Brand Buzz: The Natives Are Restless Part II

Native Advertising II

It’s not even 8AM and chances are you’ve already come in contact with some kind of native advertising.

We explained last week that native advertising (or sponsored content or content marketing) refers to articles designed to fit into the look and feel of the host medium. The difference between that and a piece of journalism is that native ads are commissioned or produced for a brand. You see these all the time on site like Buzzfeed — they look like the other articles, but with a subtle disclosure stating it was paid for by the brand.

As you might have already guessed, this movement isn’t making everyone happy (from journalists to everyday people who feel like they’ve been had). So where do we, a company that specializes in making brands more visible, stand on the issue of native advertising?

Well here’s the thing: We believe in brands creating their own content. Why? Because you should want to. Also, because your own content is a genuine extension of your company, your people, and your message. Whether it’s the CEO or a lowly intern, it matters that someone within the company is writing [or at least managing] the information that you disseminate. The average consumer can spot BS more easily than ever. They’re savvy and they expect more from businesses, especially in the way they advertise. There’s an element of “trickery” in native advertising and that doesn’t always gel with people.

When brands generate their own content online, they have the potential to create true connections with people. It’s meaningful experience for the company and the consumer. THAT BEING SAID, if your company lacks the time or talent to write online content, the next best thing is hiring a company (like us) to do it for you. We may or may not recommend a native strategy based on your audience and your needs, but we’ll start with content that’s as close to your voice as possible.

Brand Buzz: The Natives Are Restless – Part I

Native Advertising

This post is Part I of a two-part entry on “Native Advertising.” Check back next Monday and tune into Brand Buzz on 96.5 KPEL at 7:40AM for Part II.

It’s not exactly the newest industry buzzword, but it’s a concept young enough to merit discussion and definitely a closer look. It’s called “native advertising” and it’s become a movement in our industry on a global level.

In the [now prolific] article The Disruptive Potential of Native Advertising, Felix Salmon describe the concept as, “something that consumers read, interact with, even share — it fills up their attention space, for a certain period of time, in a way that banner ads never do.”

In a nutshell: It’s a sub-set of the catch-all content marketing. It’s like taking original company wisdom (like a blog post or an eBook or a collection of Facebook status updates) and creating marketing pieces from them. The entire point is to reach people where they are and motivate them to engage. It can be:

  • A promoted tweet on Twitter
  • A suggested post on Facebook
  • A full-page ad between Flipboard pages
  • An online publication
  • Research and reports
  • Infographics
  • Advertorials (sponsored content)
  • Original long-form content

Native ads adjust to their surroundings, based on the visual design of the experience they live within (they match the website to look like a natural part of it). The point is to blend in seamlessly so that the user doesn’t immediately doesn’t glaze over what he or she believe is “spammy ad space.”

This movement is counter to advertising just defaulting to online banner ads. To many, the native movement is a much more proactive approach to creating a dialogue. And it’s proving to get a better response than your typical static ad. Consumers look at native ads more than twice as frequently as display ads, and are significantly more likely to share it. Just based on that alone, it’s easy to see why many brands prefer a single native pageview to a dozen banner-ad impressions. That’s because sales aren’t necessarily the purpose of a native advertising. Like most marketing strategies, it’s about repeat exposure and conditioning associating an experience with a brand.

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