If you’re in online advertising or digital media you could probably measure your “native-ness” by whether or not you have heard of “Native Advertising”. It’s the newest ad unit in an industry that loves shiny new things to play with and it won’t be long until it’s the darling term thrown around by clients too.
In fact it probably won’t be long until it’s referred to in acronym form as well. If there is one thing digital loves more than shiny new things, it’s acronyms!
“Hey, what’s the CPM for the NA on FB? I need it ASAP, and no, we don’t do CPC!”
Anywho, Native Advertising has been around since August 2012 and seems to attract varying definitions depending on who you ask. The one I like best is:
“Native Advertising is advertising that conforms to the design, look, and feel of the platform it sits on.”
Obviously then, those standard ad units we love to use across every site don’t fall into the definition of Native Advertising. However, if you’re a true Digital Native, a couple things would have started percolating in that brain of yours.
Firstly, you’re probably thinking that traditional advertorial you sometimes use does indeed fit the above definition, and you would be right. The online advertorial could be thought of as the first iteration of Native Advertising.
Secondly, you might be asking yourself, doesn’t social media also fit the definition of Native Advertising? And yes, you would be right again. Almost all advertising on a site like Facebook fits the design, look, and feel of the Facebook platform.
Everyone from huge global brands like BMW through to the local second-hand book store all get the same page layout, the same ad units and the same ability to converse with their audience. The only real difference comes in their ability to make custom pages or apps, but even these still need to sit within a Facebook frame.
Why does NA matter then, if you’re already using it? (See that, I couldn’t help myself, that acronym just popped out all by itself.)
Well, it matters because what the Digital Natives who are at the forefront of finding these sorts of things out are finding, is that Native Advertising is more effective than traditional advertising.
NA doesn’t come across as a typical advertisement. There is an inherent value to the audience in the content itself that goes beyond a traditional ad. This is certainly true of the good ol’ online advertorial we use and social media in general. The audience gets a value from it not necessarily related to the ad or what we want them to do or buy.
So if it’s more effective, then we should be on the look out for new and exciting ways to use it across a greater variety of sites, giving more value to the audience and more meaning to the ad.
For those of you who love a good infographic, here is a good one from Solve Media that’s on Mashable right now.