How have we moved on from digital and paid social, and how did we get here?
Digital advertising has grown exponentially over the last decade, and for a variety of reasons, from technological advancements like new platforms, to the ever changing consumer attention span and level of information retention. As i’m sure you can appreciate, there is a significant amount of legislation now surrounding the advertising space, and there are several reasons and many layers as to why this iss, including slander, misappropriated information, and data protection. However at the rate the industry is growing, this legislative changes will inevitably be flailing behind! In the Influencer Marketing Space for example, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) state that all users must be made aware when they are being advertised to, and it must be clear that content has been paid for.
It’s clear that we’ve seen a significant rise in influencer marketing, hence these new changes and updates in advertising law and the way authoritative bodies govern content, but why have we seen this rise? This is Inevitably down to the changes in how consumers are willing to be advertised to; Digital advertising has become increasingly intrusive, and as the market has become more and more densely populated online, the fight has become more about just getting your content in front of your audience, and less about the impact it’ll have once it gets there.
There have been several attempts to remedy this market wide issue, including interactive ads from the likes of Ikea and banner ad games that we’ve all inevitably had some experience with! The issue these faced is that as consumers are gradually becoming more and more invested into why a business does what they do, over what it is they sell, this blind/faceless selling gives the impression that a company is making a conscious effort to push a product in front of the consumer without any consideration into their response. This arguably damages their brand image, and puts consumers off, the adverse effect to what was intended!
On the back of this growth and change in the industry, consumers are ever more reluctant to be advertised to and reluctant to respond to something where they feel targeted purely for their monetary value. To act on this neglect, more and more consumers are reliant on ad-blockers; according to a study by Statista, 41.5% of participants use ad blockers on desktop devices in the UK alone. So given those figures, how are we meant to reach people who block ads and aren’t willing to be advertised to?
Native Media Advertising, by definition, is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed. It’s very different from paid social because that content comes from the brand’s account, and doesn’t follow the natural form of the UX; native media is more likely to instill trust and advocacy, and has a much higher level of engagement.
Native media is traditionally a lot more successful than paid media. This is because research from Havas Media and Nielson tells us that only 22% of brands are trusted, and that 74% of people trust social media to inform their purchase decisions; these statistics tell us that the public’s attention and time is being dedicated to social media, and that a degree of trust is being placed upon public figures online, with 6 out of every 10 teens following advice from influencers over that of traditional celebrities.
A strong example of native media advertising comes from Joel Mcloughlin, or @Gallucks as he’s known on instagram; He boasts 8% engagement, and if you look at his feed, can you tell from his profile what is sponsored content from afar? No? That’s because it is much less intrusive than a large portion of advertising today, it’s done very strategically, slots very naturally within the flow of his feed, and within his niche of mens streetwear and high fashion.
To wrap up, however many technological advancements there are, and as much as the industry develops, with new mediums, new competition, and new forms of content, we can’t lose sight of how much our audience is changing, and we must adapt to where audiences are putting their attention, which in today’s landscape, is within influencer content.