The Future of Advertising Is Native Advertising on the Open Web
By Andrew Burke, Managing Director, APAC & Growth Markets (India, China, Brazil) at Outbrain
The events of 2020 have brought about significant and lasting impacts across the advertising industry. Multiplied by today’s societal and economic realities, consumers have placed an emphasis on trusted environments and purposeful advertising. Today, our industry must respond to that by paving the way for a new era where consumers truly come first.
To do this, we must embrace a powerful alternative to Google and Facebook. For us at Outbrain, it means renewing our promise to support local publishers.
The future publishers deserve
The events of 2020 are a stark reminder that quality journalism matters, as consumer trust in news sources has reached an all-time high. In fact, COVID-related information has driven audiences to credible news sites, according to Comscore. With confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong and other territories nearby, visits to news and information websites further escalated, with a 7% increase in January and another 15% growth in February 2020. For Singapore audiences, user engagement increased across news categories, with the highest being a 58% monthly growth in Politics news. Consumer attention is clearly shifting towards premium and trusted publisher environments.
To maintain this momentum, publishers need a strategic partner to deliver product innovations that capture audience attention. That’s why one of our main priorities has been to enhance the feed experience so that we could power the next generation of discovery. Smartlogic, our latest innovation, enables publishers to deliver a dynamic feed experience to visitors on their sites. A move away from the standard ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and towards meaningful personalisation, Smartlogic ensures an engaging experience that’s tailor-made to each individual. With higher engagement rates, recirculation opportunities for publishers, and better ROAS for advertisers, Smartlogic enables publishers to compete against the duopoly.
The future advertisers need
As evidenced by the #stophateforprofit campaign, navigating brand safety in a world of user-generated content, which can be harmful and misleading, is a massive challenge for brands. For marketers to achieve the scale they crave without compromising their brand’s reputation, they need more meaningful choices outside the duopoly. Statements, like the boycott against Facebook, are a call to action for a much-needed alternative.
We are answering that call with a new way to truly engage consumers within trusted publisher environments. We’re soon launching more new ad experiences that bring the effectiveness of social-media style experiences to the open web, offering advertising solutions for both awareness and performance goals.
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The bottom line is that consumers don’t want to be interrupted online. Especially in an era where purpose marketing is on the rise, marketers must favour engagement to resonate and win business. Our consumer study with research agency, Lumen, reveals that native advertising on premium publisher sites is 44% more likely to be trusted, 21% more likely to be clicked on, and 24% more likely to lead to future purchases than ads on social platforms. Earning consumer trust is the key to building a sustainable digital economy.
Moreover, the future of advertising needs to include metrics that make sense and can be measured. Campaign success can’t be optimised through a cost model where advertisers pay for impressions that are oftentimes ignored. Advertisers need accountable media platforms that hold to a greater standard, like engagement, where they are actually paying for results. The world of digital advertising has become more sophisticated. It’s time to raise the bar on what online experience looks like and have consumer preferences as the golden standard.
Faster, Stronger, Bolder
The path forward is a future where publishers are the preferred platform for audiences to gain trusted and verifiable information; where consumer preference is heard and acted on; and where advertisers are paying for true engagement rather than ignored impressions. The common theme for publishers and advertisers is that if there’s a powerful alternative that reduces reliance on the duopoly, then it should be embraced. There’s the opportunity to do just that and be faster, stronger, and bolder. As we open the door to the next chapter of digital advertising, it’s important to ask yourself: “What do I want that future to look like?”