In 2014 and early 2015, Gartner placed Native Advertising at the peak of its Inflated Expectations section of its Digital Marketing Hype Cycle – which makes sense when you go back and look at some of the trade press coverage of Native back then:
Nearly Two-Thirds of Marketers Plan to Increase Native-Ad Spending in 2015, Ad Age, 2015
Spending on native advertising is soaring as marketers and digital media publishers realize the benefits, BI Insider, 2014
Will Native Advertising Kill Google And The Banner Ad? Media Post, 2014
Gartner suggests that new technologies go through what they refer to as the hype cycle – which means the technology is triggered in to being, then hyped beyond all belief, before some predictable disappointment kicks in. The period of disappointment becomes a lull, which gives the technology or service providers some time to iron out glitches and hopefully, move along Gartner’s hype cycle path and up what they refer to as the ‘slope of enlightenment’ and finally on to its ‘plateau of productivity’. The plateau is often where it reaches some sort of critical mass, widespread adoption and uniform results delivery.
So back in 2014, influenced by the exaggeration of the industry, forward thinkers and early adopters began experimenting with Native advertising to see what it could do for their brands. (Done right, native can deliver educated customers, massive scale and highly measurable results.)
But by the creation of Gartner’s 2015 hype cycle, Native advertising was migrating from inflated expectations, toward the dreaded trough of disillusionment. In part this could be because, whenever expectations are high, the reality often feels anti-climactic, even when results are good. It’s like your birthday present when you were a kid – you dreamt about it for weeks, thought it would never arrive and then so quickly got over it once it was finally here. You wanted some other new, shiny object instead.
That said, Native advertising can come with some challenges (challenges that the Tapstone approach completely overcomes, but that’s the exception in the industry, rather than the rule!), such as losing potential customers by sending them to a third party site to view the full advertorial.
These challenges, and the lack of solutions provided by many of Tapstone’s competitors, has likely meant that those bold, early testers and adopters, were often left disappointed, or not quite realizing the full potential of Native and worst of all, they perhaps thought they had seen it at its best.
So here we are in 2016. Expectations for Native remain high but Gartner predicts it’ll be 2-5 more years before Native reaches mass adoption.
Some companies that have been disappointed by sub-par trials in the past, will undoubtedly wait until mass adoption takes place before looking (again) in to Native. But that’s a lot of time to
leave potential competitive advantage on the table. Tapstone has clients right now that are using its unique Native for Direct Response platform to achieve some incredible results such as a 10x increase in ‘in-market’ customers over the past 10 months!
So, the old saying, ‘the best things come to those who wait’’, is certainly misleading when it comes to the adoption of Native advertising.