Native Advertising: Is it really the new frontier?

April 17, 2015

Native advertising is one of the latest buzzwords in the advertising industry. If you haven’t heard it yet, we’re sure you will. First, I think we should explain that it’s in our nature, the creative community as a whole, to bring new life to something that has been around, well, since forever. Recently, native advertising has been made to sound as some genius form of advertising, where the target is unaware that the content they were exposed to was paid for. In the simplest of terms, it’s paid-for placement that camouflages itself to appear organic. It’s most certainly not the typical flashy sales ad with bright red font that offers some amazing deal. The native advertising concept at the moment, is centered around making ads on social media networks seem less like advertisements, and more like content that someone would find genuinely interesting on their feed. The point? Do not disrupt the flow of a feed, making the target more likely to want to read and engage with the post. You could say native advertisement has been around since the 19th century. Going back to our earlier statement, native advertising goes way back, if you consider that product placement is a form of paid-for, natural advertising.  In the 1873 novel by Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days, it is said that transport and shipping companies to lobbied to be mentioned in the story. Companies have been finding sneaky ways of infiltrating what you read, watch, and listen to long before there was a coined term for it. The goal is to avoid having the advertisement interrupt the medium and instead flow naturally. We just consider it smart advertising.  What is humorous about the renewed focus on advertising that doesn’t resemble disruptive advertising, is that this advertising stands out as genius mostly because awful, tasteless, poorly-designed advertising floods every form of media. From print magazines and newspapers, to digital ads, social media advertising, and everything in between, we’re exposed to so much shoddy work. The point we’re getting to is that native advertising is instinctively what any reputable marketing firm would do for their client, and yes it really is a great strategy.  How do you apply native advertising strategies to social media? Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, designed their paid-for placement so that it integrates into what your audience is already looking at. If they’re looking at their Facebook or Twitter feeds, some of the promoted posts will appear within their feed. A smart marketer would use this opportunity, where the audience is voluntarily exposing themselves to marketing to try to reach them. To leverage the relaxed and open state-of-mind that the audience is in, one should make the advertisement mimic the other, unpaid posts on their feed. IMG_5343-2   Here, we have a great example from How Design on what not to do:  The obvious red flags in this sponsored post are the immediate sales talk, using a product sales image and including their logo and website within the image with the discount promotion in a fluorescent green. People process information much quicker than they even realize. Our mind is trained to block out advertisements when you’re not specifically searching for them. As the saying goes, there’s a time and a place for everything, and while people are reading through their news feed is not the right time to be disruptive.     Native Advertising ExampleSo how do you reach people with advertising when their not receptive to it? See this example on a Facebook feed, from Simple bank: They’re promoting information for someone that has banking needs. They’re not immediately trying to convince the consumer to sign up, instead they’re luring the audience to their website by providing personal finance tips (relevant content). All-in-all, we’re happy that there’s a renewed focus on native advertising, but we don’t want people to think that this something new.  At Keenability we practice native advertising strategies with all our clients. If you would like to learn more about how we can use to increase the traffic to your website, then let’s start talking. Would you like help implementing a native advertising strategy? Yes, please.