As the efficacy of traditional online advertising products like display banners dwindles, online media outlets are finding new ways to drive revenue and increase user engagement with advertisers. One of the fastest growing alternatives is Native Content. Instead of using traditional online advertisements, this content marketing strategy disguises ads as part of a website’s regular content.
Native advertising works similarly to product placements in TV shows. A site may have five articles on its home page with one being an advertisement. This article will typically be about the same topic as the site and target the readers’ interests while also focusing on the advertisers product, service or industry.
Other examples include promoted tweets, sponsored Facebook stories, and featured YouTube videos. These ads are targeted to a user’s connections, interests, and searches to attract attention. While widely successful, they have also been criticized as an invasion of privacy due to the amount of information used to place the advertisements.
Despite some of the backlash, advertisers expect for the use of native advertising to expand. The early numbers show that it has provided a better return on investment than traditional pay-per-click ads. In addition, consumers have continually shown that while they may briefly complain about privacy issues when features like native content are adopted, they will largely continue to use the platform in the same manner as they had before.