Articles: What actually is native advertising anyway?

Wed Aug. 13th 2014

This is a really confusing area of digital advertising – even the experts can’t always agree what ‘native advertising’ specifically covers. But it is a form of advertising that appears to be growing in popularity with advertisers as a means of taking content to a larger audience via online sharing – in a manner that standard banner ads are unable to do. Indeed, NZ Herald are currently launching a native advertising offering – Brand Insight (we understand they already have at least two major advertisers signed up). It seems to me that if content is a) generated by the advertiser/agency, and b) falls within the editorial environment of the online platform and c) is shared by users on other platforms outside the original, then it qualifies as native advertising. It can be promoted videos, images, tweets, facebook promoted stories, images, articles, music and it even covers the ads on Google Adwords.

Essentially, native ad formats match the form and function of the user experience in which it is placed 1.

There has been a study 2 done that suggests consumers looked at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads, and that native ads registered 18% higher lift in purchase intent and 9% lift for brand affinity responses than banner ads.

I guess this form is just a natural progression from the old print ‘advertorial’ – transforming and evolving with the digital and social world we now live in. The trick will be, as with all content marketing, to make it so relevant and engaging that consumers actually do connect with it and share it! I never did like ‘Advertising Features’ in newspapers – they were so often just a revenue generator for the publisher with little real value for the reader. Native advertising could fall into the same trap – but at least we will be better able to measure it!

1 Wikipedia

2 IPG Media Lab