Native advertising is the practice of producing content for a particular media outlet in such a way that it seamlessly resembles other content on that site or publication. Like a chameleon, the branded content completely adopts the form and purpose of other non-branded content on the site. So, a native ad on New York Times would look almost identical compared to the news articles around it.

In fact, many pieces of native content elevate these standards even higher, creating content that stands alongside some of the best, most thoughtful and most engaging work published on that outlet. The result is that people enjoy the post so much and get so much value out of it that they do not care that it is essentially a paid ad. So, readers win, the publication venue wins, and the company advertising wins. Native advertising is a gold standard among advertising strategies.


How Native Advertising Is Similar To and Different From Content Marketing

Around the time that people began to realize that banner ads were almost completely ineffective and that Google searches brought in a ton of traffic, content marketing began to take hold.

But even before that, companies have been creating content that people would actually want to read and putting it in the hands of potential customers. Some have even become cultural touchstones: the Michelin Guide still serves as one of the most prestigious gatekeepers for evaluating fine cuisine. Each Michelin star awarded is a newsworthy event.

Yet, even with more digital tools at their disposal than ever before, companies cannot always put their content in the right hands through means of their own. To solve this problem and also elevating the content they produce, they resort to native advertising.

Unlike most content marketing, native advertising has an inherent cost to display it in addition to the costs of producing the content itself. These are paid ad spots, just like a banner/display ad or a classified in your local paper. Since these native ads often require lots of screen space and site resources, media outlets can charge quite a pretty penny for the privilege of having them hosted.


The Results of Native Advertising

While banner and display ads are largely ignored, people are visually drawn to native ads and readily consume them alongside unbranded content. Some, like Netflix’s “Cocainenomics” hosted on the Wall Street Journal and promoting the show Narcos, are so engaging that they get shared thousands of times and become trending articles on their host sites. Other native ads take things to the next level, such as Red Bull’s many branded events that are essentially native ads since major networks like ESPN carry them on their programming.

So, in sum, native ads are the creme de la creme of content marketing since they have high standards of quality, provide excellent informational or entertainment value to readers, pay for prominent featuring on already popular media sites, and largely avoid negative tropes associated with ads.


Adding Native Advertising to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Native advertising ranges from the high standards set by Netflix to sponsored Facebook posts which have a paid-for position on someone’s newsfeed yet resemble a post they would see shared by friends or a page they follow. At the same time, quality is key. Your native ads must always at very least meet the standard set by non-sponsored posts on the site, if not exceed it.

Native ads that elevate content to a higher form, such as the pseudo-documentary covering Rick Ross’ purchase of a Checkers franchise, are even more likely to see engagement. Return on investment therefore often scales in proportion to the initial investment put into the quality of the native ad — the more work you put in, the more value you and your audience get out at the end of the day.
In an age where most display ads are intercepted by ad-blockers, having click-worthy native ad content can bring eyeballs back to your product messaging. Explore how native advertising can fit within and enhance your existing marketing mix to help your organization prosper in this time where content still reigns as king by visiting Vonazon’s content marketing services page.