The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.
Native advertising is one of the more significant marketing trends of 2013. As consumers get progressively better at ignoring banner ads (or any other ad for that matter), marketers are experimenting with new ways to deliver advertising as content.
Native advertising is advertising content that looks like editorial. While flagged as “sponsored”, native ads sport the look and feel of other content in the site. They blur the lines between advertising and editorial. This can take the form of promoted Facebook posts, promoted Tweets, LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, as well as content inside traditional media like Forbes and the Atlantic.
Native advertising is nothing new of course. Advertorials and infomercials have been a staple of marketing for years. But native advertising has exploded this year as publishers look for new revenue models and the growth of mobile further reduces the performance of traditional banners.
As Peter Minnium at the Interactive Advertising Bureau put it, “Native broke advertising out of the ghetto, out of the right rail. Now it can live in the center of the page.”
Living in the center of the page raises the bar for marketers. Whether brands will be seen as welcome guests or party crashers depends on the quality of the content they have to share.
The tricky balancing act for marketers is to create content that simultaneously brings value to an audience and delivers a branding message. If the content is too promotional, it will turn off the audience. If the content doesn’t link closely enough to the brand, it may not be seen as effective.
I’d love to hear your examples of native advertising.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)