At its best, native advertising is always secondary to the message being delivered, but makes a lasting impact through its association with valued and trusted complimentary content.
Native advertising is typically a style of advertising that is designed to match the form, look and function of the platform on which it appears. As an example, what are commonly known as “infomercials” on television, this type of advertising often mimics the appearance of a talk show or news pieces on TV. Another example is when an article is written by an advertiser to promote their product and they use the same form and look as other articles written by the editorial staff in any given publication. The word “native” refers to the content’s coherence with other media on the platform. Native advertising, whether publisher-produced or purchased brand content, uses the same model as a traditional advertorial, which basically is paid placement attempting to look like an article.
The variety of formats available in digital publications is great, including promoted videos, surveys and quizzes, images, articles, editorial commentary, music, etc. A very effective format is “search advertising”, which basically are pertinent ads that appear on the page when a search is made. Social media also uses search advertising with promoted and suggested sites, links and pages. This is all part of native advertising in that the advertising becomes a seamless part of the user experience and offers value that is important to the users’ immediate focus. Content marketing is another form of native advertising which is very effective and offers the reader added value. Suggesting other content that the reader might be interested in depending on what they are engaged in at the time, sponsor-funded content is often placed alongside editorial content.
In the era of analytics and CRM, companies can now easily advertise their content to users based on their previous search histories and interaction with various parts of a website or digital publication. Companies and brands now work throughout various media to reach people no matter what device they use, and if the content provided is useful and original users are likely to trust it and use it. Problems can arise and a native ad campaign can become problematic only if they are perceived as annoying or intrusive in any way.
Native advertising is thought to appeal more to younger people who are digital natives. This makes sense because young people and are comfortable with, and actually take for granted, the fact that their media experience will be interactive and immersive. As digital publishing and the digital reading experience becomes main stream, more people across various demographics will become more comfortable with native advertising and curated content, and native advertising will be as familiar to them as the classified ads are to newspaper readers of old.