At its core, native advertising is intended to inform and engage, just as much as promote. That’s why it’s such a natural for financial institutions. Because of the nature of financial products (and consumer unfamiliarity with them), they actively seek out education online. The financial industry was an early adopter of native ads and remains at the forefront. It’s no wonder then that MediaRadar ranked financial services as the third-leading industry in utilization of this rapidly-growing format, which Business Insider predicts will dominate 74 percent of total US display ad revenue by 2021.
You already know the basics and best practices of native advertising, now it’s time to examine what they’re bringing to the table in 2018—and how your financial institution can get a seat.
- As always, mobile is king. It’s no secret that mobile has been steadily outpacing desktop usage, with 56 percent of all 2017 internet traffic accredited to these nifty, pocket-sized devices. A large portion of native advertising is dedicated to social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. While the first two are already mobile-only, 95.1 percent of Facebook’s active users access the channel via smartphone, more than triple the percentage of desktop users! That’s why 88 percent of Facebook’s 2017 advertising revenue came from mobile—and that number will only climb as desktops become less prevalent.
- They’ll come straight from the horse’s user’s mouth. Today’s consumers don’t want to be pitched by faceless companies, they crave authenticity and a shared connection. Brands that leverage user-generated content give off an aura of honesty and trustworthiness. This tactic isn’t limited to social media posts, it’s also effective by implementing surveys, polls, and native advertising—think of it as the ultimate word-of-mouth!
- There will be more “show” and less “tell.” People don’t want to read their ads; in fact, 4 times as many consumers prefer to watch a video ad rather than read one, with more and more people opting to watch on their phone. The amount of time spent watching videos online has steadily increased—up from 35 minutes in 2012 to over 70 minutes in 2017. As a result, mobile video advertising is predicted to grow from 2017’s $6.72 billion to $9.90 billion in 2018. Native advertising from brand’s that can adapt to this medium will find themselves riding video’s upward projection wave.
- They’ll be more platform-dynamic. Just as no two social platforms are the same, the way users operate within them differ greatly too. 85 percent of Facebook users watch videos without sound, whereas 96 percent of YouTube users watch videos with the sound on. Video length also varies between platforms, with videos ideally capped at 30, 60 and 120 seconds for Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, respectively. These vast preferences demand video native ads adapt to reach their targets more successfully.
- Sponsored content will continue to grow. Sponsored content continues to reign in printed (and digital) media. Financial brand Vanguard garnered a lot of attention for their New York Times interactive post, “$1 Million is Closer Than You Think,” which enabled readers to see how long it would take them to earn $1 million based on a variety of customized factors. Sponsored content is a unique way to market brands to consumers, while not marketing at them.
Native advertising can be one of the most elusive kinds of advertising—after all, when done properly, consumers shouldn’t even recognize the content is an ad! As nuanced as it is, it is vital for brands that want to keep pace today and tomorrow. By understanding and adopting these trends, your financial institution can gain exposure to a previously ad-resistant market, and have a positive effect on financial literacy—and that’s more than just good for business, it’s good for everyone.
Austin Williams is an outcomes-driven full service advertising, marketing, digital and public relations agency, creating ideas that inspire action for clients in healthcare, higher education, financial services, nonprofits and professional services.