Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Subtle Native Advertisement

Spenser Brown

Many people grow frustrated when they are stopped by advertisements on the internet. Social media platforms are littered with advertisements that take people away from the content they want to see.

No company wants to be another typical advertisement that the reader shuffles past. To avoid being stereotypical, companies have now moved on to native advertising.

What is Native Advertising?
An advertiser will do many things to ensure their product is seen by consumers. These advertisers are now sneakily putting their advertisements on platforms in the form of native advertising. A native advertisement looks like content, which is what the reader is seeking out while on the internet. By making the advertisement look like an editorial, the reader is tricked into thinking they are reading an article, while in fact it is an advertisement.

One of the main reasons native advertising has become so common is the lack of effectiveness in traditional advertising. Click through rates for traditional and banner social advertisements have been on a steep decline for some time now. Traditional advertisements, like the one below, are too easy for readers to scroll right past.

As you can see, the offer is clearly stated, instantly telling a reader they are seeing an advertisement. Instead of this, native advertising does not give you a direct indicator, as seen in the picture below.
 This example of native advertising is seen in a New York Times article. The article was actually a paid post used to promote the Netflix show "Orange is the New Black." Subtly putting in the advertisement at the top keeps from slowing down the reader, unlike the traditional method of putting the ad in the middle of the article.

The Problem with Native Advertising
The content of the advertisements used in native advertising is what has become a problem. Rather than the news and information staffs deciding what content is used, it is the advertiser taking more control. The wall between advertising and editorial is growing very thin, and consumers are beginning to lack trust in advertisers due to their use of native advertising. Although advertising executives are trying to say this is not the case, it seems true in the eyes of consumers and content creators.

The Solution
People deserve to know whether or not they are reading an article or an advertisement. There is a distinct difference, and there should be transparency that defines the two. Journalists who are creating news and information content should have freedom to write their articles without it being an advertising trap.

In order to do this, we need to better clarify what is and is not sponsored content. When a consumer is searching the internet, there needs to be clear labeling when something is a paid post. Another way to fix this would be changing the formatting of the articles. Editorials and sponsored posts could have two separate styles that clarify what each article is trying to accomplish.

Be aware of paid posts, sponsored content, and other native advertising. Don't be click bait.

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