Native Advertising – Beware

Have you heard of the term “native” advertising? What about “native” content? Many publications have embraced “native,” but in the near future, it may blow up on your brand. “Native” advertising is content created to pretend like it is part of surrounding editorial content, but in reality, it is nothing more than advertising designed to deceive. It fits in. It looks “native.”

Remember when you would see a page of content in a magazine or newspaper and at the top, in small type, it would say “This is an advertisement?” That little bit of honesty was the first to go.

Now, many online-only publications are filled with nothing more than wall-to-wall ads disguised to look like editorially driven stories about new restaurants, store openings or likewise topics. Behind closed doors, publishers of these deceptive “stories” are continually looking for sly new ways to trick their readers. Advertisers, now referred to as “sponsors,” can cover up flawed products in these publications targeting less than intelligent viewers, who will believe they are reading honest reviews. The reality? Drop a dollar in these publications’ pockets, and they will tell their readers anything you want them to read.

Online publishers actively lure their viewers to become part of the deception. Honest and loyal readers are encouraged to like or share these digital ads. Become enlightened to this scam, and you will begin to see the entire chain of players in the deception. Viewers that can spot it are fortunately growing. On some level, it can be interesting, game spotting the companies that seek to deceive and the audience they think is easily duped.

People are tired of deception. In some cases, the slope is a little more sinister. Sadly, we see it slipping into the healthcare arena. Reading a faux review about a chef’s latest creation is a little different than a faux review of a facelift or a health insurance plan. Unfortunately, the web is becoming full of it.

There’s nothing wrong with advertising. It’s capitalism. Traditionally, it’s an honest business in that viewers know they are looking at a service or product through the lens of the company attempting to sell it. “Native” content is purposely disguising the fact that it’s an ad, paid for by the advertiser. Start watching for it. It’s easy to spot. If you see a lot of stories about products or services that are all just “awesome,” you’re the dupe of planned deception.

As a marketing firm, who takes our clients and craft seriously and wants to keep its brands credible, we hate to see the further erosion of consumer trust and possibly the slow of the modern life revolt that we all see playing out in politics.

Contact us HERE with any questions