Last year was the year of content marketing. Possibly, the idea has run its course now that Matt Cutts has officially declared guest blogging dead.
So what do brands who want to position themselves prominently in the lives of their target audiences do to adapt to the changing landscape of online marketing? They re-cock, retarget, and remake their online content marketing efforts, if necessary. Enter native advertising.
In a word, native advertising is a catchphrase that references the practice of position a branded message into the natural experience of its intended audience.
Chances are, you’ve seen those Facebook ads that appear in the middle of your news feed as you go about hanging with your friends. In some cases, those ads are delivered based on off-site interactions you have with those brands. I’ve seen ads appear in my news feed because I sent an e-mail to a company representative or filled out an online form. You can’t get any more native than that.
Imagine watching television and right in the middle of your favorite show one of the characters launches into a promotion of a product that appeals to its core audience. That’s native advertising.
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Those late night infomercials are about as close to native advertising the TV world has seen. Online, the idea is catching on and catching on fast. The reason they’re so effective is because they look natural within the context of the site on which they appear and look like content that would normally fill that space. There’s just one catch: You have to pay for it.
How Does Native Advertising Stack Up Against Pay-Per-Click Models?
With pay-per-click ads, they’re so well-recognized that many people have developed what is called ad blindness. They block the ads out of their vision and pretend they aren’t there. That’s more difficult to do with native advertising.
Because the ads look more natural, users are less likely to ignore them.
Native advertising can take on any of the following forms:
- In-feed ads that look like the content you’d normally see
- Content widgets
- Search listings
- Featured listings
- Custom content
Some of the most popular publishers online display native ads, including Yahoo!, Facebook, Forbes, Gawker, Spotify, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Etsy, Amazon, Yelp, Google, Disqus, Mashable, Twitter, and YouTube. These ads may be contextual, take the form of video, or whatever format is native to the website where the ad appears.
Advertisers who want to reach their target audience in creative ways that look natural might consider native advertising in 2014.
Note: This post is a guest post from a member of our DMR Insider Community.
Image credit: Chris Metcalf via flickr