I'm Feeling Native -- Now What?

Everyone is talking about native advertising these days, yet a real definition has not been determined. As such, it’s up to each content publisher to define how they plan to execute a native approach that works best for their audience.  

“Native” isn’t a 180 from our current advertising methods, but merely a rethink on how we grow our consumer/ brand relationship.  Below are four ways to start thinking about “native.” These are by no means rules for success or an exhaustive “how-to,” but merely some general guidelines to get your creative juices flowing.

1.   Create sponsored content that is actionable and adds value to your consumers’ lives.

2.   Explore new ad formats and platforms that pull in content from sponsors and their communities while showcasing brand highlights and positive consumer experiences.

3.   Ensure sponsored content experiences can be owned by your advertisers, when applicable, to allow their brand to showcase this content on their consumer interfaces as well.



4.   Seamlessly integrate the above experiences within your editorial, while respecting your audience enough to call out the sponsored nature of the content. This leaves it up to users to decide how they want to engage with that sponsored content.

In this age of Big Data and hyper-targeting, premium publishers are not only layering in ways to more efficiently and effectively reach brand partners’ desired audiences, but also continuing to explore new ways to authentically bring brand partners into the conversation with our consumers at scale. As every great publication knows, the user needs to come first.  

The editorial integrity of your content has to be the primary focus, as today’s digital consumer is savvier than ever.  Consumers have more online content providers to choose from than ever before, so if a reader feels like your content isn’t editorially authentic and credible, you run the risk of losing them to a competitor. Balancing content credibility with advertisers’ growing desire to be more deeply integrated within the editorial story is the real challenge.

In conjunction with branding efforts through traditional display, targeted content of real value to top prospects is what ultimately helps buyers make decisions. Brands are starting to explore how to successfully join in the content creation and curation space, in an effort to add real value to their consumers’ lives beyond just the products they create.

Successful digital advertising remains a moving target. No other medium is tasked with creating more “measureable” success than ours --  but thankfully, it is this consistent progression that makes working in this space so incredibly dynamic and rewarding!

1 comment about "I'm Feeling Native -- Now What? ".
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  1. Guy Cookson from Respond, September 6, 2013 at 10:47 a.m.

    This is a good summary of the issues at hand with native advertising. I particularly agree with "the editorial integrity of your content has to be the primary focus" - after all, that's why your readers are there in the first place, and it's their attention that advertisers are paying for.

    - Guy Cookson, CMO, Respond (

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