In spite of concerns about transparency, sponsored content has continued to grow in popularity: In 2015, almost two-thirds of marketers surveyed by the Association of National Advertisers said they will increase their native ad budgets. Market research firm Statista projected 4.3 billion in native advertising spend in 2015, which it expects to more than double to 8.8 billion in 2018.
However, it's still the smallest part of marketers' spending plans, at only about 5 percent.
What's holding the format back? For one thing, many marketers said they don't fully understand how it works or what it is. And there are also competing desires to increase transparency and also present advertising content in such a way that it's hard to discern from editorial. Concerns about relevancy and how best to measure the success of the tactic also present challenges, noted the ANA study.