We have an interesting learning format at Blogworks called the Fast Forward – a 15 minutes learning session where we talk about concepts, best practices, campaigns – all things worthy of discussion in our journey of ‘brands for the future’. Last week, we had a session on ‘Native advertising’. Here are some key points that we discussed:
- In the past, advertising was a dominant form of marketing communication. From print ads, TVCs, display ads on TV, there were formats available across media channels. The focus of the story was on the ‘advertiser’ and the ‘brand’ was the key character
- Advertorials – ad in the form of editorial content emerged as a new format. From ‘branded feature’ to ‘special promotion’, these appear in different names but have the brand ‘plugged’ into the story
- Native advertising is a new form of content marketing which is content tailored to the needs of a user. It is ‘user-first’ in every way; it matches both the form (it looks like ‘any’ other content that the user would experience on the platform they are using) and the function (utility of the content in their life). The ‘brand’ presence in the content is discreet and contextual
- ‘Native’ – the term itself implies that the piece of content created ‘belongs’, is ‘intrinsic’ to the platform on which it has been placed
- Native advertising can exist on any platform – Facebook (sponsored posts), Twitter (promoted tweets), Mobile (content wall) etc.
- Native advertising can take any form – text, video, infographic, microsite among others
- There is a fair amount of debate on what ‘is’ and ‘is not’ native advertising – for example is all sponsored content (editorial content with a ‘logo’ of the brand on top) native advertising? We discussed that this can ‘depend’ but a good litmus test is if the piece of content is of ‘value’ for the audience that it’s been created and does the brand’s presence ‘fit’ the story not just in terms of the topic or lifestyle represented but also the ‘values’ of the brand as perceived by the user
- Viral social content sites such as BuzzFeed and their desi version ScoopWhoop are embracing native advertising as an important form of their business model. The Pepsi Back to School campaign, National Geographic’s Science of Stupid and MakeMyTrip integrated in travel content are some of the recent examples. These sites may create this content themselves or work with the agency representing the brand to create the content. Hence the ‘creator’ of the story can be the publisher or be collaborated upon by the publisher and the brand
- Native advertising can be measured in terms of reach (views) but the idea is to assess the ‘value’ of the content which can be done through the engagement-driven metrics such as time-spent and virality
- Traditional advertising is mostly intrusive and defines success in terms of how many people ‘viewed’ it. Native advertising is discreet and defines success in terms of how many people ‘shared’ it
Are there any interesting dimensions that differentiate native advertising from other formats? Do share.