and thoughtful native strategies to deliver real value.
"Native is already part and parcel of marketing plans, becoming a ‘must have' rather than a ‘nice to have'. Marketers and publishers alike have reached a plateau of acceptance and understanding of the channel, which was atypical five, or even three years ago,” says Rebecca Lieb, Co-Founder and Analyst at Keleido Insights.
2019 will be the year of strategic partnerships and collaboration
The process of delivering great, authentic native that resonates with our audiences over time will require strategic partnerships between brands and publishers.
“Ultimately, a strategic partnership will pave the way for a better true native advertising campaign, whether it is executed via print, online, social media, or a combination,” says Maibritt Holm, Head of Native Advertising, Aller Media.
Beyond long-term relationships between brands and publishers, native advertising is - and should be - multidisciplinary and will require native studios to embrace out-of-house experts now and again to bring value to their clients.