IAB Content and Native Conference

Last Wednesday the IAB hosted their second Content and Native conference at the Congress Centre in central London. The one day event gave insight into what’s driving the change towards content and native advertising from an audience perspective and featured seminar sessions from a range of industry figure heads.

Clare O’Brien, Senior Programmes Manager at the IAB opened the one day conference highlighting the importance of content and native advertising in today’s digital world; with the ability to serve adverts dynamically and seamlessly online. What was clear from the outset of the conference was the importance of your audience. Today’s digital media audience are savvy and smart shoppers, actively choosing what they do and don’t want to engage with online. As such, in the world of content and native, audience action and behaviour need to be placed at the centre of planners thinking.

Below I have shared key takeaways from two sessions which I found particularly insightful

  • Native disruption: native advertising is eating the world lead by, Francis Turner, MD, Adyoulike
  • The science behind native advertising lead by, Ally Stuart Senior Strategy Manager, Sharethrough

Content and Native is back in the driver’s seat!

“You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad” Francis Turner quoted in his seminar session on native advertising. With 57% of adults choosing to engage with a sponsored post or content, Turner explained how native advertising is converging with technology, creativity and data to radically change the marketing landscape as we know it.

The story was similar in Ally Stuart’s presentation on the science of native advertising. His seminar shared the results of a Neilson research survey which found native ads to have 52% more engagement than traditional banner ads. With 571 website launches per day, constant development of new tools and technology and a highly engaged consumer base, Stuart highlighted the overt opportunity for content and native advertising to engage with an active audience.

Immerse, Immerse, Immerse…

Turner highlighted the importance of immersive content when engaging with consumers online. “Native ads are read not just seen” and as such the advert needs to tell a truly engaging story to capture the attention of consumers. Consumers crave an immersive experience when reading and viewing content online and this is particularly true of millennials.

Content is king

Stuart highlighted that consumers pay more attention to the text in a native advert and as such content needs to be carefully considered.

The most effective advertising campaigns consider the audience- using emotive words and imagery which resonates with and immerses the consumer. Stuart suggested that brands should consider using context words in place of key words for headlines and ad copy, which immerse the consumer with emotionally engaging content. For example a holiday company could use “stop, take your shoes off, feel the sand and hear the waves for 15 seconds” rather than a price or brand driven headline.

Don’t forget the power of imagery

“It takes 9 times longer to move your eyes than to process an image” Ally Stuart, Senior Strategy Manager, Sharethrough shared. The more cues of experience in an image the more viewers will be able to mimic sensory inputs. Stuart gave the example of advertising a soft drink- rather than showing an image with the product face, how about considering imagery that the consumer can emotively relate to such as an image of product consumption.

The IAB Content and Native conference was a great one day conference which highlighted the importance of understanding your audience and the possibilities native and content advertising hold for the digital industry.


Sophie Parry-Billings

Sophie joined affilinet as a Marketing Executive in September 2013, after an internship in PR. She is responsible for pro the implementation of the UK marketing strategy and raising brand awareness through events, PR and online activity.

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