Native Wisdom on Native Advertising

Native AdvertisingSpending on native advertising in the U.S. was up by over 71 percent this year over last year and by 2017 it will account for 42 percent of all social media spending.

Customers now have unlimited options when it comes to where and how they consume content, which is causing brands to seek new ways to engage fickle audiences. And advertisers are adapting, too. By the end of last year, 83 percent of all online publishers offered some form of sponsored content (Source: Online Publishers Associated).

So what is native advertising? It’s a form of paid media that appears as sponsored content and seems to naturally belong in the place where it shows up. It can take the form of a blog post, video, advertorial, product placement, sponsored Twitter post or any other type of content.

Here are three things to keep in mind when rolling out a native advertising campaign:

1) Does It Feel Natural? 

Successful native ads seem to naturally fit within the environment where they appear. David Spiegel, BuzzFeed’s executive director of social publishing says that publications and advertisers need to work together in a collaborative process – not unlike the agency model – to ensure that sponsored content is a true fit for the publication.

2) Is It Ethical? 

A fine line exists between seamlessly offering valuable sponsored content and deceiving people into believing that a form of paid advertisement is in fact organic editorial content. As far back as 1968, the Federal Trade Commission commented on ethics surrounding native advertising, and just this year reasserted its message: publications and brands need to clearly differentiate between objective journalism and advertisements.

3) Is It Optimized for Mobile? 

Mobile ad spending doubled in 2013 to reach $9.6 billion and now accounts for all the growth in the digital ad industry. Couple this news with the fact that sales via mobile devices for the Black Friday weekend increased 55 percent this year over last, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that optimizing sponsored content for mobile devices is paramount to success.

Have you tried native ads yet for your brand? Why or why not? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

New from Vocus:

Marketers and PR pros are wrestling with native advertising. Edelman’s Chief Content Strategist and AdAge columnist Steve Rubel will clarify the role of sponsored content in a special Vocus webinar on January 8. Click here to register!