Native advertising has quickly become one of the most popular and effective forms of advertising, particularly for B2B brands.
According to a Sharethrough and IPG Media Lab study, which surveyed 4,770 consumers on their responses to native ad formats (with some of the participants agreeing to have their eye movements tracked as they looked at different arrangements of ads and content) consumers are 25% more likely to look at a native ad than they are a banner ad. In fact, they look at them 53% more frequently and check them out 4.1 times per session on average, versus 2.7% for standard banners.
With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that native advertising is considered one of the top ad formats by most companies. In fact, eMarketer recently estimated that U.S. advertisers will boost spending on native ads by 25% this year, reaching $43.9 billion.
My company, advertising intelligence and sales enablement platform MediaRadar, took a close look at B2B brands advertising online with native content. For the study, we analyzed our own data and spoke with our B2B clients for unique insights.
Here’s what we found.
More B2B brands advertised with native content in 2018
As we analyzed B2B brands advertising with native content in 2018, our deep dive revealed that native content was a high-growth area for the B2B space. In fact, we found that the number of advertisers buying native ads on B2B platforms increased quarter-over-quarter, every quarter throughout the year.
Comparing native, mobile, video and display ads
When compared to mobile, video and display advertising, we saw that native experienced the highest rate of increase, with a growth rate of more than 50% year-over-year. In contrast, mobile only saw a 20% increase year-over-year. That was followed by video with a jump of 13% and display with just an 11% bump.
However, even though display ads saw the lowest year-over-year rise in the number of advertisers, it remains the most common ad format used by B2B. More than 95% of brands advertising in B2B media were buying display ads in both 2017 and 2018, according to our findings.
Even with the high growth rate, native ad buying remains a rare behavior for the B2B advertiser, with only 7% of companies buying the format in 2018, leaving plenty of room for growth.
Who’s buying native advertising?
The analysis also identified the industries which bought the most native placements in 2018. According to our data, media, finance, and technology companies bought the most. And the B2B space saw the highest increase in the number of buyers of all online ad formats. In addition, realtors, legal services, and technology recruiting companies were the top categories to drive increases in native B2B advertising.
Native advertising is here to stay
Native advertising reached an apex in 2018, particularly for B2B brands, serving as one of the highest-growth areas in the space. But there is no end in sight. Based on the study, native advertising currently serves as one of the more stable and reliable forms of advertising, especially when compared to mobile, video and display.
Native content has developed and matured over time, experiencing its highest growth rate year-over-year, increasing purchase intent. Its performance only proves that native is thriving and here to stay.