Today I noticed an ad that caught my eye on the Huffington Post. The layout was in the same style as a normal front page story, with a little border around it indicating that it was ‘Presented by HuffPost Partner Studio’ – which I assume to be their Native Advertising group. Guess what? The article is all about dismissing common beliefs about Native Advertising!
So this is an ad, that looks like a front page article promotion, that links to an article that is really an ad for Native Advertising on the Huffington Post.
This is exactly what I find to be horrific about Native Advertising (yes, I know I should not capitalize, but I think it highlights the monster it can be). My points here apply to the arena of News sites – not entertainment or other ‘soft’ content sources. I am referring more to the likes of the New York Times, etc.
Myth #1 – “It’s All The Same”
This is just a bit of rubbish to obscure the fact that Native is advertiser injected content. In their samples they use search results and widgets Outbrain and Taboola. While I do not really approve of these either – at least they truly stand out as outside links – not internal content.
There are also mentions of ‘outside’ samples like Bloomberg, Gawker and Buzzfeed doing this. The ‘well they are doing it, so we are too’ argument always causes me to think of the ‘if your friends all jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge – would you?’. Weak.
Myth #2 – “It’s Deceitful”
Here they go into how ‘no one would ever do this and jeopardize their brand.’ Fact of life – advertising revenue is in the gutter – and native provides a lot message space. I do believe that it has a very strong potential of being deceitful – not always, but the scales could be easily tipped – just as HuffPost did to get me to this rant.
Myth #3 – “It’s A Completely New Phenomenon”
They have this one right – it is not new, but there is a big difference from ‘Guide to Oysters’ to ‘Off Shore Drilling Safety’ in the New York Times (completely made up example). The internet is allowing the depth and reach of this advertising form to push the limits.
Myth #4 – “Consumers Don’t Want It. Or Like It”
Their examples are skewed towards general advertising – not Native Advertising. Sure advertising has its place – but maybe not as ‘news.’
Myth #5: “It’s Poor Quality And Offers The Readers No Value”
This is a wash – good quality will be consumed (to what end would be the question here), but I cannot argue with their comments here.
Myth #6: “It Signals The Death Of Display”
This is all pure sales pitch – and trying to save their current banner advertising clients. Snore.
Myth #7: “It Doesn’t Scale”
Another sales pitch – and complete bull…
Myth #8: “Every Brand Should Do It”
Read ‘You might not be big enough for this level, but if you are…’ Feel free to contact the ‘sponsor’ HuffPost Partner Studio – who does Huffington Post’s Native Advertising placements.
This is completely ridiculous – and it is a sign of the times and the end of news.