What is native advertising?

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Native advertising is a term you may have come across when looking at marketing strategies for your business. It has become somewhat of a buzz word in the Internet marketing world to explain the characteristics of certain types of advertising on the web. But just what is native advertising?

Let’s first turn to Wikipedia for a quick definition: Native advertising is an online advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience. Native ad formats match both the form and the function of the user experience in which it is placed.

Simply put, ads are part of the content in native advertising. As you can imagine, the term is rather subjective and its application is far from uniform among marketing gurus. Everyone seems to have their own unique perspective and approach to native advertising.

The goal of native advertising is to saturate users with strong marketing message without being obnoxious or annoying. Users should be able to consume native ads as they would any other part of the content. Achieving this goal is easier said than done.

Both advertorials and content marketing can be considered a form of native advertising. Ultimately, native advertising describes a marketing strategy that creates a compelling format for users. In order to use native advertising effectively, you’ll need to develop a strategy across your online presence from your website to your social media accounts.

L.L. Bean effectively uses native advertising on Instagram.

An example of native advertising on L.L. Bean’s Instragram feed.

While native advertising has become a buzz word, it can be easily understood when you look at each facet of your marketing strategy. On your website, you’ll be focused on content marketing. Across your social media accounts, you’ll be focused more on native advertising specific to each site’s format, be it pictures or videos or memes. In print, you may fall back on the tried and true advertorial as part of your overall native advertising strategy.

As long as you are integrating your advertising into your content in an unobtrusive way, you’re safe. Careful integration comes from planning. Work with your web designer to help you craft a cohesive marketing message for your business through native advertising.

How do you employ native advertising in your marketing collateral?