Friday, 7 November 2014

Native Advertising is sponsored content. Is this the way for online publishers?

Native Advertising or in other words, sponsored content, is proving a strong revenue earner for Media.

It is an ethical issue because it is "disguising" Ads, as non-commercial content and I for one, are seeing more and more "news" which is clearly paid for. So it will affect the reader "trust" of the brand.

The New York Times has called it the "driver" for its growth in online revenue last week, clearly indicating that there's a lot of it about.

Forbes have "Brand Voice" Ad options.

Sponsored Posts/Native commentary is over 30+ of LinkedIn's overall Ad revenue. Like their "sponsored updates". 

Tumblr are introducing similar "sponsored video posts".

The UK's Guardian is doing the same as are, most Irish online publishers.

It's euphemistically called "content marketing" but in reality it is PR dressed up as news. And that's an issue for the PR Industry because they may find that Clients will simply have to pay to have their brand stories appear. In fact it cuts across the very core as to what PR is about. Regrettably.

Traditional Broadcast Advertising to be fair, has at its core, a warning.

Called an 'Ad break', listeners and viewers clearly understand that at that part of the broadcast, someone is trying to sell them something (legitimately).

And Traditional Press Advertising is 'bordered' off from content so they're obviously Ads, not content.

So there must be, should be, some concerns raised about "native content" or sponsored content or whatever it's called designed to hide the fact, that it's advertising without a warning. And the very fact that they're trying to hide it by renaming it, in itself shows the concerns are already there.

But money is money I guess.

There must be questions raised too, by media owners themselves, that by "prostituting" their product in this way, could damage their trust amongst their consumers who may depart to other reliable publications.

Fundamentally, we all agree and want, online media to generate more revenue. Absolutely.

However, we should question, is this the way.

Without fear or favour - seems to me to be more favour than without.