UK native advertising market growth driven by mobile and programmatic

UK native advertising market growth driven by mobile and programmatic
Liz Morrell is a freelance business journalist and content creator with more than 20 years writing experience, including 15 in retail and associated sectors. She is a regular contributor to MarketingTech but also covers a number of other industries in her freelance capacity. Contact her via LinkedIn or at


Mobile and programmatic advertising continue to be the two big areas for growth as the UK’s native advertising market develops, according to new research.

In a study of UK agency attitudes to native advertising nearly a quarter (24%) of agency native spend is predicted to be on mobile by the end of this year. Nearly two thirds (64%) said that they felt that native was the best way to address the creativity gap in mobile ads – with the main benefits of the medium being an improved user experience and higher engagement levels, according to the report.

The research, commissioned by native advertising platform Adyoulike, is the second annual study of the market by the company and shows that people are getting more serious than ever about native advertising. 16% of native advertising spend now comes from new dedicated budget – a figure that is more than twice that of last year when it was only 6%. Native is expected to account for around 18% of agencies total digital spend this year.

There is increased confidence in the market too as agencies feel the market is maturing with nearly two thirds (63%) saying that they were now very confident that the native market was well regulated – a figure that is nearly twice that of 2014 when it stood at 33%.

Much of the growth is being fuelled by the fact it addresses the creativity challenge in digital advertising it seems. Nearly two thirds (65%) said that this was native advertising’s fundamental role.

“A lot of the challenges that existed around native advertising last year, such as regulation and budget, have become less of an issue as brands and agencies fully grasp everything native can do for them,” said Francis Turner, managing director of Adyoulike.

“Currently many still see it as a way to beat ‘banner blindness’, but more and more agencies have realised what native can do to address the creativity gap. Native is a highly creative medium that offers brands and publishers a way to deliver high-value content at scale and this is particularly true on mobile,” said Turner.

Speaking directly with agency trading desks (ATDs) the study also showed that all those ATDs surveyed said that they saw programmatic native as a strong market opportunity although only an average of 8% of current budget is spent on it. Reducing costs and increase scalability were seen as the two main benefits of trading native ads programmatically. However the ATDs said that making native content contextually relevant sometimes proved a challenge. 

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