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Native advertising, explained

imageIt has been one of the biggest buzz phrases of 2015, albeit its roots can be traced back much further. Nevertheless, we’re only too aware that many Smoking Gun clients and readers of our blog may still be unsure as to what it means, and, more importantly, how it can be exploited.
Without putting too fine a point on it, native advertising is, in the digital age, what ‘advertorials’ were in the past. In the simplest way of looking at things, then, this is content that has the tone of editorial- whether a video, slideshow or written article- and often looks like editorial. As you’ve probably guessed, though, it isn’t editorial. Instead, we’re talking about paid-for placed content that serves a brand.
Content marketing, hosted by a publication, as long as it passes it rules and regulations.
Why use it?
There are several reasons why native advertising is proving so popular amongst companies eager to secure valuable page space:
*An idea or subject is too complex to be conveyed in a standard advertisement
*The appearance of editorial is desirable; cynical as it may sound, readers are more inclined to take in (and, hopefully, share) something that doesn’t look like an advert, and isn’t written or produced like an advert
*Driving web traffic from popular online news and lifestyle sites – whether for editiorial, commerce or generic Google focused results
*The latest iOS- Apple’s mobile interface now has built in ad blockers that stop pop ups and banners appearing in browser windows. Although this is the first time such a step has been taken, by 2014 50% of U.S. internet users were installing ad blockers. In short, the reach of online advertising is narrowing.
Where are native adverts appearing
Everywhere. From The Guardian to BuzzFeed, native ads are used in the vast majority of online publications. The only stipulation in terms of ethics is that they are marked as such- for example articles labelled ‘Sponsored’. However, there are few rules on how obvious that label has to be, hence these ads appearing as editorial
What’s in it for the host publication
As the name suggests, native advertising brings in valuable revenue for the publications hosting that content. As circulation figures and sales continue to fall, and standard online ad values refuse to climb fast enough to combat those losses, new ways of making money are becoming increasingly vital.
Show me some examples
I get it, but where’s the proof that they work
The following stats are from U.S. surveys, but the consumption of media in Britain follows similar trends. Without further ado then…
*80% of decision makers prefer to get information about a business through articles, rather than adverts
*70% of people want to get information about a product or service through content, not advertising
*25% of consumers are more likely to look at native ads as oppose to conventional formats, and they look at them 53% more frequently
*Yahoo! has found that native ads result in more than 3.5 times the search yield for a brand, in comparison with standard advertising

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