Timely, like a savior for display advertising, Native Advertising has become the flagship subject of online advertising. If the idea of ”native” ads begins to take hold, it is not yet unanimous among publishers … The native is however an advertising medium that some expect at the turn to supplant the slow agony of display which only attracts the wrath of Internet users and their ad blockers, while the media themselves are looking for new sources of funding…
Note that this article itself is an example of native advertising, since it is written as part of our partnership with the editorial team of CWT Advertising-com.
An innovative advertising format of which it was necessary to make a first assessment about good practices with these 10 golden rules much needed for who wants to venture there. A word of advice: read carefully and if you want to target mobile users who appreciate social networks, you’ve come to the right place!
1. Make it clear to the reader that this is advertising content
Native advertising will be clearly mentioned as such, before the article, presence of the brand logo, specific graphics).
The International Bureau of Advertising (IAB), the world’s regulatory authority for the profession, has made specific recommendations on the use of native advertising.
The key point is the obligation of transparency: clearly informing the public of the advertising nature of the content created:
- Use words that clearly state that the content produced has been paid for, which makes it advertising, even if it does not contain traditional advertising and promotional messages.
- The warning message must be large and visible enough to be perceived by the consumer, regardless of the context or medium where the advertisement is viewed. The consumer must be able to clearly distinguish what relates to editorial content from what constitutes advertising.
2. Don’t lie to the reader
If we pretend to make a serious product comparison, it is impossible not to speak of the competitors, or to agree to lie about its possible faults. That is why, there are subjects that should not be dealt with, such as a lens test bench for a brand of photo optics. Unless you accept that the media points out its weaknesses, which is not the primary objective of an advertising campaign.
3. Avoid native advertising when you have a controversial image
In general news, native advertising is not suitable for brands whose image and behavior are perceived as negative.
Cigarette merchants and political parties are already advertisers who are already complicated to welcome in traditional advertising, let alone for native advertising!
This would only increase the distrust of the reader vis-à-vis the brand, as much as the support.
An advertiser in “media delicacy” will have to choose carefully the medium of diffusion and the subject to be treated. It seems like a bad idea for an advertiser like Areva to create native content for a magazine dedicated to renewable energy, as the company is heckled about this issue. From the point of view of the media, it is even suicidal, so much the readers will consider that as a compromise and a deception.
But, it’s like in everyday social life: when one has questionable personal conduct, it is better to keep a low profile …
4. Accept a workflow that guarantees the editorial independence of the media
The devil is in the process! It is necessary to discuss in advance the subjects and angles proposed by the media. But no intrusion afterwards (unless the journalist is wrong about the facts or the data).
We must accept that the publisher remains in control of its editorial line in the design phase. There may be discussion and negotiation about the nature of the (honest) content that may be of interest to the reader. But at no point should you try to put pressure on the editor to force him to adopt a subject, angle or numbers that he does not want.
Media credibility is something brands need, in an era of widespread distrust and progressive disintermediation!
5. No direct promotion of a brand or a product: that’s clandestine advertising
It is essential to avoid using the formal codes of native advertising, to advertise, on the merits! The content should not be used as an excuse to sell your products or your business. It is the attachment to the brand through the quality of the information service rendered that we are aiming for, not a classic communication, more or less masked. In most cases, brands must refrain from placing their products or their brand for the content most integrated into the media, in order to avoid any risk of being perceived as misleading or manipulative.
6. Separate the “agency” pole from the purely journalistic pole
From the point of view of the media, it is necessary to separate the “agency” pole from the purely journalistic pole which must keep its total independence. The same insurmountable wall must exist as between governance and writing in the media. And the director of publication or the boss must play his role of filter and resist as it should be under pressure from advertisers. Scott Buzzfeed’s editor Scott Lamb himself conceded that tensions sometimes existed between the team of brand-content editors and the journalists. When two cases, one rather positive, the other rather negative, collided with each other.
The work on this kind of sponsored files must also be done on a voluntary basis, otherwise it can be disastrous in terms of business and management climate.
7. Ask audience and engagement criteria beforehand
This constraint forces the media and advertisers to focus on the interest of the reader: just because content is advertising does not mean that it should not meet standards of attractiveness and quality! So everyone wins: readers, advertisers and the media who don’t sacrifice the user experience “for a few dollars more.”
Minimum number of unique visitors, time spent, number of shares or interactions … quantitative and qualitative criteria must be defined to assess the satisfaction of the readers, and therefore, the effectiveness of the advertisement.
8. We must give ourselves the means to do things well
Native advertising does not tolerate mediocrity. If a brand decides to offer content, it must be almost better than the media, because it does not leave with the same sympathy capital at the base (except perhaps if it is called Netflix, Apple or Nike). The slightest error can be sanctioned with a “bad buzz”. This means working properly on video scripts, having quality images, efficient editing and above all banning all self-promotion! The question to ask is, “Would I genuinely appreciate this content, if I were not a marketing manager or if I was not working for my company?”
Advertisers must give up their narcissistic temptation, which not only is ineffective, but can even be counterproductive!
9. No subject “alibi” whose objective is to enhance the brand, without really serving the reader
The benefit-reader must be the priority of all. Whether it’s giving practical information, getting the reader thinking or entertaining. If the service rendered is too weak, native advertising will fail, like any bad article.
10. Understand that advertisers and the media have a linked destiny
You have to understand that advertisers and the media have a linked destiny and stop playing trench warfare. The media need brands to finance their content, because the 100% paid model cannot be duplicated for everyone. Advertisers still need the media to benefit from their credibility and editorial know-how. Even if they are increasingly trying to do without it by producing their own content (by the way hiring quite a few former journalists). It is therefore necessary to find acceptable compromises on the ethical as well as the economic level, and not to lose sight of the essential: the reader-consumer.
So we come to the conclusion Inception, with an article that talks about native, and which clearly advertises native for an agency. But if you have read so far, this may be proof that the native has a bright future ahead of him 🙂 And you, what are you waiting for to get started in Native Advertising? To prepare well, I also invite you to find our white paper to learn all about native advertising.
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