The Evolution of Native Advertising

The term “Native advertising,” an extremely popular term now, is actually fairly recent. It was first coined by Fred Wilson at the Online Media, Marketing, and Advertising Conference in 2011.

Native advertising is used to create content in order to build connections with their potential customers. The fact that the term itself is recent may lead people to assume that native advertising is a modern-day creation. In reality, the history of native advertising dates back to as early as the end of the 1800s, when John Deere published his agricultural journal, “The Furrow”, to promote his products to farmers.

How it all started

In the mid-18th and early 19th century newspaper ads were a one-column piece with very few images. Magazine advertisements were mostly reserved for the back pages of magazines.

Only a handful of companies utilized branded advertising to promote their products until a change occurred in the late-19th century. This change took place when companies began to manufacture standardized products such as soap, canned products, and cigarettes, with the objective of attracting buyers through an advertising campaign that spanned the entire nation.

New advertising styles were born at this time, including native advertising. As mentioned John Deere’s “The Furrow” was the first example with articles on agriculture and farming tips targeted at 17 different regions, the magazine’s, importantly, also included adverts that promoted his agricultural products.

The 20th century

The 20th century, saw native advertising taking on different formats. In the 1920s and 1930s, the rise of radio and TV industry in the 1920s and 1930s contributed strongly to the growth of native advertising.

On radio, companies often provided funding to radio programs to sustain their advertisement spots. “The Eveready Hour” was America’s first sponsored radio program on WEAF Radio in New York. It was first aired in 1923, and was sponsored by the National Carbon Company to promote the company’s Eveready Batteries.

The mass production of televisions meant that more businesses began to advertise their goods to specific audiences. America’s multinational consumer goods company P&G was among the first sponsors of branded TV drama series, hence came the term, “soap operas.”

The 21st century

The Internet, in the 21st century has provided the ideal environment for native advertising. Modern-day native advertising is no longer limited to radio or TV. Search engine companies encourage businesses to promote their services through search ads that connect with target customers.

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also users of native advertising, meeting advertisers’ needs by displaying sponsored posts and tweets throughout their feeds. Starting 2011, Facebook started featuring “Sponsored Stories” in users’ News Feed, streamlining its advertisements into a combined unit with social context.

Similar to Facebook, Twitter interacts with businesses through its “Promoted Tweets” purchased by advertisers seeking to attract a particular audience group’s attention. This year has seen a rise, however, of non-social native advertising. The native growth rate in articles and publications is three times higher than native advertising in social media.

Why Native?

Native ads are visually similar to the publication: they use the same fonts, layouts, and graphic design as the environment that surrounds them. Brands are using it to promote their products in every type of medium, including print, online, video, and social media and they function just like natural content.

What are the advantages of Native Advertising?

In contrast to other, more traditional and invasive advertising formats, like banners or pop-ups which interrupt the internet user’s navigation, native advertising has the ability to attract much more attention from the readers.

This is mainly due to the fact that native advertising uses the format and style of the digital content to promote a certain content or product.
For full details of how native & contextual advertising can benefit your brand head over to www.vertismedia.co.uk

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