Sharethrough’s CEO on the future of native advertising and the battle for attention

In 2015, it’s estimated, digital will account for just under 30 per cent of the US$187bn being spent on advertising in the US. The real interest should be in the the breakdown of this amount and where most of it will be spent. One of the fastest growing segments of online marketing is native advertising, in which spending levels should reach $7.9bn this year and ultimately $21bn in 2018.

Dan Greenberg can see that trend coming — in fact, he’s betting on it. His business is native advertising, and as the founder and CEO of Sharethrough, he’s been spending the past eight years evangelising this type of ad placement to publishers and advertisers to show how it can move past all the noise and capture the audience’s attention. In an interview with VentureBeat ahead of the company’s fifth NATIVE Summit, he explains why he’s determined to make an impact in the space.

Ads that respect the audience

“There have been two paradigm changes in advertising,” he said. “The first being the Internet, where we moved from print and magazine to digital, which birthed Google. The second was more subtle, and that’s about self-respect and choice, not interruption — this is what birthed Facebook.”

If you’re not familiar with native advertising, it involves ads that fit in natively in the stream of whatever the audience is reading. “Instead of being foreign objects, it’ll appear as features in the fabric of the site itself,” Greenberg told us. “It’s about preserving publishing with ad models that are built on foundations that will last instead of forced engagement and interruption.”

“Traditional ads were built on the premise of interruption, where you can steal someone’s time and show them your ad,” he explained. “It works on TV, but there’s a world of people who are uninterruptable. If you can’t force people to pay attention to your brand, you need to earn it. Every self-respecting platform has said no to traditional advertising.”

Native advertising, Greenberg contested, fits into the needs of the brands: “It’s not that banners don’t work, but the key is that people read native ads. They consume it as content, they engage with it, and there is cognitive value derived from it.”

Source: VentureBeat

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