Love it or hate it, native advertising appears to be here to stay.
What is native advertising? In both print and digital marketing, a "native" advertisement is one that exists within the context of whatever platform is being used to launch the advertisement. The most common example of this is so-called "sponsored content" that you'll see on a website or a newspaper.
With sponsored content, a company is advertising its brand in a more organic sense. For instance, a detergent manufacturer might sponsor an article about energy efficiency, pairing in how their product helps to achieve this goal.
When native advertising first hit the scene a few years ago, many people dismissed it as an unnecessary intrusion of marketing into otherwise brand-free content. But since then, consumers have reported an increased appetite for sponsored content. So wrote Blank Label's Danny Wong, who recently wrote a piece published in the Huffington Post on the topic.
"Publishers such as Buzzfeed, Mashable and The New York Times have hired out dedicated teams to manage [native advertising initiatives]. More importantly though, readers love it," Wong wrote. "The notion that native advertising is bad for audiences overall is ludicrous. A brief look at the numbers only serves to prove its effectiveness and ability to engage readers while driving social action."
Does this mean that all brands should tap native advertising? No. However, this curious evolution opens the door to internet marketing solutions that have transformed the way that consumers interact with brands and services.
Ultimately, it could be that advertising becomes more native as a whole, bringing information about products closer to those who are interested in learning more.