Native-social ads — ads which are integrated into the social stream — are proving to be incredibly effective, getting tremendous clicks and shares. Soon, native advertising could account for more than half of social ad spend. And photo-centric sites stand to benefit most, based on recent analysis by BI Intelligence.
Instagram has already rolled out a native ad product, and Pinterest launched Promoted Pins last year. Brands are leveraging Stories (snaps that last for 24 hours) on Snapchat to push native marketing content to fans, but it’s not an official ad unit, yet. All of these services are benefitting from the fact that photos are the most shared content on the Web, meaning these ads have the opportunity to be shared by thousands of users.
For a recent report, BI Intelligence spoke to leaders in the native advertising space, including major ad buyers, investors in up-and-coming social media networks, and social media analytics experts to understand the forces driving the stampede into native-social advertising. We examine the top formats, dig into Facebook’s suite of native ad products, and look at how effective native-social ads can be on each social network.
“In the future, all advertising on social media will be native in-stream ads,” says Jan Rezab, CEO of Socialbakers, a social media analytics company that works with Fortune 100 brands. “The right rail and banners will disappear altogether.”
Here’s why experts are so bullish:
- At BIA/Kelsey, which forecast that $US11 billion would be spent on social ads in 2017 and 40% would go to native ads, Jed Williams, author of the forecast, said: “if I was to re-forecast the native ad market today, would we project it growing larger at a faster rate? Certainly.”
- In-stream native ads look, feel, and function seamlessly across mobile and PC, which is precisely what brands want, as they seek to build cross-device campaigns.
- On mobile’s smaller screens, the stream is the experience. Mobile ad spend was up 83% last year, to $US8.9 billion globally.
- Twitter started the native-social ad trend with Promoted Tweets in early 2010. The social network is now among the most influential voices in arguing that TV and digital ad spend can work hand-in-hand. Twitter now offers a suite of three different in-stream native ad products.
- Now, LinkedIn is making major investments in its native strategy and Pinterest is piloting native ads on its platform.
- We believe image- and video-sharing networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat will soon be offering some of the most effective types of native ads, centered on pictures. Photos are the most shared type of content on the Web; 43% of global Internet users have shared a photo in the past month.
In full, the report:
- Compares the adoption of native-social ads by top brands and advertisers, and how committed they are to allocating spend to each of the social networks
- Looks at what native advertising might look like on Snapchat, Pinterest, Vine, Instagram, the most image-centric social networks
- Discusses how native-social advertisements can be bought and sold in automated exchanges like Facebook’s FBX
- Examines the data that proves the effectiveness of in-stream ads and their superior metrics relative to banner and display ads
- Explains why market research firms have underestimated how big the shift to native-social advertising has turned out to be