Native Advertising: The Marketing Chameleon!

What is native advertising? It is an increasingly popular format for advertising. But what is it exactly? What does it look like? Where do you find it? There really is no one answer to these questions. Herein we find the beauty of native advertising. It is not just one thing. It can be almost anything. Native advertising is designed to look like the website or publication where it is being published. The format, size or design of your ad will vary based on where you place it.

While this may seem like a relatively new concept it is really just a modern take on print advertorials. In an advertorial a page or section of the publication is purchased by an advertiser, and packaged to look like the traditional content housed within the publication.

On Twitter it’s a tweet, in a magazine it’s an article. So an advertisement for a new prescription drug will be packaged to look like a magazine article. Today that prescription drug ad will be included in your Facebook newsfeed and could look like any normal post from your friend or family member. These ads are purchased by advertisers and strategically placed on the popular sites.

Native advertising is not without its critics. As this medium grows your ad sales team may be selling this product if you aren’t already. Consider these selling points for native ads:

  • The Blurred editorial/advertising line: Depending on your perspective this can be a pro or a con of the medium. They were created to be less intrusive than other digital ad mediums, but in some cases it can be difficult to tell what is an article and what is in fact an ad
  • Conflicts of Interest: As with any format it is worth mentioning to beware of sponsored content from companies who might impact your organization’s credibility or perception by others. Primarily, again, because it is often so hard to distinguish a native ad from real editorial content.
  • Pair ads with relevant and complementary content: A good way to reach your targeted reader is to place your native ads in places they are looking. If you are selling a sports product, feature your native ad close to an article related to an athlete or sporting event. 

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Native Advertising: The Marketing Chameleon