In a previous post, we discovered the first three things you should know:
- native advertising is not widely known or used by marketers,
- the industry, led by an Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) task force, only recently defined native advertising and
- there are six categories of native ads.
Now, let’s take a look at how consumers view native advertising and what successes brands have seen so far.
4. Blurred lines have made consumers feel deceived by sponsored content.
The IAB task force has put their collective foot down and says that, “regardless of context, a reasonable consumer should be able to distinguish between what is paid advertising versus what is publisher editorial content.”
Even with the best of intentions, publishers still need to worry about their credibility by offering native advertising. The savviest content consumers may miss a “promoted by” or “sponsored content” sign around an ad.
With that said, it may come as no surprise that people have felt deceived when they realize an article or video is sponsored by a brand, according to Contently’s recent study. As they say, “sponsored content has a trust problem.”
Just watch this hilarious opinion video by John Oliver, who thinks editorial and advertising are like guacamole and Twizzlers: “Separately, they’re good, but if you mix them together, somehow you make both of them really gross.”
5. Pay attention: there has been success in native advertising.
Of course, the reason why native advertising has gotten so much buzz lately is that brands are seeing success with this emerging format.
With such different ad units carrying various success metrics — page views, engagement, click-throughs, social shares or conversions — marketers should really think through what makes sense for their business.
The Washington Post has seen “the most success with brands that are looking to change or shape a conversation and tell a new story about their brand.” BuzzFeed, according to NY Times, gets most of its revenue from native advertising, and shares success stories such as Taco Bell, claiming that those who discovered their BuzzFeed content through social channels were 196% more likely to try the new product they were advertising.
Creating good branded content takes time and can be a challenge to scale since the formats are as varied as their publishers. To try to address scalability, up-and-coming native ad exchanges such as Sharethrough distribute your content and make it look native to publisher sites. Their Native Advertising Leaderboard shows what branded content is working.
The bottom line is: adhere to Paul Keers’ thoughts about native advertising:
“Success, of course, lies in creating content which is right for the brand, which is paying for it; right for the publisher, which needs to retain its identity; and right for the audience, who must find value in the content if they are to engage.”