Is Native Advertising a Trick?

Online advertising is a difficult field to navigate.  People don’t like pop-ups very much and web banners are a dime a dozen. So what do marketers do now? They invest in native advertising.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau defines native advertising, or sponsored content, as a tactic that “delivers paid ads that are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.” In short: They’re ads disguised as content.  But this isn’t to be confused with content marketing.  This article notes the differences between native advertising and content marketing.  Whereas content marketing serves to build credibility and give consumers long-term value, native ads exist only to sell.

An ad that is designed so well that consumers might not even realize that it’s there? Too good to be true, right? Of course it is.  So it’s no surprise that the F.T.C has gotten involved to warn marketers not to be deceptive with their native ads.  But is that necessary? Are native ads really designed to trick consumers into thinking that they’re not being persuaded to buy something?

I think it’s fair that native advertising is mandated to have some sort of label on it, but I also don’t think there is anything wrong with advertising that resembles its environment.  Whether an ad graces a TV screen or fall seamlessly into a Facebook News Feed, if the content is good, then people will embrace it.

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2 thoughts on “Is Native Advertising a Trick?

  1. I agree that consumers enjoy ads that feel natural. There is that balance between consumers wanting marketers to recognize that consumers are very aware of ad tactics, yet, at the same time, consumers wanting to still be entertained by any content presented. It’s almost like consumers want to be noted for their intellect but they don’t want to actually have to apply it. Very interesting.

  2. I think that marketers do have to tread lightly when using native advertising. Although consumers may not think that the ad itself is intrusive as popups, the content needs to be identified as an advertisement immediately. These ads may not be designed to trick consumers, but they might do so if they work too seamlessly with the content. Also, who would judge whether or not the content of the ad is interesting or fitting? It would be a tough determination. If marketers are not careful too many restrictions may be placed on this new way to advertise.

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