There’s been so much talk about native advertising lately, and much of it centers on the bottom line. Clearly native advertising and sponsored content is a reality in our industry, and companies must make some tough decisions in how much it’s worth to them and their brand, and carefully evaluate the risks vs. rewards.
It’s refreshing to read AdWeek’s recent piece, “Success in Native Advertising Hinges on Preserving Best Practices,” by Pam Horan.
Beyond the “value added to the consumer” rhetoric that’s been thrown about a lot in this discussion lately, Horan hits on a key concept for publishers who are looking at native advertising as a new wrapper for an old concept.
“Access to audiences through native advertising is meaningless if the content isn’t compelling, right for the audience and surrounded by other high-quality content,” she says. She supports her thoughts with data from their recent study on native advertising, which shows that “tried-and-true best practices around great content and audience cultivation are crucial to making native ad placements work.”
One of the keys, she asserts, is transparency. “Clear labeling of native content is key to a reader distinguishing an ad from editorial and meeting audience expectations.”
Understanding what you’ll measure as a determinant of success is important too, “as KPIs vary as widely as the native executions they are designed to track.”
A solid understanding of your audience is essential when determining what kind of native advertising will truly add value to your readers’ experience, and she stresses that “brands must work with trusted partners to help bring their ideas to life based on measurable objectives.”
Horan hits it on the head with this one, and we hope to see more brands paying attention.