Native advertising was all the rage this past year, as online publishers and marketers grappled for new (or repackaged) ways to get the attention of ad-weary consumers. Brands and publishers created entire divisions to produce the ads that mimic editorial content, while vendors sprang up to try to scale their distribution. The IAB took steps to demystify the format by offering standardized language, while watchdog agency FTC raised concerns about the potential for consumers to be deceived by the ads. We asked some active users of the form to predict what’s up ahead in 2014 for the trend.

Matt Turck, publisher, Slate: Custom experiences will continue to grow in 2014; however, advertisers will demand a better understanding of how custom helps their marketing efforts. Creating great content is essential, but expect an increased focus on the metrics and what those metrics really mean moving forward. For scale and economic reasons, more advertisers will create their own content and simply use publishers as distribution systems. And, effectively adapting the custom experience to mobile is a must next year, if it isn’t already. Clarity in demarcating custom content will remain strong with credible publishers, but vary by publisher, as will format, promotion, style, etc. It should, as it is customized to meet specific needs for brands, environments, consumers and advertisers.

Kevin Gentzel, chief revenue officer, The Washington Post: 2014 will see the emergence of the “native product.” Native products are start-to-finish collaborations between news, technology and advertising that take content marketing beyond text, images and video. They leverage tools, platforms and technologies for a better user experience and greater audience engagement. If display advertising and programmatic buying are about scale, native products are about deepening relationships with a more targeted audience.

Mike Kisseberth, chief revenue officer, TechMedia Network: With the recent release of the IAB’s Native Ad Playbook, we’ll see continued standardization of native ads and native ad serving.  Disclosure and transparency in native advertising will continue to be top-of-mind for the industry. Expect stronger guidelines and standards to be considered by the FTC in the New Year, with the industry encouraging self-regulation, as seen with the IAB’s playbook.

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