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Native Advertising

In the last one month or so, I have been noticing an increasing number of sponsored posts by Facebook on my News Feed when I access their app on my phone. Totally understandable. There is no room on the side to show their Display Ads, so the higher emphasis on sponsored posts for a mobile user. Twitter does this as well. Now and then, I see a sponsored tweet on my timeline.

This is Native Advertising.

And it is being touted as the next big thing in social media marketing. This is in a way back to the good old TV advertising ways. After ten minutes of the show you're watching, you see a couple of minutes of advertisements. Here, after every few posts/tweets, you see a sponsored post/tweet.

The Ad Contrarian seems to think this is just another fad in the social media marketing space. If the way sponsored posts/tweets are featured continue, then he might as well be true. As there is little respect to context in the sponsored posts/tweets at the moment. In fact, even the TV advertisements are more contextual (in the sense, you won't see an ad for a detergent at half time in a football game telecast).

It is still too early to judge.

I think we should give it more time to evolve into something more mature, something that can fully exploit the context in which it is featured. To further the TV ad comparison, it will be more or less comparable to showing different viewers of the same programme different ads during the same advertisement slot. Factor in background of the viewer.

The horizon of the context must be broadened.

The context is not just the content of the posts/tweets before and after the promoted post/tweet. The context must factor in elements outside the social media environment. To give you an example, imagine that I log into Facebook minutes after Chelsea have been beaten in a game, and I'm shown a promoted post about a 50% off on any chocolate dessert with lunch if I order it home.

With data about us being aggregated from nearly all touch points, native advertising could be a big winner for marketers in a couple of years. 

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