Can Native Advertising Change the Advertising Business Model?

native_advertisingby Randy Bowden

Riding the latest wave of online advertising, Native Advertising has taken the advertising world by storm. The notion of native advertising is new and seeks to integrate advertising content with the medium on which it is displayed. Theoretically, this allows the advertisement to blend in, engage, and complement the existing material, rather than standing out like an obvious advertisement. Native advertising, that contains a branded message, seeks to integrate with a website’s ongoing message and add to the dialogue instead of merely adding to the advertising signature of the site.

As mentioned, the notion is a relatively new one and professionals in the field are still debating its efficacy. Designed to fit into the expansion of social-media, native advertising presumes that the outwardly obtrusive advertising methods are going out the window and being replaced by an interactive dialogue between customer and company.

Originally posited by Fred Wilson at OMMA Global as “native monetization,” last September, the term was soon re-purposed as “native advertising.” Sharethrough CEO, Dan Greenberg, has become a willing convert and proselytizer of the concept.

“I don’t know if I coined the term native advertising,” admits Greenberg. “But I certainly began evangelizing the notion.”

Native advertising seeks to accomplish three things that set it apart from traditional advertising. A properly executed native advertising campaign seeks to adopt the outward appearance of the media where it is placed, while appearing to be a seamless representation of the content being presented, while also adding quality content to the dialogue.

Perhaps one of the best examples of the medium can be seen within Facebook’s Sponsored Stories and Twitter’s Promoted Tweet. Early results show promise, as Facebook’s click through rate is higher than on its banner ads. More importantly, the buying public appears ready for the shift, as they are growing tired of the relentless advertising assault that typically greets them when they are online.

Detractors complain that the idea is an inherently deceitful practice seeking to mask its message while engaging the, hopefully, future customer in an unrelated conversation. The question remains whether the advertising-savvy consumer will continue to respond to the method, or turn their backs on it once they have reached their saturation point?

Whether native advertising will prove the wave of the future, or simply the latest gimmick in an industry known for its gimmicks, is yet to be seen. For now, however, those engaged in the advertising game have sat up and taken notice of the possibilities available from an ongoing conversation with future customers and clients.

What we know at this time? Until the consumer makes their final choice, the concept of native advertising will be a hotly contested debate in advertising boardrooms and on the blog pages of interested parties.

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randy_bowdenAn executive who after spending 26 years in the corporate world in various marketing roles within one of the largest utilities in the nation, grew tired of the grind and sought a new challenge. Randy entered the non-profit market taking the position of Director of Marketing and Corporate Relations for a national organization, overseeing all brand and touch elements; print, web, TV and national convention. In 2010 Randy and his wife, Shalah, also a professional marketer formed bowden2bowden llc, a marketing and brand consultancy firm. Their extensive knowledge of marketing, branding, PR, advertising, promotions, relational & social networking can connect the client to targeted solutions. Clients receive exceptional creative executions and solid branding strategies giving them a real competitive advantage. Randy writes weekly for their bowden2bowden blog.

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