Drinking Native Advertising Cocktails

Paul Talbot Copywriting, Featured


Native advertising sure sounds like fun.  The term evokes images of languid strolls along spits of sugary sand.  Grass huts and coconut trees.  Maybe even a rum drink packed with chunks of fruit speared with an umbrella

It’s as if all the grime of marketing has been washed away.

Except it hasn’t.  There is nothing new about going native.  Product placement has been with us for ages. So has advertorial.  Contextual advertising isn’t exactly a breakthrough concept.

My clients aren’t calling to say, “Write me some native advertising.”

They say, “Write something so I can do some business.”

Does native advertising make the job of selling easier?  It has been described as…

“An online advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience.”

Sounds impressive.

But according to the Internet Advertising Bureau, even banners are members of the native advertising tribe.

I’m a bit suspicious of the notion that advertising placements somehow become more clickworthy when they become less intrusive.

Research from a Sharethrough study claims, “subjects were 25% more likely to look at a native ad than they were at a banner, and they looked at them 53% more frequently.”

What exactly is being compared?  Given the fact that the IAB lumps banners into the native advertising ecosystem, why is the Sharethrough study bashing the already bloodied banner?

I’m also wondering…

How long the term native advertising will be with us?

How did this fresh coat of paint moniker catch on?

How will consumers react as publishers waffle on transparency and fail to disclose appropriate clarity about the source of their content?

(Atlantic has already been stung by shilling content for the Scientologists.)

Native advertising sure sounds like fun.

But will the natives who require results grow restless?