What is native advertising?

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1102045_30468512Native advertising is attracting a lot of attention lately in the media. In fact, the term has generated so much attention that it has become a meaningless buzzword in some circles. So, what is native advertising? Simply put, native advertising is a method of online advertising in which the advertiser provides ad content in the context of the user experience.

In many respects, native advertising is immersive. Internet users are exposed to native advertising while engaging in online content. While it may be a more subtle form of advertising, native advertising must be employed skillfully in order to be accepted by savvy Internet users. If done correctly, native advertising reaches its target demographic and engages them.

With native advertising, ads become part of the content. In this regard, it is a similar concept to content marketing. In fact, the two approaches are essentially the same. However, with native advertising, the focus seems to be more on the visual content rather than textual content.

If it sounds as though native advertising is a bit nebulous, that’s because it is a bit nebulous. Nobody in the industry seems to be able to agree upon a set definition of native advertising or how it should be applied. As social media gurus, Internet marketers and advertisers all throw the term around, the meaning and application continue to get muddied.

Native advertising in some ways is similar to the time-tested advertorials of the print media industry. However, they are being applied a bit differently with the Internet and social media. You can think of native advertising as a sort of umbrella that advertorials would fall under.

With new media, brands can actually be part of the conversation. Savvy brands will work advertising and branding into their conversations in the form of native advertising. For example, on Facebook, a brand can acquire a large audience and make use of promoted posts to amplify their interactions with fans to reach an even larger audience.

Are you using native advertising?

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