What is native advertising? First of all, by definition, native advertising is something that is all around you, whether you notice it or not, believe it or not. It’s one of the newest and hottest trends when it comes to digital marketing. Here is your short guide for beginners which contains the much sought-after answer to the question what is native advertising and a lot more.
What Is Native Advertising?
Put as simply as possible native advertising is a type of online advertising which intends to align the ad content as well as its form and function with the platform on which it will appear.
Native advertising has two central goals.
#1. It aims to position the image of a brand in its consumers’ minds.
#2. The ads themselves want to drive the customers towards taking a particular action on the platform.
What Kind of Benefits Does Native Advertising Have?
If you want to understand what is native advertising, the first thing you must comprehend is this one. Although modern advertisements have a history of at least 100 years, we now live in an ad-saturated world. You can see them wherever you go, and they bombard you the minute you open your laptop or mobile phone. These are the times in which we are living.
This over-saturation translates into one thing. The consumers are now very savvy when it comes to commercials and ads. They are presently able to recognize an ad as soon as they lay eyes on it. Apart from that, with some small exceptions, like the Super Bowl ads, for example, they turn around and run away as fast as possible.
Almost all consumers close the ads they see on a website. They also change the channel when they’re watching TV if there are any commercials on and even install specialized software on their computers. They want to keep the ads at bay.
Apart from that, studies show that customers and viewers tend to look at the content comprised in ads with a healthy dose of skepticism. Here is the reason why. Since it’s a text or an image for which someone paid, how can one be sure it is not false? Also, how do you know if it was indeed researched or just made up?
Once you understand where the ad world positions itself from these points of view, you will start seeing why native advertising is the newest sweetheart of the real mad men. You’ll also understand why it’s vital in this business.
Native advertising in itself appeared as a response to these issues. How? It simply takes a look at the content around it and proceeds to camouflage its marketing messages. The aim is to make it sound and look exactly like the rest of the editorial content.
The consumer will then believe that the native ads might be part of the editorial content since it’s organically integrated into the ad itself. It is a blending effect which will lead to two things.
- A better chance for the customers to listen to, watch and read the ads.
- It will raise the level of trust the customers have in the ads themselves and, consequently, in the brand.
What About the Sketchy Side of Native Advertising?
Many people have blamed native advertising for these precise reasons. Instead of seeing the good side, they believe this is exactly the reason why native advertising is faulty. They consider it a type of ‘false’ advertising which ‘tricks’ the customer into thinking ads are 100 percent real. They also make them trust the brand blindly. Evidently, this is an ethical conundrum wrapped in a debate which will, probably, never find its rest. Here are the arguments for both sides.
Pro native advertising arguments
- Native advertising is typically labeled. You will always see words such as ‘promoted’ or even ‘sponsored.’ They accompany the ad itself, letting you know what you are dealing with here.
- It is a win-win situation. The publishing companies earn money, and the brands get recognition and exposure. The clients get to look at good content, with a highly inspirational, entertaining, and even educational content. So you could, probably, say it is, in fact, a win-win-win situation.
Con native advertising arguments
- The labels which bear the word ‘sponsored’ or ‘promoted’ tend to get smaller and smaller as time passes. Their diminishing size is supposed to lead to confusion among consumers and even deception, in the worst cases.
- People who speak against native advertising disrepute the win-win-win argument we presented above. They say that it is surely not a win for publishers. Since they include ads on their platforms for money, it means they have ‘sold out.’ Therefore, they no longer enjoy their customers’ respect and trust.
Examples of Native Advertising
For a better understanding of what is native advertising, here are a few examples.
#1. Print advertorials
There is one, classic and extremely famous example of print advertorial combined with native advertising. It is David Ogilvy and his agency’s Guinness Guide to Oysters. It’s an uncomplicated advertorial listing different types of oysters with their pictures and some details. The rows of oysters end with a glass and bottle of Guinness and the message that all oysters will taste best if you choose to wash them down with as much Guinness as you can.
Why does this work? Because the ad content is an organic part of the advertorial. Let’s say that you deleted the brand name and used the word ‘beer’ instead. Then the ad would still look like a thoroughly natural and educational piece of advertorial.
#2. Product placement
Product placement is yet another type of native advertising that truly works. Although you see it absolutely everywhere, here are some examples which will make you understand what is native advertising.
The show American Modern Family is utterly famous for having taken product placement and its meaning to a whole new level. They had complete episodes revolving around a particular product for which they received money to advertise.
A defined example of product placement combined with native advertising with them is when you can see one of the families drive around in a particular car. They are talking about it and all its features. They go on praising it for a few minutes, and it works. They typically advertise the family car, minivan style, which fits organically into the whole idea of the show.
#3. In-feed ads
Even though you might not have known that this is their name, you’ve unquestionably seen them if you’ve ever been on the Internet. They are some widgets which recommend you ‘things from around the web.’
They come in the shape of links which will push you to content belonging to different websites. The content is, typically, made up of articles or a video or two that have some commercials mixed in through them.
The headline of these pieces will always match the content on the website. The only difference is that they are labeled ‘sponsored’ and you can clearly see which one is a native ad.
So, in conclusion, what is native advertising? Even though it is an all-around win-win situation for everyone involved, it can have a dark side if it is not done correctly. For example, if the ads themselves do not have the label ‘sponsored’, they might ‘trick’ the consumer into believing it is actual, researched content and not an ad.