It likely won't surprise you to read that nearly everyone knows how to click past banner ads, watch the required five seconds of an ad before skipping it to go on to a video, click out of pop-up ads, and fast forward through commercials during television programs.
Combine that with the fact that we’re spending more and more time on the social networks, and this year proves to be an interesting time for communicators.
Native advertising is a term you’re going to hear a lot about in 2013, and it’s going to affect how you create content.
You already see some of this through promoted posts on Facebook and sponsored tweets on Twitter because many PR professionals are charged with carrying out both. Now the lines between advertising, communications, and marketing blurs even more.
Examples of native advertising
Native advertising integrates high-quality content (what I’ll refer to as pull marketing vs. push marketing of the traditional media) into the organic experience of a given platform.
This means the content is so complementary to the user’s experience on the platform, it doesn’t interrupt the flow. People are willing to comment, "like," and share because it feels like it belongs there.
For instance, Jay Peak, a ski resort in Northern Vermont, asks skiers to tag Instagram photos that best exemplify what they love about the mountain. It’s user-generated, visually compelling content.
Of course, there has to be a separate strategy for native ads, but as communicators we have to think about how we create content that integrates with our sister disciplines.
Implement native advertising
To implement native advertising, we have to think about a few things:
Do our users trust us?
Does the brand have integrity online?
Who is the best person (or team) to implement this?
Do we need journalists, designers, and media buyers on our communications team?
Should we outsource some of the content creation ]to keep things fresh consistently?
Too often, organizations use the social networks to push their messages out, as they’re accustomed to doing through traditional methods. Native advertising requires a complete shift in thinking and it won’t be easy—particularly with those clients or bosses who are used to leaving messages in the marketplace for a year or more.
Today you can’t leave a message out there for five minutes, let alone an entire year. Some of you may already be doing some education around how to be social and engaging on the social networks.
Take that a step further in 2013 and implement native advertising into your communications programs.
Gini Dietrich is founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc. A version of this article originally ran on Spin Sucks and on the Airfoil blog.