Sponsored story. Branded content. Native advertising. Whatever you name it, it’s advertising. And studies show that readers prefer native advertising to the traditional banner ad, for the most part. According to the IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough study, “consumers looked at native ads 52% more frequently than banner ads.” Those are a lot of potential consumers to convert. And brands are looking for more and more ways to discretely convince you to buy the latest pair of shoes from that company with the “swoosh” logo on your favorite digital publication.
Mostly, we’ve seen these native ads as articles, listicles, part of our Facebook and Instagram feeds, and now, we might be seeing them in the comment section of certain digital publications. Disqus, a commenting tool, is looking to roll out a “sponsored comment” feature for brands to utilize on their sites by early 2014 (which is only in a few weeks!).
As I’ve seen on Instagram, not everyone is too fond of those sponsored posts. No surprise there. And I can definitely see some potential backfire from this approach since Disqus does allow an engagement feature where users can “upvote” or “downvote” these comments and add their own quip about the brand’s sponsored comment. But with the almost unique ability to moderate replies and comments to the sponsored comment, brands will be able to somewhat control their native ad and decline any critical comments they don’t want to publicize and essentially pay to make public. Also, with this extra information, community managers will be able to work with their analytics teams to gauge user sentiment and determine the content of their future ads.
Whether we enjoy these native ads or not, they’re here to stay. Publishers have to make revenue to continue producing content (and pay their staff). How else are you able to browse through Snooki’s 42 Most Inspiring Moments of 2013?
What do you think about this new form of native advertising? Do you prefer them over traditional banner ads? Tell us on Facebook and/or Twitter.