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Native Advertising Trends: FTC, HuffPo, Scripps, and More

A year that promises to be big for native advertising trends starts with a new FTC policy in place; plus, the best of branded content in 2015

Native advertising trends will shape the digital publishing industry in 2016. For one, they represent a more elegant and modernized option for online magazines looking to generate revenue the old-fashioned way — that is, via marketing dollars — while flying relatively under the radar of those big, bad state-of-the-art ad blocking defense systems.

Branded content, as it’s also known, has been gaining steam for a while, even if it just has a fancier name for advertorial. We’ve been watching closely, and so, too, has the Federal Trade Commission, of course. Now, finally, we have official guidelines from the FTC, just as the demand for sponsored content, yet another iteration of native, is reaching unprecedented levels.

AdAge covers that development and much more in several recent articles about native advertising trends.

FTC Releases New Native Advertising Rules and Regulations

Toward the end of the year, right before the Christmas holiday, the FTC debuted its latest policy on native advertising. As expected, deception is the big no-no, but this time around, directives to avoid violation are more explicit, AdAge reports.

“In evaluating whether an ad’s format is misleading, the Commission will scrutinize the entire ad, examining such factors as its overall appearance, the similarity of its written, spoken, or visual style to non-advertising content offered on a publisher’s site, and the degree to which it is distinguishable from such other content,” the FTC said in its policy statement.

“For example, disclosures that subsequently inform consumers of a natively formatted ad’s commercial nature after they have clicked on and arrived at another page will not cure any misleading impression created when the ad is presented in the stream of a publisher site. … Although digital media has expanded and changed the way marketers reach consumers, all advertisers, including digital advertisers, must comply with the same legal principles regarding deceptive conduct the Commission has long enforced.”

Consumers are telling us loud and clear what they want—are you listening? How much would you pay for that information? Download a copy of our 2018 Mequoda Magazine Consumer Study for FREE instead, to find out how you can improve your digital magazine rapport with subscribers.

Scripps the Latest to Launch In-House Branded Content Agency

Getting in just under the wire during the year of the in-house branded content lab was Scripps with its new Lifestyles Studio, AdAge reports.

“The amount of that content creation really requires a dedicated effort as opposed to asking the people who create linear programming for us to also create that. It’s becoming too big a need and too big an opportunity,” Scripps Networks Chief Revenue Officer Steve Gigliotti told Tim Peterson.

“We’ve been doing that kind of as a one-off production, and the appetite for that is bigger and bigger. … We’re a major player in the food category, but an adjacent category could be health.”

The Huffington Post Undertakes Data-Sharing Native Advertising Content Campaign

The Huffington Post and Sleep Number are exchanging consumer data to craft an ambitious sponsored content campaign, AdAge reports.

“It’s native advertising but a much more sophisticated model,” HuffPo Vice President of Content Partnerships Lauri Baker told Peterson. “If someone’s standing outside of a competitive store, we know we can serve them a Sleep Number ad that’s specific to that user based on what they’ve read and what we know about them.”

What Were the Hottest Native Advertising Trends, Campaigns of 2015?

But will the HuffPo-Sleep Number effort be among the best in the business, joining the likes of Netflix + The Wall Street Journal, Nokia + Wired, Tabasco + Thrillist, Mini + Fast Company, Clorox + the self-same HuffPo, Cathay Pacific + Mashable, Ford + Hearst, and Hulu + Gawker from 2015? Only time will tell!

Which native advertising trends are you tracking in 2016? Let us know in the comments!

To read more about native advertising trends in the news, visit AdAge.

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