Time Inc. has announced its intention to double down on its native advertising. In a July 2016 announcement, the media company declared its intentions to restructure its editorial and advertising system, including an uptick in the use of native advertising. Native advertising is a type of disguised advertising, in which paid promotional messages mimic the style of the publication where they are placed.
The CEO of Time Inc., Joe Ripp, explained that native branding solutions have provided a large revenue stream for the company. Time has been producing native advertising since 2014 in an effort to improve profits. Print magazines have been suffering circulation and profit loss for many years, as readers turn to online content, and advertisers distribute the greatest share of their budget to online ads.
Time Inc. is not alone. Major newspapers such as the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and The Washington Post have been using native advertising as well.
Why Go Native?
Native ads have always appealed, but they are especially suited to the digital age. They started way back when radio programs interviewed their sponsors to learn about their businesses. Later, magazines would include advertorials, or paid advertising that looked like editorial content.
Native ads have higher level of engagement than traditional ads, perhaps because their content beckons readers to read more instead of skim. Because they match the feel of the surrounding content, native ads meet the interests of their target audiences.
Additionally, native ads avoid ad blockers because their software does not recognize this type of content as ads—at least for the time being. Advertisers can rest assured that native ads will appear on people’s tablets and smartphones instead of being sucked into the nether of ad blockers.
Native advertising also performs well on social media. Some experts argue that on apps such as Twitter, the only way for advertisers to reach their audiences is native advertising.
Spread of Native Advertising
According to a study by IHS, a global information company, native advertising is booming, and the trend is spreading throughout the world. By 2020, native advertising will account for 63.2
percent of all advertising on mobile devices, worldwide. In the Asia-Pacific region, spending on native advertising will grow at a rate of 177 percent annually between 2015 and 2020.
IHS also found that user engagement with native ads is far higher than engagement with banner ads. Consumers tend to ignore banner ads and click on native ads.
Consumers are annoyed by and ignore pop-up ads, which interfere with their consumption of content. Inversely, they look favorably upon ads that not only refrain from interfering but actually complement their content-consumption experience. Given that, Time Inc.’s decision to increase native ads is a strong and relevant response to the current climate.