Native Advertising: Sticky or Icky?
If done correctly, it has vaue, but how it's executed means everything.
The second story onÂ BuzzFeedâsÂ website Friday morning wasâŠwait for itâŠâ12 Comebacks We Can All Agree With.â
(I say âwait for itâ because anyone who knows BuzzFeedâs editorial approach knows its love for lists.)
It was a sponsored storyâpaid advertisingâposted on behalf of Hostess, whoseÂ Twinkies and other brands are back after the production ceased and the company downsized nearly out of existence last year.
But the comebacks listed in the BuzzFeed story never once mentioned Hostess. It was all about other stuff.
It was actually a pretty good list, and pretty funny, too, despite small errors and its âintern-pulled-the-factoids-off-Wikipediaâ feel. So were the comments, not all of which were complimentary. âUh, Arrested Development was canceled in Feb 2006, and the new season, specifically for Netflix, had 15 episodes. It really isnât hard to check up on simple facts before submitting an âarticle,ââ went one.
At the FOLIO: andÂ MinÂ MediaMashup event in April, one of the speakers was asked to define native advertising. âAdvertising that doesnât suck,â he said.
Thatâs an awesome description, for native or traditional forms. But with native, there are new ways to create superior value for an advertiser (and reader/user) and also new ways to mess things up.
Check outÂ QZ.comÂ for a clean, elegant way to do in-stream native advertising. Consider that the advertising is in the form of storytelling. Not a marketing pitch. Think too about the value provided to an advertiser to be fully integrated into a siteâs content streamâwhere you see the ad as you scroll, and the adâs content comes up in a search. Thatâs incredible advertising value.
But then thereâs the flip side: Done poorly, native advertising in a content stream can seem spammy. It can disrupt the flow of content, not enhance it. It can make your page look like a dissonant cacophony, and put your credibility at risk when people open aÂ pageÂ and see yellow-tinted ads where you think they shouldnât be.
Itâs a double-edged sword, and I admit that Iâm not sure I like everything BuzzFeed is doing. That might be, though, that their formulaic approach kind of gets old quick. The fun of media consumption is in being surprised, and even delighted, in unexpected ways.
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