Who are you and what are you telling me?

By January 19, 2015Uncategorized

Native advertising with editorial content is on a fast rise. The coming years the marketing budgets for native advertising are set to triple in size. 

Native advertising is about telling a story in a contextual environment and often the contextual environment is rather dumb, for example a display area. Nonetheless the headline (and picture) wants to tell you a story, get you to take part of a piece of editorial content. It’s easy to understand that as the space gets more crowded you start using a high-pitch voice to get attention, and when that happens everybody starts saying, “it’s a click bait”. Call it what you want but when you think about it – newspaper headlines are also click baits. It’s the same thing with display ads or Google ad words – nothing new under the sun.

What I want to emphasize is that it’s crucial that native advertisers are very clear about who they are and what they want to tell. A publisher’s editorial feed is a great place to communicate your message but when there’s a risk that lines get blurred you must never compromise with the guidelines you have set.

The guidelines are already in place, provided by advertiser organisations such as IAB  and Publisher organisations such as TU.

  • Clearly mark your content if it’s sponsored
  • Tell the visitors what “sponsored content” is and/or state who the sponsor is
  • If the content is displayed on the publisher’s properties, differentiate from the editorial content, for example fonts and size in headline and text and the colouring of the background.
  • If it opens in a new tab, clearly tell who you are on the landing page
  • Get to the point as fast as you can
  • It’s tempting to get the visitor into the sales funnel, but you need to understand when the time is right.

Finally, don’t forget the importance of creating great content. When writing articles targeted on a specific topic, use the best writers available for that topic. Dennis Interactive’s managing director Pete Wootton said at a Digiday Publishing Summit, “The best people to write compelling content for the target audience the advertiser is trying to hit are the (publishers’) editors.”

That statement might create some stir, but why? It’s the editors’ skills that make great stories fly, editorial or commercial. Just remember to distinguish which hat you are wearing.