In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, native advertising remains an important tool for digital marketers. In fact, as consumers continue to reject traditional online advertising, startups and Fortune 500 companies alike are allocating more of their budgets to non-disruptive ad campaigns.

Here, we’re sharing the latest trends in native advertising to help you prepare for the year ahead.

Is Native Advertising Increasing or Decreasing?

Native advertising revenue is growing. According to a native advertising report from AdYouLike, the global native ad market is expected to be worth $400 billion by 2025 — a whopping 372% jump from 2020.

Statista also reports that U.S. native display ad spend already reached $52.75 billion in 2020 — up from just $16.68 billion in 2016. Adding to that, eMarketer stated in 2018 that native advertising will grow 36% by 2022.

It’s easy to see why those numbers are only expected to increase. Native ads fit seamlessly into the user experience, matching the form and function of their surrounding content. Given that 1 in 4 Internet users rely on ad blockers to circumvent annoying and intrusive ads, native advertising growth is inevitable.

If your ads are going to stand out on a native advertising platform, you need to keep a close eye on native advertising trends and best practices.

That’s why we’re providing the whole picture for your 2022 strategy. As interest in native advertising rises, here’s a closer look at how the industry has evolved and will continue to change in the coming year.

1. Mobile Outreach

There are 7.26 billion mobile users across the world in 2022 — up from 6.95 billion in 2020. And that number is expected to reach almost 7.5 billion by 2025.

Accordingly, mobile ad spent jumped 23% in 2021, reaching $295 billion. And that spend is predicted to hit $350 billion by the end of the year.

Consumers are also spending more on mobile apps than they ever have before — driving a record $64.9 billion in the first half of 2021.

Marketers can reach these audiences by launching mobile native ads on smartphones and tablet devices. This way, they can grab people’s attention wherever they are and find them on the hardware they’re already engaging with.

2. Video Distribution

Cisco expects video to account for a whopping 82% of all internet traffic in 2022, up from 72% in 2017. That means people will engage with 3 trillion minutes of video content with each month or 1.1 million minutes of video each second.

It’s no surprise, then, that marketers are jumping on the video bandwagon and finding new, innovative ways to reach audiences with native video ads. As eMarketer reported, video advertising is set to be more native and less formal, especially as brands try to engage consumers across mobile apps and websites.

By pivoting to video, advertisers can harness opportunities to tell visually compelling stories, educate and inform audiences, and become a natural part of an online world that’s already filled with video streaming platforms and experiences.

3. Programmatic Automation

Programmatic advertising helps marketers automate the process of buying, selling, and optimizing ads across channels — saving them time and money.

That’s why the number of programmatic native advertisers in the U.S. jumped from 926 in 2020 to almost 2,000 in 2021. E-marketer also estimated that 87.7% of native ads were purchased programmatically in 2020, up from 86.7% in 2018.

To make the most of their campaigns in 2022, advertisers should keep these native programmatic best practices in mind:

Clearly define your goal, such as:

  • Branding — cast a wide net and maintain low CPMs
  • Consideration — educate readers with articles or long-form content
  • Acquisition — use advanced bidding strategies to optimize CPAs

Test, test, test. Run 5-8 creative variations against each other to find the best-performing images and copy.

Build Lookalike Audiences. Use your CRM data to target people who are similar to your most valuable consumers.

Employ contextual targeting. Run native ads that match the content and context of what your target audiences are already consuming, so you can provide the most relevant and personalized experiences.

4. Images with People and Close-Ups

Taboola Trends pulls weekly data from native ad campaigns across the Taboola network, analyzing a total of roughly 75 million clicks and 50 billion impressions to find out which strategies are driving the most clicks and engagement. Advertisers can use these insights to build data-backed campaigns that are better positioned to resonate with their audiences and generate results.

Right now, for example, native ad images with people, no text, and close-up photos are driving high CTRs among US consumers:

Marketers can also customize Taboola Trends results by vertical, device, language, and location to pinpoint the best creatives for their native ad campaigns at any given time.

5. First-Party Data Strategies

Third-party cookies are on the way out and set to be blocked on Google Chrome browsers by 2023. To adapt, advertisers will need to build robust first-party data strategies and figure out new identity solutions for tracking and targeting customers online.

This major shift will inevitably impact their native advertising strategies. Done right, however, first-party data can make their campaigns stronger.

Taboola, for example, has its own first-party cookie. All publisher partners have to do is integrate our code on their website. Then we can use our recommendation engine to deliver personalized and contextualized native ads to engaged audiences.

Advertisers can also use first-party data to buy programmatic ads based on performance-oriented pricing models like viewable CPM. With this approach, they can rest assured knowing their ad spend is going towards truly visible impressions.

The Future of Native Advertising

As native advertising continues to grow, brands and publishers will have to stay on top of important native advertising trends to fuel their campaigns. After all, the landscape will only continue to evolve, offering new ad formats, channels, and best practices for marketers to use. By keeping up with the nuances of native advertising, businesses can better use this valuable strategy to engage their target audiences across the open web and drive revenue in 2022 and beyond.

Ready to upgrade your native advertising strategy? Learn more about how advertising with Taboola can help, or jump right in to start your first campaign today.

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