Native advertising is more popular than ever as technology changes how we consume content. However, few people realize that native advertising has been around since the 1800’s (and likely even earlier). Native advertisements seek to emulate the content and the style of the platform, therefore blending right into the user experience. Properly implemented native advertisements can feel like natural extensions of the newspaper, app, website, or other form of media. This creates a greater user experience in an environment where ads seem to pop up once every 10 seconds.
History of Native Advertising
The first well-documented example of native advertising was a magazine ad place by John Deere. John Deere self-published a magazine titled The Furrow was aimed at farmers by providing key insights for agriculture. Rather than advertisements being scattered throughout the magazine as was the tradition at the time, the John Deere information was injected straight into the main content. This native advertisement boosted the brand significantly in the US, setting a precedent for other companies to follow.
The next rise in native advertising came with the advent of radio and television in the early 1900’s. Company sponsored programs became the norm, as advertisements were again folded straight into the entertainment.
Fast forward to today, and it is legitimately difficult to tell what is an advertisement and what is simply user created content. In fact, many platforms such as YouTube and Instagram have implemented policies which require uploaders to expressly state if their content is a paid advertisement.
Different Types of Native Advertising
The appeal of native advertising is pretty straightforward: get your message in front of your audience in a format to which they are already accustomed. But how exactly can you achieve this feat? Here are several common, effective examples of native advertising for the modern world:
Sponsored videos or articles: the key with native advertising is not taking the customer away from the content they are expecting to receive. An example of this might be paid sponsorships through a YouTube personality. This type of advertisement helped brands like Audible.com and Dollar Shave Club by allowing their audience’s preferred voice tell them about the product.
Sponsored social media posts: in similar fashion, many brands will work with influencers to tout their products. This can be as subtle as having the product in the social media post or as direct as having the influencer speaking about the product.
Product placement: Did E.T. really love Reese’s Pieces that much? Without being too certain about alien tastes, we are guessing probably not. Yet E.T. the Extra Terrestrial was the first introduction to reese’s pieces for a large percentage of the population. The brand would soon explode in popularity.
In-feed ads: many modern apps are “scrollers” where users can continuously navigate through a never-ending feed of content. Native advertisements can appear as yet another post, naturally popping up on the screen in a non-invasive manner. This is a great option for many brands. Popular feed based apps include Reddit, Instagram, and even dating apps like Tinder.
Native Advertising as Entertainment
The power of native advertising comes from seamlessly blending the content into the source material. The majority of these sources will be either in the entertainment or information/news sectors. Whatever the medium, native advertising needs to toe the line between appearing like it belongs while also standing out to grab the audience’s attention.
If a native advertisement is being placed in the entertainment sector, it should strive to be as entertaining as the surrounding material. A simple example is the in-feed ad. Consider an Instagram ad. Most popular Instagram posts include some combination of a professional photoshoot, a comedy skit, a celebrity appearance, and so forth. Successful native advertising will match the tone and the content of popular posts within their genre.
Native advertising within the information sector is a different animal, but the same concepts apply. Ads may instead focus on providing key information throughout. Consider the John Deere example from above. The advertisements were embedded into legitimate agricultural articles which provided useful information to farmers at the time.
Many media platforms will denote advertisements in one way or another. Rather than fighting against this, embrace the fact that this is, in fact, an advertisement. Consider the famous This is Sportscenter ad campaign. These spots never shy away from selling you their product, but they keep viewers engaged by offering high quality comedic content.
Clock Tower Insight Helps Brands Grow with Native Advertising
At Clock Tower Insight, we turn data into business solutions. By maximizing brand positioning, CX management, moments of influence, and more, we help build our clients brands in the short and long term. Clock Tower Insight believes that happy customers equal a happy business. We work closely with clients to tailor their brand from top to bottom in order to maximize positive image, exposure, and sales. To learn more about how we may be able to help your business grow, read about our 15 plus years of focused experience working with brands such as Starbucks, Kraft, McDonald’s, and much more.