I believe native advertising is the best thing to happen to digital advertising since GM O'Connell's agency, Modem Media created the first banner ad that ran in Wired in 1994.
That seminal banner ad achieved a click-through rate of 43.2%. Ah, those were the days.
But back to the reality of today, which explains why I like native so much.
Because it tells a story... a story that, when told well, has the ability to engage a brand user in an immersive editorial experience.
That said, to reach its full potential native advertising has to follow the sequence of poker.
Table stakes: Full transparency between everyone concerned, especially the consumer.
Opening bid: A story that taps into the DNA of the brand and the medium it is being associated with.
Winning hand: A story so artfully created that it engenders brand engagement, which leads to brand loyalty -- beyond reason.Finally, shame on the great agency creative "artists" if they don't step up and tell native stories as brilliantly as they do other brand stories. It is an opportunity they can’t afford to squander.
Mike I respect this clear positioning on how Native can work -- I really do. Where this all comes apart is your point about "Table Stakes" -- we assume consumers take the time to read and understand what "sponsored" post means and that's a false assumption on our part and one we want to believe -- the truth is consumers read a publishers site with the inherent belief what is printed is credible and authentic without any bias -- once they start reading a "native ad" and then figure out it is driven by an advertiser -- they bail as quickly as possible and the respect for that publisher diminishes. Overt time this "native experience" will prove to be the opposite of what you claim -- it will actually kill the publishing industry and this death will be ruled a suicide. It's so interesting how we can both see the same thing in completely opposite ways -- again no disrespect to your views and I suspect you hold none to mine.
Ari/Mike: Maybe it’s someplace in the middle of the two positions. Have clients/agencies really tried to develop some “source credibility” for the brand’s native environment early in the process? Of the two key credibility dimensions, trustworthiness and competence, I’d offer that demonstrating “competence” is most often overlooked. Developing consumer perceptions of competence takes time and planning. Mike has a point about sloppy message construction being a real deal killer. Admittedly, for a certain population percentage any mention of sponsored yields a snake-oil (lack of trust) response and ill-conceived content doesn’t forward the mission. Jim