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Posted on 03.27.2014

Exactly what is Native Advertising?

The buzzword native advertising came on the scene a few years ago but didn't really gain traction until last year when it began being thought of as the savior to publishing. It's now one of the hottest things in the online advertising industry. Sorry banner ads, you aren't what you used to be.

I don't usually like to use Wikipedia as a source but honestly, it has the best definition for native advertising. It defines it as--an online advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user's experience. The advertiser's intent is to make the paid advertising feel less intrusive and thus increase the likelihood users will click on it.

Native ads provide valuable, relevant content and, to some readers, might appear like real editorial. Content marketing, a more commonly used term, is a form of native advertising.

A study conducted among more than 4,700 people last year found that native ads were viewed 53 percent more often by consumers than banner ads, and the attention people paid to native ads was nearly equivalent to the visual engagement of original editorial content.

So, are popular well-respected publications jumping on the native advertising bandwagon? The answer is YES.

Forbes Magazine created BrandVoice, described by one of its reporters as an innovative, efficient publishing platform, or brand newsroom, that is built on the belief that all content can be treated equally if its originating source is transparently identified. The reason for the formation of BrandVoice was the notion that marketers know their business better than anyone and they need new ways to reach their audiences. Statistics show that some of the native ad posts on Forbes.com are generating considerably more views, tweets, retweets and Likes than traditional editorial content. An effective revenue stream for publishers and a successful tool for advertisers...win-win.

Just like Forbes' BrandVoice, the Washington Post created the platform BrandConnect to connect its advertisers with its readership, and earlier this month the Wall Street Journal launched its own native ad studio called WSJ Custom Studios.

You can scroll through the home page of most of the publications I listed and you will find an example of native ads. See one example below.









As long as publications and other online sources are transparent about native ads versus original content, I think it's an incredibly effective use of ad dollars. What are your thoughts?


Robin Embry is a Vice President at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Robin’s blogs here. Connect with Robin at robin@lovell.com​

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