We’re all familiar with traditional advertising in the form of banners, display ads, video, and sponsored or promoted posts on social media. But what exactly is native advertising? Understanding what i is is crucial to understanding how it can benefit your business. Native advertising is ads that mimic the look and feel of the medium it appears on, blending in as content that would traditionally show up. Largely this has taken the form of sponsored articles and blog posts that, when done right, blur the lines between journalism and marketing.
Consumers are becoming more savvy as time goes on, and brands must continue to find innovative new ways to reach them in conjunction with other methods. Much like content marketing, providing engaging, useful and informative content is an important part of advertising, giving people a chance to not only discover a product or brand but see some of the research, background or contextual information surrounding what places that brand above the rest. Unlike content marketing however, it goes by the same pay-to-play rules as traditional advertising; requiring a budget to have your content created in partnership with and placed on certain platforms. Typically, a sponsored post will identify itself as such in a banner, tag or category but its purpose is to appear so tightly woven into the fabric of the platform it’s on, that users don’t always sense the difference between a regular and a “sponsored” post.
Many more brands are taking notice of the method, with an expected ad spend of around $5 billion dollars by the end of 2017 going towards the practice. This type of advertising does double duty as a move that gives any brand more clout, tying you to the platform you partnered with to create the content. Having links to these outside sources are pieces of content you can also feature on your own website or social media accounts – especially if it was well produced.
One such example that was met with positive feedback and engagement shed light on a issue that had already been coming more and more to the forefront, responding to a need for more content of this kind in the first place. Ahead of the second season premier of popular Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, The New York Times ran a 1500-word piece chronicling the conditions of women’s prison’s across the United States, complete with interviews, statistics and more, still linking to other topically related articles elsewhere on the site a it normally would. The article was an example of native advertising done the right way, engaging readers in a way that actually received praises from readers and journalists alike even though it was explicitly tagged as a paid post. Good content is good content.
Many of these long-established media companies have begun to create sections of their business dedicated to creating content for brands, so it’s important for brands to take stock of their own creative teams and asses whether or not they can produce the content on their own and approach platforms just for distribution, or if they’ll need the full service treatment. Just like you would with traditional advertisements, take into consideration how your brand will fit on any given platform, whether it be written, visual or otherwise.
Think about diversifying your advertising strategy to include not only content marketing on your own channels, but native ads that share similar great content to even more viewers.