The Good and Evil of Native Advertising

Good native ads are content that’s about the reader, watcher, or listener. But ultimately there’s an actionable goal for the advertiser, Like opt-in to get a free report from New Rainmaker. – Brian

Native Advertising is paid content that matches a publications editorial standards while meeting the audience’s expectation. It is a form of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. The quality and scalability of native advertising means it is filling the gap between brand publishing and banner adverts. They don’t have a clear definition. Different technologies have tried to paint native ads under names like Sponsored listings, promoted posts or online advertorials but there are some definite differences. Native advertising have emerged because of the sharp rise in ad blocking. It works with the theory that if an ad is harder to identify as an ad, it would perform better against ad blockers.

The role of native content isn’t just to drive clicks etc. but rather to create and nurture an emotional and engaged response between reader, publisher and advertising partner. Native Advertising requires a client that is committed to the project and who is willing to work collaboratively and dedicate time, effort and resource. The core of Native advertising is deeply rooted in content. It is all about content or report that is derived from the perspective of the consumer – what engages him, what he’s passionate about and what his experiences tell them.

A great example of how a Car Brand can leverage native advertising. BMW publishes an article “Can we guess where you’ll be in 10 years”. They want their customers to look to the future and that they help their customers to get there, a quick simple quiz as a part of a wider execution. It increases brand/product awareness and supplement content marketing in amplification. It drives traffic to your website or landing page boost lead generation and sales. It helps in positioning a brand image in the consumers mind. It also drives the consumers to take one particular action. Native advertisements provide useful and interesting information to the customers as compare to the traditional advertisements. It is targeted online advertisement which is more cost efficient rather than the traditional advertisements. Native advertisements focuses more on customer’s attention and have a higher perception than the more traditional forms of advertisements, such as banner ads, billboards, commercials, etc. For example, Facebook and Twitter both integrate native ad placements directly into users’ content feeds with Sponsored Stories.

Most people today are blind to most traditionally advertising, which means they just don’t see them because they are automatically blanked out. The way that native advertising appears is less intrusive and doesn’t always look like an advertisement and thus it’s more often seen. The fact that the advertisements run only where similar content is seen means that the people who click through to your content are therefore better targeted and more likely to find your information helpful. Generally when compared to other forms of more traditional display advertising and banner ads, this is a much less expensive form of advertising. It offers a lower barrier to entry so that many different types of businesses can take advantage of this form of advertising.

Unfortunately, the biggest benefit of native digital ads is also their biggest drawback. That is, to the extent that the best native ads are customized for a given web publication and its audience, they become more difficult to produce and sell at scale. And if a publisher lacks a direct sales team and/or sufficient scale to be interesting to advertisers and agencies, it may have trouble monetizing the ad opportunities most native to its site. Many people who use native advertising use tricky headlines, and when a consumer clicks through they’re not happy, thus making it harder for more honest publishers to use native advertising. It’s guilt by association. Due to many dishonest and misleading headlines, native advertising as a whole can seem as unethical to some readers.

Often when a publisher allows native advertisements to appear on their website their traffic goes down, even as their revenue goes up. Sometimes people misuse native ads as if they’re like the old-fashioned advertorials that appear in print magazines. This is not a good use for native advertising. It has been found that Google penalizes publishers for including native advertising on its pages. However, Google is actually getting in on, native advertising itself so this may not be true. As Native advertising evolves, the consumers are not able to differentiate advertising from other content.

Native advertising can be confusing. If a reader has to wonder, even for a brief second, if it’s content or advertising, then the line is blurred. Manipulating advertising to read like content erodes the trust between the publisher and the reader. This, in turn, diminishes the power of native advertising.

One reason to tread carefully with native advertising is that Google considers deceptive advertorials a violation of its quality guidelines. Although there may be a small indication on the content letting viewers know it is a native ad, it is not always obvious to viewers. Especially considering that terms used include ‘Paid post’, a term that comes up on a lot of sponsored content but whose true definition is lost to the audience. It is also hard to figure out whether all or just part of the content was sponsored.

If you seek to always under promise and over deliver, your readers will never be disappointed when clicking through your native advertising to find what you have to tell them about. It all comes down to giving your customers what they want and to stop trying to sell to them, all the time.

Native advertising has been viewed as a valuable new source of revenue for new organizations struggling to make up for the decline of print advertising. The platform is relatively new and can be controversial. – Mr Sulzberger