2016 will be a crucial year for native advertising

Industry reports estimate that native advertising will reach a total value of US$21bn by the end of 2018. Sponsored content is booming, but native advertising is far from a finished product. That is one of the overriding messages from 20 industry experts who dare to take a look into the future. 20 Predictions for Native Advertising in 2016 is the title of a new ebook that forecasts a year in which native advertising will grow but also face its share of struggles.

Native Advertising Predictions 2016 ()
  • The honeymoon is over. In 2016, native advertising will need to answer the following question: What have you done for me lately?, says Sam Rosen, vice president of marketing for The Atlantic.

The true value of native

He thinks that native advertising will spend the upcoming year trying to etablish new and improved standards for what constitutes sponsored content.

  • Native content can’t just consist of words on a page. It needs to measure up to the standard of any great advertising creative—to be engaging, compelling, captivating, memorable, provocative, says Rosen.

Clare O’Brien, senior programmes manager at IAB UK, is another expert who believes that native advertising will have to demonstrate its true value in 2016.

  • 2016 is going to be a watershed year for digital advertising. Getting good at content. Which is why measurement and ROI is going to be the hottest topic of the year, she says.

Technological arms race

According to the experts, 2016 will see an increase in the tension between publishers and ad blockers. An actual confrontation could be on the horizon.

  • Publishers will become more aggressive in dealing with adblocking. In a bit of a technology arms race, publishers will use adblock blockers or “adblocker walls” to make sure ads are shown, says Chris Quigley, managing director at Sharethrough.

Jamie Toward, managing partner, Content at Karmarama, chimes in:

  • There will be an arms race between advertisers, ad tech developers and ad blockers throughout the whole of 2016 and beyond before the marketing and digital industries realise that there’s requirement for us to educate consumers that SOME commercial activity is necessary in digital spaces to support the cool content that we want to consume, he says.

Smaller brands take the stage

2016 will also feature a new segment of brands that embrace native advertising. That is the word from from Rebecca Lieb, advisor, author and board member Conglomotron LCC:

  • Smaller brands will begin to explore native advertising. As it becomes more established, native won’t be just for the largest corporations, she says.

20 Predictions for Native Advertising in 2016 is published by the Native Advertising Institute and you can download it right here.

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