A Few Good Things About Native Advertising

Native advertising has gotten a bad rap — and perhaps for good reason. First, people complained it wasn’t labeled well enough on publishers’ sites and looked quite like editorial content.  That’s a no-no.

Then there was the issue of measuring the ROI on native. What are the KPIs? Each marketer/publisher seems to have different ones.

But I can think of some advantages. First, native content in whatever form — video, text, infographics, games, etc. — is often excellent. It’s a good read, an entertaining experience. 

It’s not as annoying as other forms of advertising, right?  The content is often quite relevant -- compelling and contextually relevant.

Native advertising, sponsored content or brand journalism — or whatever you want to call it — is often interesting and more acceptable to consumers who are thoroughly annoyed by having to "x" out of all the pop-ups and takeovers.  When a so-called premium publisher produces the native content, it’s often read.

Native ads can be easier to track and monitor. You can readily see consumer engagement. The cost for native advertising can be a bit lower than other forms of digital inventory, though campaigns have become quite elaborate and video production can be expensive.

In terms of media buying, programmatic native, especially video/mobile, is on the rise. I'm waiting to see how that shakes out. Are marketers buying native programmatically? Let me know who's doing that.

Native ad campaigns can help brand marketers create emotional bonds and connections with consumers and raise brand profile on specific issues. The campaigns can offer helpful tips, inspiring ideas and jumping-off points — news you can use. The content might get you thinking. And for marketers, native is another tool in the marketing arsenal.

In short, native advertising has a lot of great uses. Now, I’d like to see more marketers and publishers come forward to talk about the specific ROI for their campaigns.

And one thing I’m betting on: That word “native” will be retired within six months to a year.

2 comments about "A Few Good Things About Native Advertising".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, December 8, 2015 at 11:18 a.m.

    Not as annoying? That seems like faint praise.

  2. Michael Kelly from GigaMarketing/Communication, December 8, 2015 at 2:33 p.m.

    We like to give things new names when old ones dont seem to work as well as before.  Advertising was one of the old ones.  So we went to marketing for a while: social marketing, content marketing, relationship marketing and such.  They, also, ran out of gas.  So, um, let's go back to advertising.  Let's see, people dont like being sold to; they think its biased and put up their guard.  So let's make it look like something they trust: like editorial, from real journalists and other people! Let's call it infomercials! Or product placement! No, buyers have caught on with those.  We need a new word: Trojan Advertising? Hidden advertising? Disguised Advertising? Ads with Sugar?  Content advertising? None of these work. But native advertising?  What IS that? Does that make advertising as a profession better or just cover up its failings, once again?  People, like us, will eventually see through it, lower its effectiveness and raise the noise level, once again, further convincing us that all advertising is not to be trusted.  Its a race to the bottom for the industry.  The challenge to the true professionals, the true creatives, the real leaders now is to rethink from the outside in and stop talking to ourselves with things that seem so important to us and so mindless to us as consumers.  Native advertising is simply a way to hide intent. Is this meant to inform and help me or is it intended to sell something I may not want.  No matter what it is called, intent has to be transparent to allow the prospect to make a good decision for her or him.  If you have to hide the intent, it probably isn't trying to do that.   

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