/// What’s All the Hype About Native Ads, Anyway? Looking Beyond the Buzzword.
Image copyright Timur Djafarov Late last year, yet another industry buzzword emerged: “Native Advertising.” The term has received a lot of media attention and excitement from brands, rich-media companies and publishers alike, and after cutting through the hype, one question still remains: What does it actually mean? At the basic level, native ads are paid experiences that are complementary to the platform and content in which they are presented. While examples include Sponsored Stories on Facebook or Sponsored Tweets on Twitter, this doesn’t quite do the term justice. Truly native advertising takes things one step further, referring to seamlessly integrating brands into the medium, so much so that the consumer gets more value from the advertising as part of a greater content consumption experience. As Peter Kafka wrote in a recent article, native advertising is about “ selling stuff that people want to look at. ” This is key to get people to start thinking about brands, without making the ad blatant or disruptive. This can happen on all media from broadcast to digital, print to mobile, using technologies and platforms that engage with native in mind. With months of speculation, commentary and controversy behind us, it is time to set the record straight. We need not only to reach a consensus about what native actually means, but also strive to help the advertising industry harness the power of this concept to develop compelling experiences that are organic to the content. If I had it my way, we would only refer to an ad as native if it includes the following: The ad is a holistic brand experience specific to the content or medium