Native Advertising Part 3: My Predictions for Native Advertising in 2014
First, let me be clear that native advertising will continue to be employed as one part of a larger marketing campaign, so none of these predictions should be taken to mean that other types of marketing and advertising will be excluded.
But let’s think about where this buzzed-about tactic will head now that credible sites like the New York Times, Mashable, Funny or Die, and Vanity Fair are offering it and groups like the Native Advertising Leaderboard are putting some rudimentary metrics around it.
While cranking out newsfeed-candy lists (or paying Cracked or BuzzFeed to do it) might be an easy way to get social media shares, I foresee brands creating complete brick and feather strategies for native advertising, just like they do with other content channels.
Five Native Advertising Trends We Can Expect to See in 2014:
1. A sudden explosion of quick, easy native advertising pieces that are bylined by brands but actually created by the publication’s journalists as a service; these will be so in line with the publication’s tone that the brand might not be able to reuse the content elsewhere
2. An increase in brand names slapped onto content that was not created specifically for or by them but is offered and “sold” to them; again, these will usually be one-time-use pieces
3. A smaller, but still significant number of high-concept videos and short films that are debuted with an online publication or site (such as Vanity Fair or Funny or Die); these WILL be reused elsewhere by the brand
4. Although I’m not certain we can count this as native advertising, I predict the continued rise of product placement in TV shows and web series; some of my favorites in recent years have been Community’s KFC-centered episode Basic Rocket Science and Chuck’s anything-but-subtle Subway shoutouts, which famously saved the show from cancellation
5. A growing number of ad agencies adding departments and services specifically geared toward creating subtly branded web videos (not traditional ads); they’re already doing it for written content, I think more will begin doing it for videos thanks to the new opportunities offered by native ads
See more native advertising predictions from a few major names in advertising and publishing
When the content is factually accurate and clearly labeled as sponsored, native advertising offers a great opportunity to ethically and effectively reach your audience where they are. But if too many brands sacrifice creativity and quality just for the sake of being on the native ad bandwagon, prepare to see audiences tune native ads out, just like they’ve learned to do with banners.