What is this article about?


You may find yourself perplexed by the different terms out there used to describe advertising. Such as, content marketing, above-the-line marketing and so on. Look no further; this post will clear any doubts you may have regarding what native advertising really is.

 If you are under the impression that you are the only one in doubt, you are mistaken. Research was carried out in 2014 where over 2000 people were asked if they knew what we were talking about. 49% of them had no clue as to what this type of advertising is. Only 3% (the geeks) are actually very knowledgeable about what this strategy really is.


What really is Native advertising?


For all of you who don’t know what native advertising entails, simply put, it is a way for marketers to distribute their content in an interesting, fun way, where you definitely won’t yawn while experiencing it. For example, this blog post could be natively advertising Humour Me. 


What is Native advertising in a lot more detail?


In case you’re one of those who like knowing everything about anything, native advertising is delivered in stream. This means providing an uninterrupted experience, delivered in a way that does not obstruct the user’s normal behavior in that particular channel.


Don’t be mistaken, it is not a way to pimp out a product or service. It is being presented to you in a cool way, using text, info-graphics, videos, podcasts, apps or even microsites. Obviously, this is paid for, as native marketers are creating a product of value and relevance suitable for the third party.


Where can you find it?


Native advertising is everywhere. We just don’t know it. It is getting harder and harder to identify. A fun statistic to prove that it is, in fact, everywhere, is that 41% of brands are using native advertising as part of wider promotion efforts.


Who is doing it right?


Let’s look at the king of native advertising, BuzzFeed. They have excelled at generating (an enormous) revenue from promoted posts. BuzzFeed is a media empire that has found a way to survive through using sponsored content. While other platforms are struggling, BuzzFeed is bringing in the big bucks.



 Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have or still do spend a number of hours taking BuzzFeed quizzes, reading news articles or the “Did you know?” sections that are posted. Each one of these includes some form of native advertising.

A brilliant example of native advertising on BuzzFeed is one done for Intel, titled “15 Things We Did At School That Future Students Will Never Understand.” This article shows us the outdated technology, we as students from the 90s would have used in school, such as floppy disks to save our work on. Intel advertises by simply adding the brand name under the heading and at the end by suggesting we update or technology and replaces our old with Intel products.


Another example…


Another media giant who has mastered the art of native advertising is Google. If you can make a great piece of content and simultaneously remind people of your product, then that in itself is brilliant. Google has been able to achieve this through employing native advertising. When you search for let’s say, a gym bag, the images that appear on top followed by the links, are an example of this done right. It’s Google; we aren’t even surprised that they pulled this off too.


Who has messed it up?


Brands that are in the business of native marketing screw it up big time too. For instance, The Atlantic’s sponsored ad for the Church of Scientology is an example of what NOT to do in native advertising. So, how did they mess up something that was so easy? The tone of the Atlantic’s article created a disconnection between the audience and the advertiser, lessening the ads value to the audience.


Now what?


Hopefully, native advertising is clearer to you now. If not, then you will continue to be a part of a statistic in research carried out by these agencies…


Sanjana Sarna


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