Is your native advertising crossing the line of “masquer-ads”?
Native advertising is the creation and publication of editorially-based ads that align with a webpage’s content. They can be articles, snippets or simply links that are assimilated into the design and flow with the platform functionality, so viewers feel the ads belong on the page. The best native advertising examples offer fantastic editorial content that doesn’t turn off the reader as being too promotional or non-contextual.
We have called them advertorials traditionally, and have described them as an ad that walks, acts and talks like an editorial. The content is typically provided by the sponsor themselves, although some creative publishers have built native advertising departments that create the copy for the sponsor.
While evaluating the use of native advertisements, there are a few things to consider:
- Form – Is the ad in the viewer’s activity stream?
- Function – Does the ad function like other elements on the page?
- Integration – Do the ad behaviors mirror content behaviors or introduce new ones?
- Targeting – Is the ad placement guaranteed on a specific page or section?
- Measure – What metrics are used to judge success? Brand engagement or direct response?
- Disclosure – Is disclosure clear and prominent? (we’ll talk about this more next week).
Here is a general evaluation you can use on your native ads:
The best native advertising examples
There are a few core types of native adverting units, including:
In-Feed Units are articles that walk, talk and act like an editorial article, and they may be editorial in nature, but the content placement has been paid for. The content of these ads are usually non-promotional but include a snippet before, after or both, promoting the sponsor.
Paid Search Units
Paid search units can be found in search results, in line with organic search results. Advertisers pay to list themselves contextually within results that have similar content.
When reading an article, you may see ads for related articles. On some websites, like MensHealth.com, these related articles are paid for by a sponsor.
Similar to paid search units, a publisher who sells listings can also sell sponsored listings, like AutoTrader.com.
In-Ad with Native Element Units
A hybrid of a few of the native ad units above, this ad is editorial in nature, but is excerpted and looks more like an ad than an in-feed unit, which blends in seamlessly. Electronic House has since re-launched using different native ad units, but we still like this unique example.
And then there are always your endless opportunities of custom native ads.
Native by any name continues to gain strong momentum as the preferred format for advertisers and publishers, and as the drivers of this trend, there’s no reason why we can’t tap on the brakes along the way to take stock of where we’re at.