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What is 'native' advertising?

What is 'native' advertising? An introduction to this increasingly popular tactic for attracting potential customers.

Jargon sucks. And as a piece of pseudo-tech-marketing lingo, “native advertising” is one of the most boneheaded buzzwords of the last several years.

Because the advertising in 'native advertising' matches the visual design of the web site and functions just like the original content on that site, someone thought it clever to refer to it as “native”. Other people, themselves wishing to appear clever, mimicked the moniker.

I prefer crystal clear to clever. I refer to it as “sponsored content”.

What is sponsored content?

Most often, sponsored content is an article or series of articles on a web site paid for by a business, a charity, or political action group. Quite often sponsored content includes photos or other graphics that draw the reader in. Sometimes, rather than the written word, the content is a brief web video, or photo slideshow.

So, sponsored content is simply the web's version of “advertorial”?

Not when done correctly. Unlike “advertorial” that mimics a publishing environment's look and feel in order to trick people into reading an advertising message, sponsored content is clearly labeled as being paid for. It is high-quality, interesting, and informative story telling.

What are the benefits of a sponsored content campaign?

Everyone has a story to tell. Sponsored content provides the space to tell that story in a way not possible from a web ad measured in pixels. More importantly, studies show that reader engagement with sponsored content is equal to or greater than editorial content.

A longform, high-quality story when you can barely update your social media sites?

Actually, a well-written and expertly-crafted sponsored content campaign can breathe new life into a stagnant social media effort. Imagine having several articles (and the included photos) from which to create numerous Facebook and Twitter posts.

It's easy to see why sponsored content is gaining in popularity. Interesting story-telling. Reader engagement. Fodder for social media. What's not to like?

Erik Smelser is the Sales Director for BP Media, the media sales team responsible for The Bottom Line, The Royal Gazette, RoyalGazette.com, eMoo.bm, Bermuda Business Directory and other affiliated print and digital products. To learn more about the benefits of a sponsored content campaign, contact Erik at 595-0105.

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Published December 24, 2015 at 11:00 am (Updated December 24, 2015 at 11:10 am)

What is 'native' advertising?

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