Native advertising has been defined by market research firm Forrester as sponsored content that aligns with the platform it appears on and enhances the experience of the users, and is relevant to the overall content of the website.
Native content should also be relevant to the brand it promotes, says Muhammad Saleem in an article for Econsultancy.
Promoting the Brand
By all means, sponsored content that fits in with the style and format of the platform it appears on is native, but there should be a shift in focus to how much it actually fits in with the goals of the brand behind it. According to Saleem, many brands are currently using native advertising to boost exposure, but are failing to make the content relevant to their marketing objectives. What they should do instead is produce native content that is both compelling enough to encourage users to share it, and ensure that it actually promotes the brand.
Telling a Story
Chief executive of Buzzfeed Jonah Peretti defines native advertising as a form of content marketing that tells a fascinating story, which those who read it would want to share it. This story can be told with the use of a wide variety of formats, not just text, but also video, graphic art, lists - anything that is relevant to the particular brand. In other words, brand should not only embrace the "native" part of the equation, but also the "advertising" part. The key is to make the native content relevant for a specific target audience in a way that makes the brand become relevant to them, too.The fact that a piece of website content is branded should not be hidden, says Saleem, it should be out in the light, demonstrating the confidence of the marketers behind it in what they are doing and their certainty that the product or service they are marketing through native content is of good quality. Attempting to hide it would leave users with the opposite impression.