What is Native Advertising Anyway?

imagesPut simply, native advertising is “sponsored content”, meaning the practice of using content to build trust and engagement with would-be customers. Native advertising is a commercial message that is sort of “disguised” as content.

This includes sponsored content in your Facebook news feed, a promoted tweet on Twitter or one of those full-page adverts between Flipboard pages, but more commonly it is about how brands now work with online publications to reach people.

Native advertising can also include contributed editorial on some news sites, and now Tumblr and Linkedin are jumping into the fray with sponsored posts. When done well the content is relevant and targeted and as such gets more attention, because it’s placed where users are consuming their personal content.

The difference between display adverts online and native adverts is that the latter are in the flow of editorial content. Those publications that are pioneering native adverts are usually good at making sure the quality of the content is high. They won’t just commission content but work with individual writers or marketers so that it feeds an audience need. It also seems to be working. According to research from IPG Media Lab, native adverts are viewed for the same amount of time as editorial content and as such are more likely to be shared than a banner advert.

Many of us think that now banner adverts are weak, limiting and dated so this opens up a new opportunity for native advertising, and for many, this is the smart play.


Five take-out tips to inspire, entertain and connect with social media


  1. Join it up! Social media strategies are part of the overall marketing strategy, not standalone. People share and talk when they have been hit through several different channels around a central message.
  2. Content needs to have a regular drum beat, but be prepared to surprise and excite, just like any other form of media that has an editor at the helm.
  3. Experiment and learn with a range or images, videos and status updates and don’t worry if everything’s not working – because it won’t.
  4. Every post reveals a lifestyle interest (I love/hate/think…) or intent (I want/need/miss…). Understanding the micro –conversation reveals new influencers or customers in waiting.
  5. Get geeky on the data. Interactions, re-tweets and click throughs to learn what works best. Brands need to listen as much as they talk!

Five Rules of Social Media Management

download1)      Establish A Policy and Governance Guidelines – Brands need to offer staff clear rules on how, why and when to engage the public through social media.

2)      Social Media is a Customer Care Tool – Sorting out customer problems through social media gives brands permission to deepen their relationships with customers while introducing a sales element. Once a brand shows customers that it can respond to their experiences, this opens up the opportunity for further engagement through social media.

3)      Spread Social Media Throughout The Organisation – While management of social media often starts off in the marketing department, brands are showing a growing tendency to place it under corporate communications and treat it as a reputation tool.

4)      It’s Not All About Facebook and Twitter – Facebook is far becoming more of a traditional paid-for media channel than a social-media platform for brands. It’s important to make the most of emerging social-media platforms. Tumblr, which appeals to a young demographic, has around 4 million registered users in the UK, while the female-orientated Pinterest has 2.7 million. This compares with Facebook’s 29 million users and Twitters 8 million.

5)      Move Social Media Management In-House – There is a trend for brands to move social media-based customer care and direct customer interactions away from out-sourced specialist agencies and into in-house teams. With the right infrastructure, education and governance in place, employees are better placed to respond directly to the needs of customers at scale and at speed.