Native advertising in news has been controversial for some time. However, given changes in the business model and underlying conditions for news, more organizations have evolved their perspective on the practice. Recent research delves deep into global publishers’ perceptions and behaviors related to native advertising. In “Native Advertising Trends 2018 – The News Media,” the Native Advertising Institute and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) surveyed nearly 150 executives around the world to see how native advertising fits into their strategies and financial planning.
Overall, the report finds that native advertising continues to grow in importance. It is on an upward trend as a source of revenue for news organizations. Many publishers are investing in meeting their advertisers’ needs to reflect that financial value by creating brand studios and other native advertising support structures. Publishers project that in 2021, native advertising will comprise 36 percent of advertising revenue, with 82 percent of respondents anticipating the revenues from native advertising will grow in 2019.
Native advertising continues to provide high value for publishers and advertisers alike, leading to important internal decisions about organization structure. Twenty-nine percent of publishers interviewed say they are creating a standalone team to develop native advertising content. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) sell native advertising solutions in combination with traditional advertising. Less than one-quarter have a dedicated native advertising sales team.
As native advertising continues to bring more value, publishers are feeling the need to evolve their sales offering. Thirty-nine percent of survey respondents felt the biggest challenge to native advertising was training their sales team, with “poor client understanding” seen as the biggest threat to its success. However, as native advertising evolves, and publishers become more comfortable with rules and internal structures (particularly around clear labeling of native advertising), these concerns may dissipate and allow native advertising to continue to grow. For publishers seeking new sources of revenue, native advertising could potentially be a valuable tool.
The full report is available to WAN-IFRA members at no charge (non-members can purchase the report for a fee) on WAN-IFRA’s website.
Rebecca is VP, Research & Insights at the News Media Alliance.