Native advertising

Online advertising is going through a period of profound (and painful) change.

As now seems all too obvious, the classical banner does not work very well both in strictly practical terms (difficulty in viewing, collapse of the click-through, problems for the mobile experience), and a conceptual point of view, as well explained by Jakob Nielsen (display advertising attempts to import a top-down tool typical of offline advertising on of an interactive environment – the web).

So we have been wondering what will rise up out of the ashes of advertising as it has been understood so far. Beyond the case of virtuous keyword adv (like AdWords), in fact, the rest is marked by a distressing lack of innovation: the triumph of CPM and little else: banners ever larger, ever more invasive, and often very little consistent or relevant to the user.

In the last days – also thanks to the traditional atmosphere of final balances and suggestions for the future that the end of each year brings – there is much talk about native advertising as one of the possible solutions to fill this void. What is that?

It’s not easy to give a clear definition, but we can try: native advertising is promoted and sponsored contentdisplayed in a form that does not hurt the typical user experience of the site you are visiting (which is one of the most annoying things about classical adv).

Therefore, instead of an image with a claim, we will have a how-to video or a promotional article: instead of a flashy banner, a type-in ​​captcha. The purpose, instead of simply attract the attention (and possibly the click) of a user, native advertising wants to create real engagement providing quality content – content that really can make the difference to the user.

A typical example are the branded articles you can find in many news sites, such as the Atlantic:

Also, if we want to further extend the definition, native advertising can also be sponsored stories on Facebook and Twitter’s promotional tweets. But this is still a category whose boundaries are quite blurred.

It should be added, however, that native advertising is nothing new in itself. As an interesting white paper by Solve Media clearly explains, this is more of an evolution than a revolution.

For a long time the newspapers have in fact used the so-called advertorials, advertising information compiled in the form of article – and so, much longer and more structured than the classic adverts. But as this tool evolves, branded content is becoming more and more similar to the normal news: not only in length, but also as it is visually presented.

The technology keeps on developing more and more and the new inventions are arriving in. One of the advanced technological enhancements is native advertising. It is almost similar to display ads and the people who would like to give advertisements about their products or services online by paying some amount to the advertising company. See here and acquire in detail about native advertising from a few eminent websites.

Of course, this problem is not secondary: to what extent reader is willing to confuse these elements? Even if I provide great content as native advertising, it still is advertising (and therefore it has a marketing purpose), while the news articles or comments are – at least should be! – totally neutral. And even more subtly, is this distinction still important to the reader?

In any case, the potential of native advertising remains great, and it looks like a very important alternative to a bombardment increasingly dense (and increasingly pointless) of sterile ads. The challenge is to make it sustainable and efficient, and probably 2013 will be a crucial year for that.


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