Native advertising has been on the radars for the last five years for a good reason: the tool has become an integral part of the business model as well as a business strategy for many publishers. Native ads have progressed along a path from a shiny new format to an essential and tangible ingredient of the advertising mix. While display ads appear to be flat across the industry, native ads revenue is projected to grow 46% by 2021 (Native Advertising Institute).

Looking back, 2018 has been a successful year for native advertising. Viewed as a new version of the traditional display ad, native dominates mobile advertising, and 63% of mobile ads will be native by 2020. As the core of any omnichannel strategy, the native format easily adapts to and outperforms in any marketing strategy. We have witnessed a considerable increase in demand, and common misconceptions have vanished into thin air. Naturally, there is much more to expect this year, so let’s see what 2019 holds for native advertising.

Increased diversification

When using native ads advertisers and publishers will increasingly resort to the diversification of formats and platforms. This tendency specifically pertains to native beyond social media platforms because the editorial ecosystem has been extensively accommodating to programmatic native buying, thanks to its robust combo of high-quality content, wide reach, exceptional efficiency, and brand safety. The usage of non-social native advertising, for the purposes of branding and performance, will help to acquire the best possible visibility. With the development of the medium, both advertisers and publishers realize the diversity of native ads, which is why diversification of their approach is so important today, tomorrow and in the future.

Brand safety in the first place

2019 will be marked by a shift towards more reliable content platforms which will make brands slowly move away from advertising alongside user-generated content. GDPR and brand safety are the two major drivers of enhanced contextual targeting. Given native advertising represents a form of contextual advertising, it is transparent, flexible, and works seamlessly with introduced regulations — its popularity will grow steadily throughout the year. In terms of brand safety, native ads allow the building of meaningful relationships and provide real value to the audience.

Programmatic will dominate

During recent years the growth of ad spending across the globe is owed to mobile advertising, so the future direction of internet ad buying is plain to see. According to Recode material, mobile ad spending is expected to reach $156 billion, which will make over 62% of overall internet expenditure. On the other hand, mobile ads account for 53% of the world’s programmatic spending. In view of these figures, programmatic will be the huge trend of 2019 and predictions for the next couple of years follow this same trend. Programmatic sales rates grow 21% per annum, simply because it offers automated, efficient targeting, and insights about the audience for further optimization. Ads are highly relevant, effective and measurable at the right time and scale. That is why we expect programmatic to dominate the market.

Dynamic creative optimization

When we talk about effective advertising we imply deep personalization. Being the top priority and a key to success, personalization will be at the forefront in 2019, with the help of dynamic creative optimization, which is a variation of programmatic creative. Dynamic creative optimization, aka DCO, allows reinforcement of ad personalization on the basis of user data in real time. In combination with machine learning, the technology provides campaign optimization: the best performing audience segments are prioritized, segments are matched for enhanced reach, and the best creatives are chosen for particular segments. Basically, DCO helps to deliver unique creative variations to a relevant buyer. Data optimization will push the advertising gold standard further.

More context!

We all remember the times when social media was the pioneer of the feed, but those times have changed, which is good. Today, advertisers, as well as premium publishers, realize the true value of context. Native advertising placed on premium sites is more engaging and trustworthy than those on social media. At present, social media is responsible for immediate attention — high levels of it — however, it is not a suitable instrument for long-term brand value or engagement reach. So, 2019 will be partly dedicated to the improvement of the contextual targeting of native advertising.

The major native advertising trends we discussed above will rule the digital advertising environment and influence all the aspects of it in the next 12-month period. Being aware of the current tendencies and future prospects of the industry is vital — it helps to stay ahead of the curve and avoid common industry challenges. Stay tuned to be on the lookout.