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What is Native Advertising?

  • by Gustavo Morais
  • December 3rd, 2015

Do you know what is Native Advertising? Could you identify it? This article, for example, is not a native ad. Or is it? In the new world of content – where everyone gets to create it – native ads can be placed anywhere and within anything. From articles to videos and images any form of content can be a type of native advertising. They can also be part of your Facebook feed, your favorite Pinterest board and even the funny Youtube videos you watch every week. But, what is Native advertising anyway?

Here is the textbook definition:

na·tive ad·ver·tis·ing
n. Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.

Media where the ad follows natural form and function of where it is placed. So it is basically an ad, that doesn’t look like an ad? Sort of. Native advertising matches form and function, meaning it matches the visual design of the experience they live within, with both look and feel, with consistent behavior and the native user experience, functioning just like natural content. They integrate content into the organic experience of a platform. In simpler words, native ads act as part of the environment they are placed on – which can be a website, video, image or any other platform – and even though they are sponsored content from a certain brand they are not a clear banner ad trying to sell you something or get you to engage.

Native advertising feels like it was created for the digital age, but it actually dates from way back. Advertorials – which is when an advertisement meets an editorial – first appeared in the late 19th century, when brands started running ads with longform copy in newspapers and magazines, telling their brand’s story as an editorial. Native ads then evolved to branded radio, with sponsored radio programs, to branded TV through commercials, soap operas and pop culture, all the way to infomercials and search ads. In the 21st century, native ads evolved to sponsored content in social media, articles and online videos. And they can come in all shapes and types of platform. From a New York Times article about Women Inmates,advertising the popular Netflix show Orange is the New Black, to a BuzzFeed video about cats, featuring the brand Purina. They can have a more serious tone, or simply feel like a funny joke.

And they seem to be working. According to research from IPG media lab, consumers look at native ads 52% more frequently than regular banner ads and native advertisements registered an 18% higher lift for purchase intent responses than traditional ads. The click though rates are also much higher with 49x more clicks for native ads, according to MDG Advertising.
So why go Native? Some people tend to avoid display ads and native ads turn to a viable form of advertisement for many publishers who value user experience. And user experience matters, a lot. Brand loyalty also changes with 32% of users valuing native ads over other forms of advertisements. Also, consider that 70% of Internet users want to learn about products through content over ads. Nearly every social network has sponsored ads and many publishers offer some type of native advertising on their sites. Any brand can do content-based native ads and the product does not have to be front and center. Native advertising can help building brand reputation and it is a very effective way to connect to your audience without being forceful.

The important thing to remember about native advertising is that it is not automated and it doesn’t come in ad boxes. Instead, native ads deliver high quality content integrated to a platform. They do not interrupt flow and are equal to user interaction, which is incredibly valuable to consumers. To learn more about native advertising and how it can work for your brand contact us at ST8.

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