Do you remember back just a few years ago when it was much easier to advertise effectively on the social networks? You know, the time before everyone and their brother found out they could self-serve Facebook ads for their mom and pop business?

This year may very well be your last chance to capture that same golden opportunity with native advertising. We recently did a year-end survey to take the temperature of brands and agencies on how they were feeling about investing budget in native advertising heading into 2016. The response was crystal clear: 7 out of 10 planned to use native advertising this year and more than 80% of native advertisers were planning to increase their native ad budgets compared to 2015.

Business Insider says native ad spend is heading towards $21 billion in 2018, up from just $4.7 billion in 2013. Yes, the word is out, native is effective and 2016 might be the last time brands can cherry pick this low hanging fruit before it gets a little more crowded and complicated, like social.

Here are a few reasons to consider native advertising in 2016:

  1. Flexibility: Native ads can be executed successfully in many different content formats such as video, infographics or editorials.
  2. Engagement: Voluntary click-to-play videos (native) naturally get higher click-through rates and more earned media than “push” videos, such as pre-roll, which are forced on the user.
  3. Earned Media: Native videos are earned media goldmines. Giant sees 36% earned media lift, on average, per campaign that we run.
  4. Applicability: Whether you’re a B2C or B2B marketer, native works as long as you’re telling a compelling story with smart distribution. “It’s really appropriate for a wide range of brands,” says native ad pioneer David Segura. “If you’re really willing to push the envelope, or that’s already part of your brand DNA, you will likely do very well in the native advertising category because by definition, storytelling is a core part of the brand—and most likely—your brand strategy.”
  5. Scalability: Native advertising can deliver views and impressions at scale and because of its very nature, engagement is high.
  6. Measurability: While return on investment extends well beyond the traditional metrics, it starts with easily understandable measurables like clicks, shares, viewability metrics.
  7. Simplicity: Native doesn’t have to be hard. Consider working with an end-to-end partner like Giant Media or Buzzfeed, which not only have scalable native distribution but can also create the content and execute the whole campaign from start to finish.

The bottom line is native advertisers are increasing their spend and those brands who have been a little slower to adopt are indicating they cannot hold out any longer. If we learned anything from social advertising, we know it only gets harder as others catch on. 2016 may be your last chance to easily lift your campaigns with native advertising before it gets crowded and goes the way of social.