Kudos to Rob O’Regan of emedia vitals who asks “Is native advertising dead?” He gives us a little bit more to chew on than the typical native advertising debate, and brings up some salient points about consumer trust in mass media.
O’Regan begins by quoting Kirk Cheyfitz of Story Worldwide who says that “publishers have talked themselves into believing that ‘native’ is the long-sought replacement for dwindling ad revenue.”
Cheyfitz is not a fan of native advertising, and instead advises advertisers (i.e. brands) to “focus on their own websites or ‘neutral’ sites like YouTube to distribute their content.”
This makes sense to us, especially in light of Gallup research that shows consumers have greater trust in what they see on brand websites as opposed to mass media or third-party sources. By paying for native ad space, Cheyfitz argues, brands (i.e. advertisers) dilute their impact by letting the publisher get all the credit for the content.
O’Regan gives Cheyfitz credit for a provocative spin on the idea, but then argues that he’s got it all wrong.
“While much of the debate around how native ads should be labeled centers on ethics and disclosure from the publisher’s standpoint, clearly identifying the source of branded content also benefits the advertiser – by giving them proper credit for producing it,” O’Regan says.
“Successful native advertising comes down to this: a collaboration that creates value for the brand, the publisher and, most importantly, the reader, by delivering high-quality, relevant, credible content,” O’Regan continues.
This is where we have trouble with the whole idea, though. The very nature of native advertising leaves credibility on the table, unless publishers are incredibly vigilant about the nature of the content being placed, as O’Regan himself said in a previous article. And with potential programmatic native ads being touted as a revenue solution, vigilance goes out the window. Combine that with the data that shows readers aren’t engaging with native content, and you’ve got what looks like a losing proposition all around.
Apologies to O’Regan, but we agree to disagree on this one. Native ads just aren’t the solution.