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Native Advertising- What is it? Is it Right for Me?

Simply stated, native advertising is advertising that is meant to look like it is not advertising. Sponsored content is altered to mimic the look and feel of editorial content. An example of this would be a paid article in your favorite online news site that has a headline and intro to an article just like all of the articles around it but has something in or around the article to distinguish it from editorial articles. Social sites such as Facebook use “promoted posts” as a form of native advertising as well. According to the FTC, for a publisher site, something needs to distinguish the sponsored content from editorial content. This can be done by placing a phrase above (“sponsored” “promotional content”) or within the article or by having a grayed-out box behind the article that regular articles do not. Some publishers do this very subtly, while others make it quite apparent that you are not looking at editorial content.

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As an advertiser, native is a great way for you to get content in front of a target audience that you may not have otherwise been able to get in front of. As a society, we have trained ourselves to ignore banner advertisements when we are on websites or smartphones. The annoying pop-ups, skyscrapers, leaderboards, are the enemy when we are online. Native has a much more natural feel to it and does not feel as invasive. In addition, these types of ads can be hyper-targeted to audiences that would most likely respond well to them. For example, a golf club manufacturer can place an article detailing the technology of their newest clubs in front of people who show an interest in golf, live in a certain geography, and have a certain income level. These ads can be placed on golf related sites, weather, news, financial, or any specific types of sites.

Native ads can be more effective than many other forms of advertising when executed properly. Relevant content can be placed in front of users who fit the mold of your typical customers in a format that is non-threatening. If nothing else, native advertising should at least be a consideration for your advertising mix.