Native Advertising is the new buzz in town. And it is hardly surprising that we have just witnessed in Singapore the inaugural Native Advertising Summit organised by Asher Russell. This two-day event attracted over 300 delegates who heard presentations from Forbes Media, Twitter, BuzzFeed, Havas, Mashable, InMobi, Yahoo and Apple Daily. The organisers managed to find a good spread of speakers ranging from major print and digital publishers to ad agencies, from mobile ad networks to technical and creative support companies.

James Neufeld, CEO and Founder of SAM, as the host and panel leader, held the event together admirably.

James Neufeld
Mark Howard

The first keynote speaker was Mark Howard, Chief Revenue Officer of Forbes Media. It is heartening to know that an established and credible international publishing company such as Forbes is taking native advertising so seriously. Parry Singh, Managing Director of SEA, India and MENA for Twitter reminded the audience that native advertising could also exist in real time moments and backed it with several case studies.

Parry Singh
Keith Hernandez

Marketers are seeking to find stories which resonate with the audience and Keith Hernandez, VP of Global Advertising, BuzzFeed gave an interesting presentation and showed some great examples.

Interestingly, BuzzFeed, as well as Coconuts Media and Apple Daily are moving into production. They have already gone beyond writing editorial style content and have set up video production arms to assist brands. The advertising agencies could find the publishers competing with them in future.

Several other trends were revealed at Summit. Firstly, social media was driving much of the traffic to the content on the publishers’ sites and the home page has less importance for this reason. Secondly, the readers accessing via mobile continues to grow. It is estimated that mobile will, by 2018, make up 50% to 60% of digital advertising.

The publishers, those with a legacy of print publishing as well as the new digital publishers, are having to reinvent the newsroom and the processes. Apart from this, all of those represented at this Summit seem to have embraced technology which enables their organisation to monitor responses to native advertising (and editorial). This has become integral to the service they offer brands.

Keynote Panel Discussion
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