Understanding the power of native ads


August 23, 2019

The study background

Børsen wanted to understand how native ads could be used as a viable advertisement approach through their platform. Here, they collaborated with the market research company Wilke and Neurons to conduct more than 1.000 interviews, using a combined survey and consumer neuroscience approach.Participants were asked to read through different newspaper materials. During this, they were exposed to different types of advertising on the news page, including articles that contained advertisements (native ads) or inserted ads (traditional ads). This was also compared to advertisements on social media, either through Børsen or through the advertiser's own page.Participants were measured with eye-tracking and EEG brain monitoring to assess their attentional, emotional, and cognitive responses. In addition, participants were given brand memory tests after the ad exposures (after a distraction break) to measure their brand memory.

Three newspapers stacked next to each other next to a mug of tea.

Native ads findings

While we tested four types of ads, we will only focus on two here: promotional ads that are written as a regular newspaper article (Article) and articles that have a "sponsored by" label in the article (Native ad).When comparing the two types of ads, it is clear that there are both emotional, cognitive and behavioral differences, as shown by the spider plot below:

This plot shows that native ads produce higher emotional motivation and brand memory, but readers also experience the ad more as an ad.Conversely, Articles were found to have a higher level of trustworthiness.Both article types showed comparable levels of visual attention and cognitive load, suggesting that the article types did not differ in terms of what people saw and how much they processed the contents of the ads.

Spider plot of ad types.

The role of native ads

Over the past years, advertisers have reportedly become more dependent on native advertising. As many as 52% of news media executives from 53 countries report that around 36% of their revenue will come from native advertising.The present study supports native advertising as a viable method of showing ads since it produces boosts in important areas of companies' brand-building strategy. By using Native ads advertisers can ensure higher emotional responses and brand memory, but they should consider the possible backside of readers being more aware that they are reading an ad. In today's marketing landscape, having the audience more aware that they are exposed to ads can also be seen as a positive thing.

A pair of hands holding a newspaper.

Further reading

Here is an interview with Mike Storm, Chief Operating Officer of Neurons Inc. about the study (in Danish):

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