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Native advertising can cause a bit of a headache. The IAB is yet to offer a definition of the phrase, which is being used in a rather flexible manner by many ad networks.
The Guardian and BuzzFeed are two prominent examples of publishers that refer to 'sponsored' or 'promoted' content. This seems a lot less ambiguous and may clear up some of the confusion for those trying to make sense of the topic.
Whilst I think this type of advertising is here to stay (when done properly), I'm not sure that native advertising is the best term for it. In fact, I think it would benefit from being split into three terms that make greater sense of the issue.
For an overview of native advertising see the Econsultancy report, Native Advertising: What it means for brands and publishers.
Perhaps someday native advertising will mature into a viable alternative to traditional web advertising but today it creates more problems than answers.
The New York Times revealed a brand new website on 8 January 2014, replete with responsive design and native advertising.
As I mentioned in my article from earlier this week, native design: 12 examples of good and bad practice, it seems that with The New York Times adoption of sponsored content, 2014 will bring this marketing trend to larger, more mainstream publishing sites
Dell is the first company to take advantage of The New York Times new advertising model, with a six-figure, three month long deal. The deal also includes display ads as well as sponsored content.
Here’s a look at the current New York Times homepage.
You’re more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad.
That’s my favourite stat of 2013, thanks to Solve Media.
Faith in traditional digital display advertising is fast decreasing, with many experts believing that banner ads just don’t work. 60% of consumers do not remember the last display ad they saw, according to Online Media Daily.
Display ads don’t work because we’ve become used to ignoring them. They used to be an annoyance; a creatively barren distraction, but now we’ve trained ourselves, almost subconsciously, to glance down a webpage and not even notice them.
Mobile banner ads are far more insidious and harder to ignore. According to GoldSpot Media, up to 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental.
So what’s the alternative?
I wrote an introduction to the world of native advertising last November in which I discuss the various merits or otherwise of this content driven approach to advertising.
Here I’ll be presenting examples of this much argued-over marketing trend, and trying to ascertain whether there is any good or bad practice to be gleaned from the more popular native ads hosted on publisher’s sites.
Native advertising is one of the hottest marketing trends this year. From BuzzFeed to Twitter, the most admired businesses of our generation have been built on this supposedly new advertising medium.
However, from my experience, understanding of what it really means is surprisingly low. People might understand that it’s akin to what was traditionally called advertorial, but few recognise the nuances of what is a surprisingly diverse medium.
With advertisers set to pour more and more money into native ads, 2013 could be a great year for well-positioned publishers.
But publishers looking at native ads as a solution to ad blockers and paltry display CPMs should tread carefully.
Native ads aren't a panacea and the premiums advertisers may be willing to pay for them shouldn't distract from the fact that native ads can be risky ads.