By Peter Marsh, VP Marketing

Advertisers are putting a greater portion of their budgets into native advertising, and with good reason. Recent studies show that native ads are widely accepted by readers, and they are more trusted than their traditional counterparts. According to a Reuter’s report, 75 percent of customers say they will engage in content that is relevant and piques their interest whether it is branded or not. Native ads are also proven to result in higher click-through rates, leading to significantly higher CPMs than run-of-set display ads.

According to a 2019 survey of digital media executives in 29 countries, native advertising cited by over 70 percent of respondents as an important revenue focus for their business. In addition, Nieman Labs notes that  65 percent of ad block customers say they’d be willing to see online advertising if it isn’t intrusive or deceptive; if it is labeled correctly; if it does not have attention-grabbing images or headlines; and if it does not disrupt the reading flow.

The best native advertising consists of content that is created or curated with the same quality standards as the other news and information appearing on a publisher’s website. It doesn’t matter if the native content is created by digital marketing teams, editorial folks, or in direct collaboration with advertisers. The important thing is that good native advertising adheres to the professional publishing guidelines prescribed for the entire site.

Of course, it must also be clearly labeled as “advertising” and it must be consistent with the adjacent editorial content. By definition, good native advertising is paid content that is so cohesive with the surrounding content, assimilated into the design, and blended into the platform that readers simply feel they belong.

The best native advertising is produced and managed directly by the publisher. It’s what we are calling Publisher Direct Native Advertising (PDNA). This separates it from a content discovery platform like Taboola or Outbrain, which is produced externally, and which may or may not have anything to do with the surrounding content. Readers are more likely to engage with PDNA because it is relevant, believable, and non-disruptive.

Best of all, PDNA is the perfect antidote to ad blockers. Most ad blocking software programs work the same way. They check where things are coming from when loading a page and block anything that comes from so-called “blacklisted” domains. When an ad coming from one of these domains attempts to load, the ad blocker blocks it and the site visitor never sees the ad.  With good PDNA, native ads can run without any reliance on these external domains. Publishers can produce native ad content using their internal advertising and content management systems. There’s no need to worry about blacklisted domains. Very simply, most ad blockers won’t try to block PDNA because it is coming from the same domain as the rest of the site.

Publisher direct native advertising separates what news media brands do better than anybody else in this cluttered online universe – namely, to deliver quality content that readers enjoy because it’s timely, credible and contextually relevant.

PETER MARSH

Vice President, Marketing

Pete Marsh was previously CEO of 5 Fifteen Ltd. and the founder of Deadline Data Systems Inc., as well as the Head of Web Design and Development at EBSCO Publishing. Pete holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism, Summa Cum Laude, from Boston University’s College of Communications. He also serves as a volunteer and past Board Chairman for Samaritans, a Boston-based non-profit organization dedicated to suicide prevention.