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What is native advertising?

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday May 29, 2013 )

The definition of native advertising will depend on who you ask – but here’s a stab at putting an explanation to the label.Put in the simplest of terms; it’s content running on a publisher platform promoting an advertiser that blends in with that site’s ecosystem. The “ad” is usually wrapped in a story or some type of content that the publisher/advertiser believes will be of some value to the viewer.

Some examples:

– Advertorial
– Promoted tweets
– Promoted stories
– Sponsored content
– Sponsored Infographics

The advertising industry is really getting its knickers in a knot about the definition and has called on the IAB to lead the way in determining an accurate description.

The marketing boffins can argue about what it is and what it isn’t until the cows come home and it will be of little consequence to me. Where it does have some importance to me is how Google defines it and how consumers perceive it.

In a recent video, Matt Cutts had the following to say:

“We’ve also been looking at advertorials … That is sort of native advertising … and those sorts of things that violate our quality guidelines.”

“If someone pays for coverage … those ads should not flow PageRank”.

In other words, the “nofollow” tag should be used in any links in those pieces. Mr. Cutts also says there should be clear and conspicuous disclosure.

The full video can be viewed here (note that this video was recorded prior to the release of the “Penguin” update).

In a survey last year by MediaBrix, 86% of consumers felt most deceived by sponsored video ads, 57% by Facebook Sponsored Stories and 45% about Twitter Promoted Tweets.

So in other words, whether publisher or advertiser, when it comes to native advertising – handle with care as it can have multiple negative impacts.


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