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Publishers: Combat ad blocking with native advertising

Luca Filigheddu

ad blockng native advertising

Ad blocking is a hot topic with advertisers and publishers. And rightly so.

Readers are visible turned off by display ads. You only need to look at the increased usage of ad blocking software to understand that readers are sick and tired of ads that ruin their experience online and annoy them with tracking software.

Over 22% of the world’s 1.9bn smartphone users are currently using blocking software on the mobile web, according to PageFair’s 2016 Mobile Adblocking Report. To buck the trend, many publishers and advertisers are shifting advertising within the walled gardens of mobile apps, however they too are not immune.

In fact, in-app ad blocking apps are growing in popularity and efficacy.


While some publishers are restricting access to their sites to visitors running ad blockers or setting up subscription services to make-up for lost revenues, others are taking a different perspective.

As FIPP CEO Chris Llewellyn has so aptly foreshadowed, “Blocking the ad blockers at the point of engagement with websites is an option in the short run, but in the long run the solution probably lies in advertising that moves away from clutter, from CPM-based selling, to premium solutions.”

So what does the future hold?

Native advertising to the rescue!

As ad blockers rob publishers of ad revenues and advertisers of valuable impressions, many are ditching display ads completely in favour of native ads.

Native advertising is a term that lumps together any type of advertising that matches the content on the platform where it appears. This can include ads on social media platforms, like Facebook Promoted Posts, or branded content on a publisher’s website, often marked as “Sponsored” or “Paid”.

Whether publisher-produced or brand-produced, native advertising is disguised as regular content. And that means it can get passed ad blockers.


BuzzFeed's in-house creative team works with brands and agencies to craft custom social posts that are designed for sharing BuzzFeed’s in-house creative team works with brands and agencies to craft custom social posts that are designed for sharing


Compared to display ads, native ads are less intrusive and don’t take away from your website’s user experience. But that’s not all.

According to a study from IPG Media Lab, branded content has a greater impact than display advertising when it comes to brand recall, brand perception and intent/consideration.


ipg-lab-forbes-storytelling-the-current-state-of-branded-content-infographic Source: IPG Media Lab “Storytelling: The Current State of Branded Content”



Plus, branded content doesn’t get stale like display ads. Timeless branded content can continue to generate traffic and value for brands far into the future. And, that is great news for advertisers.

An investment is native advertising is an investment in building better experiences for readers and advertisers. That being said, there are several types of native advertising to consider.

What kind of native advertising do publishers prefer?

In a recent survey of 140 worldwide magazine media companies, the Native Advertising Institute and FIPP found that when ranking different formats by efficacy, online articles are the number one type of content, followed by video content.

Print articles followed, highlighting the important role native advertising has across multi-platform solutions.


Source: Native Advertising Institute and FIPP


As a publisher with an app, native ads can be a great way to continue generating mobile advertising revenue despite the advent of in-app ad blocking software.

In addition to distributing your digital publication (that may or may not have ads), publishers can share branded or sponsored articles alongside their own articles in a feed. Publishers can also partner with advertisers to create a single-branded or sponsored feed to distribute via their app. For example, a fashion magazine could let an advertiser create a sponsored feed to provide behind the scenes video content to app users.

Have you ditched display ads for native? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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