Why is Native Advertising Controversial?

Why is Native Advertising Controversial?

If the dream is to ‘sell’ to people without them feeling sold to then how often does native advertising leave users feeling like they’ve been had?

The dream is to introduce target audiences to valuable content which genuinely engages them while raising awareness for the products and services promoted.

This is precisely what native advertising aims for

So, what’s the issue? There has been a lot of criticism lately around the fact that users read what they think is simple information, an article or blog post perhaps, only to discover it is, in fact, an advert. When done right, however, native advertising can be extremely satisfying for all parties involved.
Let’s dig a bit deeper and find out how…

What is Native Advertising?

Native Advertising is one of those things that you know it when you see it but can be a little challenging to define.
Some experts will explain native advertising as a form of communication so interconnected to its context that readers cannot tell it is advertising.

The Native Advertising Institute, on the other hand, states that “native advertising needs to be valuable content of a non-interruptive nature – which is typically not the case with in-stream advertising.”
The definition they provide is: “paid advertising where the ad matches the form, feel and function of the content of the media on which it appears.”

How Does Native Advertising Work?

The average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages every day! This incredibly high figure would also explain the reason behind users tuning out of ads on a regular basis. People scroll past banner ads because they become a blur… just something that comes between them and the content they are trying to consume.

Experiencing ads in a relevant context

Native advertising, however, forms part of the experience and it involves users in a more engaging way- making the interaction more meaningful.

Native stats

Native Ads influence purchase decisions more subconsciously since the advertising message is woven into the content in a relevant context.

Specifically, native ads generally have:

  • 2x more engagement than banner ads
  • 18% higher purchase intent compared to banner ads
  • 53% more chances of being viewed compared to than banner ads

Is Native Advertising Ethical?

If the content is clearly labelled as an advertisement, then the answer is ‘yes’.
Even though the ad may look like a regular article or video, if a native ad is properly presented as an ad with text that states “advertisement” or something along those lines, you’ll know that it has been placed in that context intentionally.

It’s easy to get started. We can help you achieve ads that are beautiful in a brand safe environment in less than 24 hours.
Don’t fall behind on the latest native & contextual news- check out our blog

Context is king: Is it time to rethink your KPIs?

After Covid, the three Cs of brand development: Customer, Company and Competitors will need to give way to Context, as brands redefine their KPIs to rise up to the challenge of the Pandemic by focusing on the strength of reputation.

For almost a year now, brands have been rethinking their strategy to cope with a new reality: from changing workspaces and policies to developing new directions to ensure a resilient approach in the face of the threat posed to their operations.

This has meant establishing what new KPIs may look like and in the midst of all the changes one thing has emerged as a consistent certainty: context.

Achieve your key business objectives

Contextual advertising has been around for a while but with the recent focus on data and user privacy, it is becoming an increasingly important approach both as a standalone approach as well as running alongside other forms of marketing. The contextual field is one that is fertile with innovation and new technical solutions and it continues to evolve every day.

So, contextual advertising has finally made a comeback and is stronger than ever by taking even bigger leaps in the right direction when it comes to keyword blocking and URL blocklisting. More attention is being paid to making sure the ad matches with the webpage content and ensuring that the ads are contextually relevant for the target audience. It offers a mixture of privacy compliance and scale that, up until now, third-party cookie alternatives do not.

What is contextual relevance?

To be contextually relevant means prioritising the how individual words and phrases relate to each other, the demography of the audience they target and its geolocation. How the words can be used or interpreted will make or break the success of an advertising strategy.

What needs to be done to change your brand’s current marketing and communications?

The focus is on reputation and ensuring a brand safe inventory is a vital part of this strategy. Following on from this, publishers are also more than willing to put in efforts to qualify their content accurately because advertisers would be willing to pay premium CPMs for contextual friendly environments.

Needless to say, this process is constantly evolving and will continue to do so as we witness increasingly AI based technologies emerging to help increase the success of contextual advertising.

The exit of third-party cookies and the focus on brand safety have put contextual advertising in prime position. With more advertisers looking for audience targeting options, rather than behavioural targeting, context will continue to play a strong role in the future of digital advertising.

Why Is Context Crucial?

contextual advertising

Until not so long ago, contextual solutions for advertising served two main purposes: brand safety and the identification of a potentially relevant inventory for ads based on keywords or contextual information.

The last few years, however, contextual advertising has taken advantage of powerful new technologies that provide a strong variety of cutting-edge capabilities and tools.

The businesses that are making the most of that innovation are no doubt gaining an advantage over their competitors in being heard by key audiences in relevant environments whilst protecting their brands.

The following 3 developments in contextual advertising are providing opportunities for the marketers of today and tomorrow:

1- Adding More than Text to Contextual:Impact and Relevance

This truly is an exciting step forward in contextual advertising: a horizon solely comprising words is expanding to include audio, video, images, and more.

Advertisers can use their existing contextual intelligence solutions through ever evolving integrations, allowing them to keep up with changing technologies and consumer consumption patterns through multimedia and multiple formats.

Marketers are now given a comprehensive understanding of content which includes audio, video, and images ensuring a more useful understanding when and where to publish ads.

2-The move from brand safety to brand suitability

The keyword-based blacklist approach used by many companies encompasses words, such as shoot or drugs, making it too wide and ineffective to a properly address the subtlety of brands and the human aspect of language more generally.

The appropriateness of contextual intelligence taps into the uniqueness of brand identity in order to offer control over where ads appear. It also avoids inappropriate content while maintaining the ability to stay connected to the particular reality of the brand.

3-Content analysis that makes the most of consumer trends

Content analysis is a portal into consumer engagement and hot topics that can lead to highly productive planning centred around specific dates: holidays, events, upcoming news, and other opportunities.

Contextual intelligence also allows marketers to analyze trending content to capitalise on media and make the most of real-time opportunities. This kind of event-based content is a core part of a strategy which aims to work from quality audience data. Marketers can take advantage of positive, brand-building content whilst avoiding negative information.

The result? A campaign that’s optimized to be its most relevant at the time of its delivery.

How much could a cyber attack cost your business?

Figures show fewer companies are using security tools to identify abnormal activity, meaning firms are less aware than before of the breaches and attacks businesses are facing. The average cost of a cyber attack on a business is £8,460. This figure rises to £13,400 for medium and large businesses.

Why are businesses failing to protect themselves against cyber attacks?

The pandemic has meant that digital transformation has become vital to the UK economy and with so many more people relying on technology and digital services, cyber criminals have upped their game with a variety of ransomware and malware attacks.

Nearly half of businesses (47 per cent) are allowing employees to use personal devices for work, could this be contributing to the rise in breaches?

Figures show fewer businesses are taking recommended cyber security measures

A new report released by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) suggests the cyber risk to organisations is heightened because of the pandemic.

Two in five businesses (39 per cent) report having cyber security breaches and attacks over the last 12 months.

The increase in employees working from home has meant a greater cyber risk to companies …

And phishing remains the most common threat followed by instances of others impersonating their organisation online, viruses or other malware including ransomware.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman stated last month that the government is investing £1.9 billion in cyber security to make the UK the safest place to live and work online.

The government believe a new era of digital growth is at risk …

And it is urging organisations to follow expert guidance to boost their online resilience.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 report shows that the pandemic has made businesses more vulnerable to attack as organisational resources are directed towards facilitating remote working for employees.

Here are useful guides on secure measures for:

Video Conferencing

Secure working from home

Moving your business from physical to digital

Is your boss watching you?

Monitoring software is on the up now that many are working remotely. How comfortable are you with always-on video services?

a young man looking through window blinds

The YouGov survey of 2,000 employers commissioned by Skillcast, showed that 10-20% of UK businesses are already using tracking software to monitor their staff remotely.

Monitoring software is flourishing during the pandemic but how comfortable would you feel about being digitally surveilled by your employer?

Employers have the option to install video cameras, read postal mail and e-mail, monitor phone and computer usage, use GPS tracking, and more to make sure that their workforce are still maintaining focus and productivity.

In today’s mostly office-free reality, can bosses still legally monitor their employees? The answer is yes! As long as the reason for monitoring is important enough to the business.

As working from home has become the norm, so has employee monitoring software and there are plenty of alternatives to choose from.

Some track how much time employees spend on social media, take screenshots of their monitors at scheduled intervals or record different tasks or even every single key pressed.

It is also possibility that you are being watched through your webcams via always-on video services like Sneek.

Most employees need to give their consent via agreements that imply they shouldn’t assume privacy when using work devices but the current situation raises some interesting questions when it comes to what is legal and what isn’t.

So what do you think? Now that workspaces have changed is employee tracking fair game?

How Can Native Advertising Benefit Both Advertisers and Publishers?

Calling All Publishers! Advertising and publishing can have a mutually beneficial relationship in an ideal environment.

Sign: How Can Native Advertising Benefit Both Advertisers and Publishers?

While advertising can provide a publisher with a consistent revenue source, the publisher’s audience can provide high-quality traffic that allows the advertising message to reach a larger audience.

This is valid if you have a high-quality ad experience. However, in-your-face advertisement that is thrust in the face of the audience can also detract from a publisher’s content experience. People prefer to access the content they enjoy without the ad experience interfering with their content experience, if ad blocker use patterns are any indication.

Native advertising is the ideal option for advertisers who want to incorporate the maximum amount of marketing messages into a content experience without negatively impacting it, benefiting both advertisers and publishers

1-Native blends with the publisher experience

A successful native ad is visually appealing enough to stand out in the stream of content that the viewer is scrolling through, but it is also cleverly crafted to pique the consumer’s interest in the advertiser’s message without being obtrusive.

2- Native ads generate much higher click-through rates than other formats

For publishers, it means that their users can enjoy the material without their commercial interests interfering.

3- Smarter way to market content

A native ad with content that is highly relevant to the publisher’s piece of content will actually increase the likelihood of the viewer clicking on the ad, improving the publisher’s ad revenue opportunities.

4- Greater credibility

Native ads are always labelled clearly as paid or sponsored content, so that audiences understand their exact nature, giving them the choice to interact with the ad. A successful native advertising platform, on the other hand, runs algorithms that only display ads in context to what the user is viewing. This protects the publisher’s reputation, while enabling the advertisers to profit from native ad results: such as higher CTR, greater purchase intent, greater brand recall.

5- Greater control over content

A native ad’s primary characteristic is that it must blend in with its host environment. This means that in order to monetize, publishers do not have to compromise their values. Although this can encourage marketers to use their imaginations to capture user interest, it also leads to stronger storylines and storytelling, which leads to more traction with potential customers.

Native Advertising satisfies the ambitions and needs of both publishers and advertisers without jeopardizing any party’s standards. This not only maintains a balance between their business interests, but also provides an uninterrupted content experience for the end user.

In other words, it’s a win-win situation for digital marketers.

How can a small business with no digital experience get started?

Now that digital has replaced physical, how can a small business with no digital experience get started?

Women running a small business in the digital era

With everyone racing to the top of the digital mountain you’ve got to stand out across media to be seen. Brand awareness gets maximum results!

No matter what your budget is, digital marketing is accessible for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Have you recently started a business? Or maybe you have a small business that you’re trying to get off the ground and running.
Here are …tips to get you off the ground and running.

1-Optimize your content for search engines

The visitors you need are the ones actively searching for the services you offer online. It is easy to convert these visitors because they are highly targeted.
What are the first steps to get started with SEO?

Keyword research-> this will allow you to improve your search engine visibility.
You will find the words your future customers are using on search engines through keyword analysis. You may use a tool such as @Semrush to start your keyword search to help. It’s easier to target long-tail keywords as a new enterprise (three or more words).

These long-tail keywords have three big advantages:

  • They have clear intent.
  • They have low competition (and therefore it’s easier to get those top spots).
  • They account for a large portion of searches.
  • Half of all search queries are long-tail keywords.

If your keyword/user intent strategy isn’t targeting these terms, you’re missing about half of your audience and half of your potential leads.

2-If you run a local business, optimize your business for local search.

  • Upload your business details to the local listings
  • Collect reviews from your customers

Once you’re ready to start with paid advertising your up and running SEO will mean quicker results as you target the best keywords that match your business.

3-A Blog that’s up to date!

Content is what is going to guide your potential customers. Customers read before they buy. The average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision, according to Forrester.

Top tips:

  • Create posts that solve problems for your audience
  • Guest blog on other industry websites to reach a wider audience
  • Generate inbound links that lead back to your own website as this will boost your website’s SEO.

To keep up to date with what to publish consistently. To help, you can create an editorial calendar so that you can publish new content consistently on your blog.


What are the benefits of updating your blog regularly?

It helps you rank for more keywords which means more leads.
HubSpot found that companies that published 16 blog posts monthly got 4.5 times more leads than those with zero to four posts.


4-Personalised emails

Top tips:

  • Personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
  • Invest in a provider of email services that support automatic emails. This way, based on their preferences, you can send emails to your subscribers and make sure that your emails are always customised, automatically.

Now, you need to send personalized emails to your subscribers to get them to open your emails and click-through to your website.

5-Invest in native and contextual advertising.

-> Content distribution to a relevant audience

  • Repurpose content to connect with your audience.
  • Use visuals like images and videos as they attract higher engagement.
  • Share relevant industry content with users who are already interested.
  • When you consider that consumers look at native ads 53 percent more frequently than other ads then you know you need to take it seriously.

With the right strategy, the right mindset, you’ll be much better equipped to stand out and generate real results from digital platforms.

What 3 questions do you need to ask to make sure your content is target audience ready?

target audience on colorful post it

Here are 3 questions you need to ask yourself if you want to produce the right content and develop a good relationship with your target audience:

  1. Who is my ideal customer?
  2. What is the who, what, where, when and why of my audience?
  3. What are the interests, preferences, demographics and geography of my audience?

Top tips to get content marketing right!

  • Figure out who your target audience is and where your audience is most likely to be spending time online. Is it parenting blogs? Lifestyle websites? Instagram?
  • What do you want your target audience to do? Maybe it’s to visit your website, sign up to a newsletter or get a special offer.
  • What kind of content does your brand need? It could be a mixture of videos, photos of product shots, blog posts, shorter posts to go on Instagram with surprising facts about something to do with your brand or maybe a video interview!

Don’t get left behind. Think about creating a native ad strategy to distribute your content where it matters!

How has advertising impacted who you choose to purchase your deliveries from?

Scandi-foods and African ingredients top the food trend lists as supermarkets look beyond Europe for 2021.

Taking food picture with mobile phone

Fancy some skrei with your chips? Or maybe some teff with your salad? These might not be familiar food stuffs to you now, but according to those who keep their eyes – and stomachs – on such things, these will be among the trendy ingredients in 2021.

Surveying the food trend lists published at the turn of the year, it seems African and Scandinavian cuisine is going to be the next in thing.

The Guardian believes include the Norwegian fish Skrei will hook forward-thinking eaters this year, while Waitrose suggests Icelandic Skyr, a fresh sour milk cheese meant to be consumed as yoghurt, will be the must-have fridge item.

Other lists dig up the Ethiopian grain of teff, as well as the African country’s flatbread known as injera. Eringii mushrooms, native to North Africa and the Middle East but widely cultivated in Asia, could replace steaks thanks to the fungi’s thickness.

The Chinese condiment of Lao Gan Ma, a chilli sauce made with crispy fried onion, has been earmarked as the new-must have item for hipster restaurants.

“The sriracha years were John the Baptist compared to the coming of the One True Condiment,” Richard Storer, chef at Sheffield’s Rutland Arms, tweeted about the sauce.

All this comes as people are rediscovering the joys of cooking after nearly a year of various lockdown restrictions. A Tesco survey reported that 40% of the people during the first lockdown had experienced a renewed passion for cooking and, since then, a further 86% said they would continue to cook even more at home. Jamie Robinson, @Tesco executive chef stated: “The popularity of Scandinavian ways of cooking and eating are spreading quickly around the world. While the cuisine has mostly been enjoyed at restaurants, we predict that this culinary trend will continue to grow in popularity and be seen more in our homes in 2021. What sets this cuisine apart is that it focuses on the way of cooking rather than specific ingredients.”

How has advertising impacted who you choose to purchase your deliveries from? The general message tends towards kindness.

See Tesco’s #FoodLoveStories celebrating the unifying power of food during lockdown.

Have any of the messages relayed through advertising changed who you decide to shop with over the course of lockdown?

It remains to be seen whether any of these foods will achieve the ultimate hipster goal of being smashed up, served on toast, and sold for £5.99.

Marketing newsletters: love them or hate them?

Is email marketing dead or alive and kicking? 5 tips to shake things up again!

Marketing newsletters

Ready for some tips for writing effective marketing emails and keeping your customers engaged?

Great! Now here’s how to give your customers the valuable experience they deserve.

1- Generosity

Yes! If you can, be generous and offer a little something for free and this will make your customers feel that they belong to your circle. It could be a free drink, a sample or even a downloadable image that can be used for free.

2- Step-by-step process

Employ a clear step-by-step process of how to get started with your products or services. Welcome emails will often contain the 1-2-3 method…Watch out for it next time you sign up for anything.

3- Include your voice ‘as a human’

customers love to get a glimpse of the people behind a brand and offer them a story that goes with it. You can also take the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for allowing them to be part of your journey as a company. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that even behind the 100th email there is a person behind the screen grateful that you are receiving it.

4- Make it exclusive

Make your customers feel special by offering a product or service that is limited in its availability. It is no secret that people desire what is most difficult to get hold of.

5- Remind readers what you do!

We, for example, are a native and contextual advertising company working with top brands to distribute their content happily across relevant mediums.

Now your turn…Tell us about what you do!