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Advertisers Go Native, Consumers Feel Misled

Advertisers have gone native. By that, we mean advertising formats that put a digital twist on print advertorials and special advertising sections. You’ve probably already seen some of these ad formats — Twitter’s Promoted TweetsFacebook Sponsored Stories; promoted videos on YouTube and Tumblr; and other types of promoted articles across other digital publishing platforms like Buzzfeed or Gawker.

Is Native Effective?

And while these promoted posts have gained popularity, thanks in part to social media platforms' offering them, just how effective are they? Last week, MediaBrix, an end-to-end, in-app social and mobile advertising solution for Fortune 500 marketers, released the results of a new survey that focused on the perceptions about ads that attempt to appear as part of the content in any medium, including in print, on television and on digital, social and mobile platforms.

The survey found that the majority of online adults who have seen advertising appear as content in the past year indicated that the ads negatively impacted or had no impact on their perception of the brand being advertised. The same was generally true across social media platforms as well.

Misleading Users with Promoted Content

Perhaps most interesting, the survey showed that the majority of online adults who have seen advertising that appears as content in the past 12 months found the ads misleading. Considering that social media marketing is about transparency, unintentionally misleading your fans and followers may not be ideal.

MB_Harris_Misleading.png

The Future of Native Advertising

Does this mean going native is not worth it? Possibly, but what it probably means is that you shouldn’t focus all your marketing efforts in these types of advertising — but that’s true for any advertising platform.

Additionally, using sponsored stories to promote your content should be done to fulfill a strategic goal. What are you trying to achieve by promoting your content and what are the specifications of the content to be promoted? Just as you need to be strategic about your social media marketing efforts, native advertising needs to be spelled out as well.

Of course the other thing to keep in mind is that most of these promoted platforms are still new. Traditionally, we see consumers come around on functionality that they had once deemed weird and unfamiliar. Perhaps as more people become more familiar with promoted posts and sponsored stories they can begin to trust the sources from which they come.

 
 
 
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