People are down on native advertising. Apparently, imposing native ads on your readers can be construed as deception.
But when I think about what differentiates native ads (say, an article about why some company is the best for consolidating student loans) from native content (an article about the state of student loans in America), I have a difficult time articulating those differences.
Both are media creatives that want my attention for the author’s self interest. The article author wants me to keep reading his future publication, maybe I will follow him on Twitter, etc. The ad writer probably just wants me to buy her product.
But I don’t see this as deception, per se. Perhaps there was some expectation that EVERY single article in the publication would be completely fact-based and unbiased. But that kind of filter is naive (whether you’re reading Buzzfeed or reading NYT).
The best point for native ads is this: Somebody is willing to pay to show me this message… it must be worth something. Imagine it was free advertising – imagine the kind of terrible quality that is? When marketers pay to publicize content, it’s usually pretty good — see, the super bowl, for example.
Finally, I admit that it’s a little deceptive, so let’s just accept that native ads are just another step in the attempt to get consumers to click on their stuff. It’s a cat and mouse game… some marketer figures out a clever new way to get people to pay attention, then people catch on; but by then some other marketer has found a new way to trick people. (Remember those: “one weird trick” ads? Those were really big a few years ago, but not so much anymore.)
Whatever it is, what comes next will likely rely on people’s need to find shortcuts.