Change is something that the digital advertising and media industry is used to, with successful companies continually adapting and innovating in order to engage with consumers in new ways. More recently however, there have been some changes that could shape the long term future for the industry and its players more significantly. Namely, the surge in smart phone usage, changing consumer attitudes to online advertising and their accessibility to ad blocking technology.
In November, Shaun Austin of YouGov presented research findings that looked deeper into these areas, discussing the effects for media owners, publishers and consumers with a panel comprised of Nic Newman, news and media consultant, Phil Robinson, Advertising Strategy at News UK and Patrick Hourihan, Director Of Research EMEA at Yahoo. Together they discussed the impact of these changes and the role native advertising can play for creating effective content.
The rise of Smartphone usage to access online content
The dramatic rise of smart phone usage is undoubtedly a driving force behind recent change. It significantly impacts media consumption, purchase journey and consumers expectations for content. Companies can no longer put their mobile strategy in 2nd place.
Ad-blocking is forcing the ad industry to innovate and improve the quality of advertising
Putting 4G internet access in the hands of consumers has fuelled a demand for high quality, mobile content. That is, content that understands the platform it’s on, the audience it’s for and the value it’s giving to people. Advertising’s place in this mix is being put under increasing pressure as mobile ad blockers become increasingly available. The panel suggest that ad blocking is simply a way for the consumer to express their disapproval of the quality of online adverts today. They also argue that ad blocking will bring to an end lower quality online ads, and that ad blocking could be the catalyst for innovation as companies realise they need to create new types of content in order to keep pace with changes and find new sources of revenue.
Native – A more engaging way to communicate and add value to consumers
Native advertising is being heavily invested in by companies in an attempt to deliver ads that meet the high quality being demanded by consumers. It appears more in areas such as travel, food and leisure, where consumers are more used to seeing ads next to other content. The general consensus from the panel was that native ads are received much better by consumers than other types.
The rise of Video
Video is recognised as a key platform for native advertising and is a type of media also going through change caused by mobile and media habits. Consumption of short form video is on the rise and consumers are expecting to engage with video on a daily basis. Organisations must be strategic when meeting this demand by creating platform-specific content, not simply replicating content from other platforms. Other revenue models also need exploring as major publishers such as Facebook and Twitter change their models.
How publishers are using Social Media
Publishers are using social media in one of two ways, depending on the type of publisher they are. Either they're using the reach of social media to bring readers back to their site, to read their original content and can monetise them, or they are using them to distribute their content as widely as possible. There is quite a bit of experimentation going on at the moment, as media companies don’t want to be building the social media brands for them, but they do want the reach and importantly of the data. However, many are still grappling with the best way of commercialising social media.