The industry may be on the verge of a native ad boom, with European spend on the channel tipped to increase 156% over the next five years, accounting for 52% of total display advertising by 2020.

Findings were announced at Mobile World Congress, and form part of a body of research into the ad format by Yahoo and Enders Analysis.

Based on a combination of industry data and interviews with media and agency leaders, the two groups predict native advertising’s growth across the continent could account for €13.2 billion in ad spend by 2020.

Changing user habits

According to the report, native advertising’s rapid growth will arrive as advertisers address changes in consumer behaviour, as users increasingly take to mobile devices and social networks when consuming content.

Mobile is attributed as a primary driving force behind this ramped-up spend, accounting for roughly two thirds (66.6%) of the total €8.8 billion – roughly six times what was spent on mobile advertising last year.

Additionally, social networks are in line to see a 300% growth in native ad spend by 2020, from €2 billion to €6.3 billion, while in-stream video will enjoy a two-fold increase in investment, reaching €5.1 billion by 2020.

An ad-blocking solution

The report also notes that native advertising could provide a means of circumventing ad blockers, especially relevant given mobile network Three’s potentially precedential decision to block ads across its service within the UK and Italy.

“Native advertising looks like a rare win-win for the industry: more effective for advertisers, more valuable for publishers and more acceptable for users,” commented Joseph Evans, digital media analyst at Enders Analysis.