October 2016

Click here, it’s native advertising!

Native adverising

How many tabs do you have open on your browser? How many different pages do you see on the web in a single day? Each of them usually has at least one advert.

There’s no escape!

Which is why more and more users are installing ad-block software to hide noisy and intrusive ads while surfing the web. They’re even forcing law courts to make judgements.

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AdBlock this! Source: Ads Of the Word

Webpages without advertising: why isn’t it everywhere already?

The situation is evolving, with adoption driven by word-of-mouth and strong mobile usage. We have completely ad-resistant browsers and even tools to replace every ad with a work of art.

So no more ads, that’s good, right?

Hang on. Spending on advertising is growing, even in the face of new players like ad-blockers and bots. That’s why innovation and new ideas are needed. My turn: why are online ads so annoying?

Because they interrupt something you’re trying to watch.

Meet native advertising: based on context and paid for by the brand, native ads blend perfectly into the user experience, following the natural form of the media. There are some great examples around, like the New York Times article sponsored by Netflix to promote Orange is the New Black new series. Mashable’s research on mobile UX presented by MasterCard, the Wired long-form article on the Future of TV promoted by Netflix, and the Working Better series by Xerox and The Atlantic.

But isn’t this just ‘advertorial’?

Native ads have to fit with the publication’s editorial style and provide information the audience expects. They’re paid for, but well-camouflaged in the publication. Obviously, it’s a matter of reputation and integrity for the publisher to reliably report any companies involved. With content marketing, the brand becomes the publisher: for example, EniDay, the original storytelling platform by Eni; Ideas That Travel, a partnership of TED and Qantas, and well-known Facebook page Humans of New York, which has become an entire product range.

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native ads fit form and function. Source: Think with Google

So they’re ads, but not ads?

Yes. Even because social networks are bringing you well-formatted content to show you the best articles and stories like Facebook’s Instant Articles, iAd News by Apple and Google’s AMS project, before crappy click baiting stuff.

There’s a pattern here.

Indeed. Every company is becoming a media company. And perhaps more importantly, some media companies are selling their experience to help them. So RedBull has become a publisher with RedBull Media House, while many famous newspapers with reputation, skills and facilities have created internal start-ups to help brands publish content. See NYT’s BrandStudio, The Guardian’s GuardianLabs, BBC’s StoryWorks and Kinection by Bloomberg.

Indeed. Every company is becoming a media company.


So, what’s next?

Publishers have become agencies, tech companies now act like publishers – either way, content is king. The most recent example is Amazon Prime, which on November 18th will present the Grand Tour, a brand new series starring former BBC Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson and his team. The show will have its own dedicated platform, the DriveTribe, where car lovers can share opinions and comments on car brands. You can bet that native ads will be there. And if done well, no one will even notice.

Publishers have become agencies, tech companies now act like publishers – either way, content is king.


I can’t wait!

So keep in touch, and see you next Reply’s R20!

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