Native advertising's recent hype has contributed to its growing footprint from in-feed advertising to promoted search results to sponsored content. Most of these newly categorized ad units are monetized using common online advertising conventions: impressions, clicks, and affiliates. One of these formats, sponsored content, however, appears to be the exception, with no department wishing to claim it, no set pricing standards, and no criteria for success.
In the early days of Internet display advertising, standards -- including standard banner ad dimensions, tracking methodologies, and delivery verification -- helped make it easier for big ad spenders to shift dollars away from other more established media.. Most of all, standards took a significant amount of pain out of the process of planning, buying and selling digital advertising. That same dynamic, and need, is asserting itself in the world of native advertising now.
The success of a display campaign is relatively easy to understand: Was there sufficient ROI tied to it? Native ads that deliver on existing KPIs can be judged on the same basis. However, native advertising presents a truly cognizable way for branding dollars to work effectively. To actually yield branding impact, native advertising campaigns must deliver on two key metrics: brand clarity and brand messaging.
With so many formats falling under the umbrella native advertising, it's hard to understand what exactly it is. The term is hot, causing its overuse, just like the terms social media, big data, and gamification. Every site and ad campaign seems to employ some aspect of social media or big data, even if it's after the fact. And every advertising format wants to be native.