SaveSave story

Online ad spending going native

Most of the money spent on digital display advertising will soon go to native ads — where the advertising is designed to look like editorial content — according to a new eMarketer forecast. That kind of ad spending has grown to $22 billion, most of it spent on social-media platforms.

Why this matters: A recent survey found that trust in ads is rising while trust in news sinks. Ads that are designed to look like news could confuse readers.

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it's happening: Publishers are creating more native ads because other types of digital display advertising aren't working. Advertisers are reacting to the rise of ad blockers and increased frustration with banner ads. And Google and Facebook are eating the digital display market, leaving publishers no choice but to try to monetize through engagement with native ads instead of trying to reach the most viewers with broad display ads.

Mike Allen 15 hours ago
SaveSave story

A huge clue about Mueller's endgame

Robert Mueller testifies before Congress in 2013. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Axios has learned that special counsel Robert Mueller has focused on events since the election — not during the campaign — in his conversations with President Trump's lawyers. The top two topics that Mueller has expressed interest in so far: the firings of FBI director James Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Why it matters: That suggests a focus on obstruction of justice while in office, rather than collusion with Russia during the campaign. But both sagas are interwoven with Russia: Trump himself has linked Comey's firing to Russia, and Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition.

Amy Harder 16 hours ago
SaveSave story
Column / Harder Line

The swamp’s tug-o-war over America’s ethanol mandate

American eagle with corn in its claws
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A biofuels standard Congress passed more than a decade ago in the name of rural development, energy security and climate change has devolved into an arcane fight over market share that has nothing to do with those initial three goals.

Why it matters: The law — called the renewable fuel standard that requires refineries to blend biofuels into gasoline — is a textbook example of how regulations create winners, losers and unintended consequences.