What Is Native Advertising? An Intro for the Supply Chain

What Is Native Advertising? An Intro for the Supply Chain

Native advertising is the non-ad-like way to promote your business’ content to users who might be interested in it.

Is your business using native advertising to promote your content with a targeted audience? If not, you’re missing out on one of the biggest upcoming trends in content marketing.

So how can your business use this technique to promote your content and, ultimately, your products and services? Let’s take a look at the basics of native advertising.

What is native advertising?

Native advertising blurs the line between advertising and editorial content. It allows publishers (of content) to get their message to a targeted audience in a format the audience is already using. Think of sponsored updates on LinkedIn, which look just like regular posts, or when a radio DJ promotes a product within the regular broadcast.

Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi defines native advertising with the following three qualities:

  1. “A Directly Paid Opportunity. I hate to bring out the obvious, but native advertising is ‘pay to play.’ If a brand or individual did not pay for the spot, it’s not native advertising.
  2. “Usually Content Based. The information is useful, interesting and highly targeted to the specific readership. So, in all likelihood, it’s not an advertisement promoting the company’s product or service directly.
  3. “Delivered In-Stream. To truly be a native ad, the user experience is not disrupted. The advertising is delivered in a way that does not impede the normal behavior of the user in that particular channel.”

Native advertising is not content marketing…

… But it can be an effective way to promote your content.

Remember, content may be king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants. That is to say: Publishing valuable and relevant content in a strategic and consistent manner will create demand for your products and services. But content doesn’t go far — actually it goes nowhere — without distribution.

Native advertising is a paid opportunity to distribute your content to more people. It can be more effective than non-native advertising, like banner ads or commercials, because it does not interrupt the user experience but rather complements it. It doesn’t feel like an ad, even though someone paid to have it appear on your screen.

Social media platforms are offering more and more opportunities for businesses to advertise this way through sponsored posts and updates. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest — you may have noticed that more and more posts from companies you don’t follow appear in your newsfeeds now. These platforms use proprietary algorithms to help businesses target users might be interested in the content they are promoting.

Here’s what a sponsored post on LinkedIn looks like, for example:

linkedin native advertising

The sponsored post from SendGrid looks just like the other posts in my feed. Another important thing: It’s totally relevant for the kind of content I consume. I might even ignore the comma splice and click on it to get the information about email marketing because that’s what I like to read about on LinkedIn.

Some native advertising facts

The use of native advertising is growing among businesses because it is proving to be so effective. Here are some facts that might interest you.

Doing it right

Because native advertising blurs the line between editorial and advertising, some advertisers have gotten in trouble for violating rules of compliance. In response, the FTC has come out with some official guidelines for native ads in order to prevent confusion and to protect consumers. If your business is launching a native advertising campaign, make sure that you are familiar with these rules and best practices.

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