We all remember the shock of the first time we ever saw an ad in our Instagram feed. If your reaction was anything similar to mine, it was one of disgust and even a tone of, “how dare they!” But now, it is simply common place and even expected. For one reason or another, it does not seem to bother Instagram users as much now as it did in the past. Is this because they are simply used to it, or could it be something else?
Native advertising is a new and innovative concept that essentially describes the process of attempting to make ads blend in with their natural surroundings and take on the appearance of the platform on which they are being displayed. The goal of native ads is to capture the attention of the user without them directly feeling as if they are being advertised to. The idea is to provide engaging content that is beneficial to the consumer of that content.
With any new development and trend, comes also a level of social and moral responsibility. Many question arise whether or not native advertising is ethical and moral. The answer to this question is not simple and easy. However, I believe the key issue at hand is ask, "what is the intent behind the native ad?" Is it to deceive the user of social platforms and create brand awareness and affinity without the comprehension of the viewer, or is it simply to grab attention without distracting or taking away from other user generated content present on social feeds. There are also many regulations and requirements that native ads must comply with. For example, the ads must be labeled as “sponsored” or something that indicates that it is paid media.
Overall, Native advertising is the way of the future whether we like it or not. Businesses can choose to hop on the band wagon or get left behind in the dust. I believe that effective native advertising is crucial to engaging with a target audience. Maintaining integrity in the process is important, but learning to work within the rules of the game could definitely earn points towards brand recognition and recall.