Tuesday, 26 March 2013 03:32

Native Advertising – What's all the buzz about?

For the past few months I have been hearing the word “native advertising” around the industry. Until recently, it seemed to be just a new buzzword and I questioned all the hype, as did a number of others. Hearing it more and more often led to curiosity, so I began to dig a little deeper...

What is native advertising?

There doesn't seem to be one universal definition but instead a number of them with a similar theme – providing quality content to consumers by making it an integral or organic part of their user experience which does not upset the flow of that experience. The most popular examples of this are sponsored stories on Facebook and promoted accounts on Twitter.

Some prefer to call this method of advertising more of an organic brand experience because it is meant to be just that. For example, a sponsored story on Facebook is just another part of a users newsfeed. While it is from a source outside the users network, the post does not call attention to itself, instead easily blending in to friend's and other brand's posts.

The Debate:

So why the negativity when it come to native advertising? Deception. The argument is that when you are ingraining your advertisements into the user experience so much so that they can not tell the piece is an ad, it is deceptive. From what I can tell, however, that is not what native ads are about. Unlike pop-ups and banners that consumers find irritator and obtrusive, native ads work to blend in and become a much more pleasing experience for the consumer. Since native ads are also very content driven, there have also been claims the method is just content marketing or advertorials.

In some ways native ads are very similar to these older methods and the comparison is not off. Whatever you want to call it – native advertising, advertorials, content marketing, or organic brand experiences – this form of advertising is reaching for the goal of creating good, relevant content that is seamless and unobtrusive with the user experience. For now however, the debate and buzz about native advertising continues... Here is a great infographic that helps to clarify the strategy behind native advertising.

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