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The Rise of “Native Advertising”

We’ve heard of all types of advertising — but what the heck is native advertising?

If you’ve never heard the term before, don’t worry: it’s only recently been widely adopted by the advertising community. But get ready to hear a lot more about it, because native advertising will define the next phase of our collective user experience online.

What exactly is it? Well, SolveMedia has put together a beautifully-designed infographic that answers just that. In a nutshell, native advertising is everything typical advertising is not: annoying, flashy, disruptive. Banner ads, sidebar ads, pre rolls (ads that play before the video you want to watch does), and pop-ups — all of these are versions of ads that desperately try to force you to give them attention.

Native advertising, on the other hand, takes a quieter, gentler approach. “Native advertising refers to a specific mode of monetization that aims to augment user experience by providing value through relevant content delivered mid-stream,” the infographic explains. In other words, it’s advertising that quietly appears in your feeds tucked between normal posts, shares, or tweets from your friends. It’s advertising that doesn’t look like advertising — it looks like all the other content.

Some of the best-known examples of native advertising currently in practice are:

  • Sponsored Stories (Facebook)
  • Promoted Tweets (Twitter)
  • Paid Discovery (StumbleUpon)

Why the shift? More typical forms of advertising simply aren’t working anymore. The numbers don’t lie: In 2000, when the internet was still fairly young, banner advertising click-through rates were 9%. But by 2012, they were just 0.2%.

For me, one of the biggest challenges native advertising will face is user trust. There are a lot of folks who don’t like the idea of ads infiltrating what they perceive to be the “private” space of their feeds. To circumvent this, SolveMedia points out that brands should avoid disguising their ads — this will prevent consumers from feeling that they’re being tricked.

Read on! There’s lots of food for thought here.

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