We’re tracking native content teasers on over 20 of the bigger Swedish websites. These are our key stats from June and July 2020.

Summer: around 25% fewer native articles – but higher user engagement than last year

This year’s summer was of course – due to Covid-19 – somewhat special in the native market in Sweden as well. In June and July, activity was around 25% lower than in the same months of 2019.

We tracked a total of around 350 sponsored posts from ca. 150 advertisers. 1 in 3 advertisers chose to run native articles on more than one site, or a network of sites.

Below are the top advertisers in true native for Sweden in summer 2020:

On a positive note, over 80 brands started using true native during the period, or took up their activity again after having run earlier.

Higher user engagement on native articles compared to 2019

Another very positive note is that, as already in the first quarter, also during Q2 (April to June) average active read times on native articles have increased compared to last year.

So despite these special times in the market, user engagement on native articles remains very strong.

How has engagement on key native topics developed during Corona times*?

Based on the read time analysis above, we also took a deep dive in our data to see how engagement in different topics developed during the first months of 2020, compared to 2019.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, as many people spent more time at home both before summer (“#homeoffice”) and during their holidays (“#staycation, #swemester etc”), sponsored content around Home & Garden saw a significant increase in active read times.

On the other side of the scale, Travel related native articles drove much lower engagement – despite some advertisers creatively adjusting their messaging, as in the SJ example further down in the “campaign highlights” session.

Automotive – historically the category with among the longest read times – saw a smaller decrease as people seemed to be more interested by Business and Personal Finance topics in recent months. It is not surprising to see that readers are more interesting in reading about especially Personal Finance and savings related content.

Given the turbulent ups and downs in the economic and financial fields which were caused by Covid-19 in recent times, people seem to be increasingly open to informing and educating themselves more about the situation, seeking guidance – a perfect situation for brands in the area to step in as experts.

*It is of course not always only or mainly Covid-19 that is the root cause of these developments, but the pandemic and its broad effects are certainly a major factor in the native market and online user engagement recently.

Another development we have followed during the last month is how Corona / Covid-19 and its effects are reflected in native articles. During March for example, almost 1 in 10 native articles somehow referred to Corona, Covid-19 or its effects (e.g. increased time in homeoffice etc).

But as the situation has evolved recently, including general media coverage and the sentiment among Swedes and abroad, it seems at least the native market is already approaching a “new normal” for now: the share of articles referring to Corona / Covid-19 has steadily decreased month by month.

Looking forward to fall, it will be interesting to follow how user engagement as well as of course the native and overall online advertising markets will develop further.

Interesting campaign highlights

Visit Denmark is also among the travel related brands – in this case cross-border – that have started running native again.

Tele2 running a few articles on 5G, recently having launched in more and more areas in Sweden.

Car brand Dacia was a newcomer in the Swedish true native space in the very active Automotive segment – seeming to niche themselves in towards pet owners as one target group.