Why Advertisers Need to Think Native
Native advertising is the latest buzzword. Even venerable publishers such as The New York Times, The Atlantic and Forbes, are trying it out. Is the trend bound to fade, or is it here to stay? Despite some shoddy applications, it's here to stay.
Although the term "native advertising" was coined by the venture capitalist Fred Wilson just under two years ago, the concept is neither new nor unprecedented. It covers any advertising format that is customized to the user experience of a given platform. Or, in the words of Gini Dietrich, native advertising "integrates high-quality content into the organic experience of a given platform." A 30-second ad during the Super Bowl? Native. Sponsored stories in Facebook? Native. Paid results on Google? Native. The brilliant humor pieces produced by the Onion that overtly pitch products? Native.
All of these advertising formats work within the existing user experience of a medium to deliver messaging that enhances the experience, or at the least does not interrupt the flow of it. Where it goes wrong is when it interrupts or detracts from the user-experience in fundamental ways.
Take the controversy over the The Atlantic's favorable article on scientology, which was paid for by Scientology in response to another more negative story. Readers of the magazine had a hard time distinguishing that this was, in fact, bought. The tone and the format mimicked standard Atlantic articles. By eliding the distinction between paid and editorial content, Atlantic was undermining its reputation for objectivity. Users come to the Atlantic for powerful, independent thinking on society and current affairs. An ad that mimics the form of an independent piece of writing on an important cultural topic detracts from its reputation for independence. Andrew Sullivan goes even further:
"This is corporate propaganda, not journalism. Yes, it is identified as such—but on the video page, actual journalism by brilliant writers like Alexis Madrigal is interspersed with corporate-funded propaganda. You can easily mistake one for the other."
Yblog identifies emerging trends in the fast-changing landscape of media and marketing and finds fun and often surprising connections—with real-time implications for direct marketers.
Yory Wurmser currently writes and consults on marketing and media trends for clients interested in innovating through new media and the data it produces. This is an extension of what he did for six years at the Direct Marketing Association, ultimately as the head of the Research Department. As director of marketing and media insights, he revamped DMA's publications to focus more on digital media and developed partnerships with leading research companies, including Econsultancy, Ipsos and Winterberry Group. He also developed internal strategic research and recommendations to help DMA adapt to the new marketing world. Prior to DMA, Wurmser ran a boutique management consulting and coaching firm and, in an earlier lifetime, earned a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. He lives near New York City with his wife and three daughters.
Reach him at Ywurmser@gmail.com.