A study pitting native ads against banner ads has found the former attracting more attention and generating more lift. The study, conducted by IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough, leveraged both eye tracking technology and surveys to come to its conclusions, using leading brands across travel, CPG and entertainment verticals as test cases. Among the findings, consumers were 25% more likely to see native ads than banner ads (25% vs. 20%), looking at the native ads 52% more frequently (4.1 times per session, compared to 2.7). Notably, consumers looked at native ads at a slightly higher rate than the original editorial content, spending almost the same amount of time doing so.
That may be due to an inability to discern between the two. According to survey results released in November 2012 by MediaBrix, two-thirds of respondents felt misled by advertorials (sponsored editorial appearing in both online and in print).
That study didn’t elaborate on to what extent the misleading nature of those ads had a negative impact on the survey respondents. But, according to the IPG and Sharethrough study, native ads resonated with the study participants. In fact, lift in brand favorability was 9% points higher for native ads than for banner ads (32% vs. 23%), while the boost was even more significant for purchase intent (52% lift vs. 34%).
Given that they found native ads to be more engaging, it’s not surprising that respondents were almost 70% more likely to say they’d share a native ad with a friend or family ad than share a banner ad (32% vs. 19%).
About the Data: The study was conducted with 4,770 participants. Eye-tracking technology was used on 200 consumers.