Native advertising is defined as

“a web advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience.”

by Wikipedia.

On the web this most commonly takes the form of sponsored content.

On the one hand, native advertising can seem deceiving simply because the content is not organic and is only tailored for that audience to feel organic. On the other hand, it’s a step in the right direction from all the interruption marketing that dominates the web. However, as we shift into a more consumer driven, on demand world, it’s important for brands to disclose their relationships to maintain consumer’s trust. Sponsored posts and even advertorials are still forms of interruption marketing.

Google even asks webmasters to disclose sponsored content to both search engines and users to maintain trust and usability.

The Perception

Here’s an excellent video from the incredibly talented John Oliver talking about native advertising in journalism:

One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is the perception people have of native advertising. This isn’t the sponsored TV programming of the 50′s. It’s up to us to create truly unique and engaging content. It also requires a level of transparency we’re only recently becoming comfortable with. Consumers have unprecedented access to information about your business and even more ways to share it.

Next Steps

As I said before, native ads are still a step in the right direction. I just believe a lot of that same content can and should live within the brand’s owned properties. The next logical step is for brands to take ownership of their consumers needs and just lay it all out there. Take that same “consumer first” approach that’s been embraced by the native advertising movement and apply it to your own website and blog. I think we’ll get to a point where the brands that truly have the best products will have nothing to hide and those that do not simply won’t be able to compete. Consumers purchasing decisions are already driven by word of mouth and reviews now more than ever. People are going to dig up the dirt whether you like it or not.

I think native ads are an early permutation of the future of digital marketing. It’s painfully obvious that all other forms of interruption marketing are on the decline. Content, social media and other forms of consumer driven marketing will continue to shape how brands create and maintain relationships with consumers in the future. Everything is already on-demand and it will continue that way as technologies become more advanced. Please don’t buy your way into my morning social media rituals. I’ll Google you when I need you.

Leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my RSS feed to get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader.