Put 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.