Contently’s VP of Content: “Native Ads Are Not a Business Model”
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Native advertising is a buzzword wrapped in gray area wrapped in a sales pitch. What does it even really mean? I hate it.
OK, hate is a strong word. And in truth, native ads done right can be a really pleasant (and effective) alternative to traditional forms of advertising. But the term itself has been so over-used as have been rendered useless.
How about "useful advertising" instead? Isn't that getting closer to the point?
Like it or not though, native is a trend that's not going away. And native ads have continued to be a bigger and bigger piece of the overall ad revenue pie-a trend I see continuing through 2015. (Though perhaps not long after that; as more and more of this kind of ad gets sold, its value will begin to decline). In-stream or non-interruptive advertising is an effective, new way of monetizing readers for publishers who are desperate for a way to stop the drain on ad revenue.
What native is not, however, is a panacea for an industry looking for a new business model. At the end of the day, I think both advertisers and publishers will realize that native is an updated, more thoughtful, and more user-friendly version of custom publishing. A useful revenue stream, not a paradigm shift.
It's useful to see native in the context of "traditional" advertising. The best ads have always been great on their own terms, not because they look like the content around them. In fact, I would even argue that it's important for advertising, native or otherwise, NOT to look like the content around it. If I was an advertiser looking to get its money's worth, I certainly wouldn't want my ad to blend into the background.
The best advertising experiences-and the ones which brands will pay a premium for-are the ones that exceed editorial, not hide behind it: immersive experiences, animations, multimedia. After all, it's only interruptive if we don't want to be interrupted.
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