It may be the time to ask whether this new definition is helpful — NATIVE ADVERTISING is a method of communication that is “native” to the experience offered within a website’s content, valuable content integrated within the editorial feed — not an ad-in-a-box alongside the search page.
Actually, we have already used descriptions of Native Advertising such as advertorial, brand reference, and sponsored content, among others. Thus, Native could be defined as any ad that is blended within content. Also from a consumer’s view, it may be an opt-in interactive choice in which she or he is aware of the advertiser’s message intent, and still opts-in. Different age groups react to marketing online in more or less accepting/receptive ways. Therefore, a Native Advertiser needs to communicate how its offer has personal appeal and feels native to the site, overcoming the consumer’s wish not to hear or see advertising messages.
Up to this era of constant change and 24/7 communications, the advertiser and the media had agreed that the blending of advertising and editorial was not allowed. There was a wall between the two because it was considered confusing to the consumer. It might be suggested that the media’s main interest was in making money through advertising, even more than in providing useful information and entertaining experiences. However, many of the media are in a new world of needing to find new revenue streams.
At this time, an argument is occurring about what the term Native Advertising really describes. And if it also means advertising that will not be received as advertising. On the other hand, it may prove to be perceived as better than the newer omni-channel forms of advertising that surely are on the way.
Some practitioners will contend that in this new “social media world,” many consumers don’t perceive any difference between editorial and advertising. They regard it all as content in their communication.com lives. Behind the strategist’s attempt to create appeals by linking content to a consumer’s wants and/or needs is still the positive positioning of a brand. Whatever method used, increased brand relationship + loyalty = improved brand equity, which is the goal.
It is important to note that consumers are now more informed, aware, and selective. So we ask: Is it wise to use “Native” in our advertising and communications? Will it be a strategy to increase trust or mistrust? Will it be constructive or obstructive? Will marketers get better results, publishers get a premium revenue stream, and audiences get a better experience?
Will Native Advertising be the new strategic direction or just one more arrow in our ad quiver?
For more on Native Advertising:
Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.