Let’s face it; the banner ad is over 20 years old and it’s high time for the industry to embrace the new frontier in online marketing: Native Advertising. Online publishers have a revenue problem. Consumers want to consume online content for free and don’t want to be bombarded with loads of advertising while they are seeking content online. Online publishers are under a tremendous amount of pressure to publish more and more content as quickly as possible with very slim profit margins.
Enter Native Advertising: the solution to resolve consumer content demand and publisher revenue problems. Financial and content resources of advertisers converge with large audiences and sophisticated targeting methods provided by publishers.
There’s a lot of debate about what exactly Native Advertising is because it can come in so many forms. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has a 19-page document outlining all of the possibilities of Native Advertising. The truth is, Native Advertising as it is loosely defined within the industry is simply paid content marketing. If a publisher has received payment in exchange for a brand content to live within the ecosystem of their property, it is Native Advertising.
Native advertising is commonly brought up as disguised branded content among news outlets, but Native spans across much more than just the news:
Examples of Online Native Advertising
- In-Feed Ads
- Buzzfeed Sponsored Articles
- Recommended Sponsored Articles
- Paid Search
- Promoted Listings
The truth is, the advertising industry has been participating in “Native” for decades, but we just weren’t calling it that until recently. Remember the Coca-Cola cups on American Idol or my favorite scene in Wayne’s World? For all intents and purposes, those branded placements are Native, they just used to be called “product placement.”
The fact of the matter is that consumer attention is dwindling and savvy digital properties are innovating to keep the advertising revenue flowing. I prefer to think of Native Advertising as an exciting new chapter in the age of content marketing rather than the John Olivers of the world who see it as a major disruption in the journalistic ecosystem. Content isn’t free (journalistic or branded), so if consumers want to continue to consume free content online, we may as well make it worth their while!
Editor’s Note: Image from Paramount Picture’s Wayne’s World and from NYFA’s neat product placement post here.