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The What, Why and How of Native Advertising

There’s a ‘new’ way to advertise on the block and it is fast becoming a crowd favourite. The content marketing industry is at the edge of their seats to mine the benefits of ads that look like anything but them. 

Popularly known as Native Advertising, it refers to ads that have the exact look and feel of the website on which they are published. It comes attached with a common place misconception of being quite a novel concept. The way we see it today is an evolved version of a concept that has been around well before the Television was invented. It all began with a man named, John Deere who published the agricultural magazine called ‘The Furrow’. 

This magazine targeted close to 17 regions and comprised of agricultural tips and farming articles in addition to ads of Deere’s Agri-products for farmers. First published in the year 1895, it was able to garner a readership of more than 4 million by 1912. 

This splendid success set the tone for native advertising to move on from print media to Radio and soon to television. The format of these ads began to change as brands began to commercially sponsor radio shows and T.V. programs. P&G was among the first to take the wheel of branded T.V.  programs that sparked off the world of ‘soap operas’.  Audiences were now consuming content with brand plug-ins which was helping brand recall as well as conversions. Then entered the internet era and evolved native advertising further. This began to blur the well-defined lines between content and advertisements for many. Today native advertising is chiefly characterised by three ad variants that are majorly employed by content marketers todays. 

In-feed ads   

These native ads can be placed in the news feed of a text-based medium and often resemble its form and function. For instance, if you place a native ad on a website entirely dedicated to sports, its content will be presented in the form of a sports article. These ads differ a lot from display ads as consumers will click on them voluntarily in lieu of more content to consume. One way you can make the most of these ads is by offering content packaged exactly in line with the website’s content where they are published. 

Recommendation ads

These native ads are generally placed on a webpage but do not necessarily become a part of its feed. They are placed under a widget like form that is restricted to either the side or the end of a webpage. There are a few tell-tale words that you can recognise these by such as ‘Recommended for you’, ‘You may like’, ‘From around the world’, ‘You must have missed’ etc. One way to drive up your user engagement and page recirculation would be to zero in on the most relevant content to publish these ads under. 

Promotional Listing ads

These native ads are more specific and have many similarities with display ads. They find their place on websites that are not text-based in any manner, for example - Amazon or Google. These are bound to get more customer clicks as they are generally in line with what the customers are looking for. Making use of these ads thus drives more results for brands with specific products to sell as they are placed in the gambit of exactly what the customer wants. 

Native ads have steadily become an indispensable part of staple content with the emergence of social media. Websites like Facebook and Twitter have given them the authoritative recognition setting the tone for brands to reach out to consumers and make an impact in the most non-advertising manner.

Content marketing will play an instrumental role in native advertising as brands look for the sweet spot to convert their customers into followers. Its safe to say that native advertising laying the groundwork for all brand to take on the familiarity of one’s mother tongue.  


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