Today we hit once again on the “everything old is new again” theme that we touch upon from time to time. One of the best media analysts in the business is my friend Dan Salmon at BMO Capital Markets. He released a report on a “Native Advertising Summit” he attended. It made me smile and I’d like to share why that was.
First, what the heck is native advertising? Way back in the olden days of the web, we used things such as banners, boxes, buttons. This ad units sat on the web page hoping a user would notice them. Others, such as pop-ups, interrupted users’ content experiences. These units are still the purview of all of the programmatic buying found via ad networks and other RTB platforms.
So-called native advertising is way more integrated. Sponsored Stories, promoted Tweets, and sponsored videos are just a few of the formats sprouting up across the web, giving brands a channel to connect directly with consumers through content and publishers a new opportunity for revenue. As Dan wrote in his report:
It is increasingly clear that the native trend is becoming a pressure point for publishers pushing back on recent digital ad innovation that has mostly centered on real-time bidding, programmatic ad buying, and improved yield for buyers much more than sellers. At the same time, these publishers are finding a willing and hugely important constituency on the buy side, but one that is traditionally under-represented in digital marketing: branding-oriented advertising budgets.
In other words, publishers are sick of the dive to the bottom CPM‘s are taking and so we’re going to use something very old: sponsor integration into content. It’s Your Lucky Strike Theater all over again! I’m sure there will be all sorts of technologies sprouting up to make this happen in a more efficient way, but the activity is the same. Sponsors are trying to gain both visibility as well as shared brand equity with the content they’re sponsoring. You see this in sports all the time (and it dates back to The Gillette Cavalcade Of Sports in the late 1940’s).
To touch on my favorite theme – the tools change but the basic business doesn’t. We can call it native advertising or we can call it sponsorship I call it smart, even if it isn’t really new. How about you?