Publishers embraced native advertising in a big way in 2015 as evidenced by a 518 percent growth in direct sold impressions run through Sharethrough For Publishers.
The largest growth came from publishers' mobile websites and apps. Video was one of the fastest growing creative types for impressions sold directly by publishers with sponsored editorial also seeing very strong gains.
"Sharethrough's native solution has improved the user experience across the Under Armour community platform," said Tauseef Raza, head of publisher monetization for Under Armour. "The partnership with Sharethrough has unlocked incremental opportunities for both Under Armour and our brand partners to engage with the consumer in an authentic voice."
Direct-sold impressions in SFP grew 518 percent in 2015.
As the largest independent software platform for native ad monetization, Sharethrough helps major publishers like Forbes, Men's Health, People, Thought Catalog, Scripps Networks Interactive, Warner Bros. and USA Today Sports, sell native ads themselves, trafficking more than 10,000 creatives through 3,000 campaigns in 2015.
Twenty fifteen was a year of growth, but also a year of settling into a new normal. Native has become a material part of publishers’ businesses, as traditional publishers like The New York Times and The Atlantic made headlines for going big on native, while native-only publishers like BuzzFeed continued to flourish.
The numbers show a clear sign that native ads are here to stay, and not just a fad.
"Native isn’t a shiny object," said Sharethrough President Patrick Keane. "This is unequivocally the future of media and advertising.”
As mobile continues to eclipse desktop for the majority of digital publishers, challenges have arisen in driving revenue from legacy online advertising formats such as display and preroll on their mobile properties because of issues with performance and negative consumer response.
"Sharethrough's vision is for a world where all advertising fits into the natural user experience of wherever it is placed," sad Sharethrough Cofounder and CEO Dan Greenberg. "We believe that done well, ads can be features, not foreign objects. The huge growth in usage of SFP is a testament to that vision becoming closer to reality."
Content publishers are now turning to native ads to drive revenue on their mobile properties. We're reporting 551% growth in native mobile ad impressions sold by publishers and 62 percent of all of our direct-sold native ad impressions were delivered on mobile websites and apps in 2015.
While native is most often connected to paid editorial content, advertisers also promoted social media and video content with Sharethrough. Video was another key area of growth for our advertisers, who spent 435 percent more on video than the previous year.
"Our partnership with Sharethrough now allows us to have more meaningful distribution of native offerings across our growing mobile channels," said Chris Lindquist, SVP National Sales at Warner Bros. "Warner Bros. Digital Media Sales has been aligning brands with seamless integrated opportunities for years on our digital platforms such as TMZ.com."