How Much Do You Know About Native Advertising?

Native advertising is being heralded as the new frontier of marketing. In fact, it’s expected to grow from $4.7 billion to $21 billion by 2018 according to Business Insider.

The term native advertising (or sponsored content) gets tossed around on B2B blogs and in marketing meetings, but how much do you actually know about native ads?

Here’s a breakdown of 5 things every business – big or small – needs to know about native advertising:

1. What is native advertising?

In a nutshell, native advertising is a piece of content (story, video or graphic) that’s created to promote an advertiser while also entertaining and/or informing readers.

The “native” portion refers to the format – it should fit in with other content on the publisher’s platform. So unlike a banner ad or popup ad, native ads don’t disrupt the user experience.

The most effective native ads are engaging and provide readers with helpful information. Often, the advertiser is quoted as an expert in a topic area, like a local mechanic offering summer car maintenance tips.

2. What can native advertising do for my business?

Native ads are all about helping advertising reach new audiences and boost their online profile. According to a survey conducted by Content Marketing Institute and sponsored by Advance Ohio, 43 percent of content marketers used native advertising last year. Of those who used native ads, 63 percent used them to create brand awareness and 90 percent agreed they can be used to build audiences.

3. Does native advertising actually work?

Although native ads are right at home on a multitude of platforms – print, desktop, tablet – they are most effective on mobile devices because they have a much higher engagement rate compared to traditional display ads. A study by Facebook and IHS Inc. found that mobile native pieces had a 20 to 60 percent higher engagement rate.

Another way native ads are more effective than traditional advertising: SEO (search engine optimization). Since the content is completely original, Google’s algorithm rewards native ads in with better search results. A great native ad will also seamlessly integrate keywords into the story, which helps to further optimize search.

And since we’re in the digital era, we can’t forget the importance of social media. Native ads are built for social media marketing. The engaging content is perfect for sharing across all your social platforms.

If you’re working with a local publication, you can also take advantage of their large social media audience. You can’t do that with a banner ad. Plus, native ads help beat ad blockers, which have become a major obstacle for traditional online marketing.

4. What about transparency?

One of the biggest questions about native ads is: can readers tell the difference between editorial content and a native ad?

Native ads are meant to build trust between a brand and the consumer. So the last thing an advertiser wants is for the consumer to feel tricked by a native ad. That’s why it should be a best practice to clearly mark a native ad for what it is.

5. How do I get started?

Find out if any of your local news outlets have a native advertising program. At the Summerville Journal Scene, for example, advertisers work with a team of experts to create a completely customized native ad based on their specific needs and message.

To learn more about the Summerville Journal Scene’s native advertising program, visit