What does native mean in marketing?

Native advertising is a paid medium designed to match the content of a media source. An example of native mobile advertising would be paid video content on the Youtube app. This media is designed to match the visual design and function of natural content, which appears in your recommended video feed. In a nutshell, native advertising is paid content.

Articles, infographics, videos, you name it: if a content producer can do it, companies can buy it and publishing platforms can promote it. Native advertising is a non-intrusive ad format based on integrating an ad into the natural editorial style of a website or news platform. They integrate seamlessly into the website or platform on which they appear and look similar to organic content (however, they should always have an indicator that it is an ad). Native advertising is a term used to describe a digital ad format that mimics the look, feel, and function of the platform on which they appear.

Native advertising is a form of paid advertising. But it works differently than traditional paid advertising. Because the nature of covert advertising blends with its environment, clear disclosure is considered necessary when a native marketing strategy is employed to protect the consumer from being deceived and to help the public distinguish between sponsored and regular content. Now, more marketers are looking to use the native format outside of the “walled gardens” of social media.

Things change with increasing spending on native advertising and more brands jumping on the “native bandwagon.” native ads are designed to give your content greater visibility than it could receive on channels you own. The added elements for the native ad instantly configure the native ad using a template design to fit the website. Think of native advertising as a way to distribute your high-quality content for consumers who may not yet know enough about your brand to engage with that content on their own media channels. However, the content itself and its positioning still classify it as native advertising, rather than “traditional sponsored content”, at least in my book.

Like any good species in a world of survival of the fittest, I have seen significant value in native advertising, when executed intelligently and strategically. Both Fortune 500 brands and startups use native ads to reach audiences during high-impact moments, when people are already consuming content and are willing to discover something new. The Federal Trade Commission is considering implementing regulatory measures for brands that use native ads to promote their products, and the FTC has also indicated that it can monitor the market closely to ensure that native advertising is used in ways that benefit consumers. Although programmatic native advertising can be used as a conversion channel, many find it better to focus on attracting their target audience.

While native advertising can be defined as a type of ad that mimics the feel of a platform, that doesn't help marketers who need more clarity about what it looks like. I think most brands can benefit from using native advertising as a tactic, but it shouldn't inform your entire online marketing strategy.

Patti Goldenman
Patti Goldenman

General bacon lover. Hipster-friendly travel guru. Proud bacon ninja. Incurable zombie trailblazer. Professional bacon fanatic.

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