In partnership with RhythmOne, Digiday recently released its State of the Industry report, “Moving Beyond Programmatic Display”.  In the must-read report, 130 programmatic professionals weighed in on their buying habits and attitudes towards video, rich media and native advertising. Native advertising revealed itself to be an interesting topic.

In the report, we found that the very definition of native advertising is not universally understood. Most native programmatic buyers consider native advertising to be sponsored content (75 percent), in-feed ads (64 percent) and recommendation or content widgets (53 percent). The focus of these definitions seems to be within the stream of the publisher page or social feed, with most of the above forms of native advertising using those platforms for the brunt of their distribution. This, in turn, makes them more attractive to buyers, as 59 percent of native programmatic buyers point to the less disruptive and invasive nature of native as the key driver in usage.

What makes this interesting is that the IAB defines native as all of the formats in the above chart. Expanding our understanding of what constitutes “native” may help, but the real creative opportunity here is to take better advantage of in-feed, content widgets and native banners.

This type of advertising is clearly on the rise. According Business Insider, native display will make up 74% of total US display ad revenue by 2021, up from a 56% share in 2016. Demand for native is up 262% in the last 19 months according MediaRadar’s analysis. Last month, 2,265 advertisers purchased native and each month, 610 new advertisers run native ads. Fantastic news for publishers, but it does come with some growing pains.

For example, while there is quality inventory, the amount of inventory right now is more limited than display. Producing quality native ads also tends to not only cost more but also requires a shift in marketing mindset. But perhaps the biggest issue for both publishers and brands is that content marketing guidelines such as those from the IAB, and more importantly the FTC are getting stricter. According to a recent study by MediaRadar, 70% of websites would not be compliant as per FTC’s latest guidelines. Usually it’s because the labeling is too subtle or in the wrong location. Something easily fixed and a topic I’ve written about recently in MarketingLand.

Given the rise in ad blockers, it’s of no surprise that native advertising, as a means of circumventing some of the impact, is a hot topic being discussed at various conferences this year. To learn more about what the 130 programmatic professionals surveyed in the Digiday report had to say about native, in addition to the takeaways on video and rich media, download the State of the Industry report here