The Rise of Native Advertising for Content Marketing

Have you ever been on the Web and seen an article that really appeals to your interests, only to find that it’s an advertisement? All of a sudden that really funny, interesting, insightful article you couldn’t wait to explore is stripped bare, exposing its true identity: A fallacious marketing ploy to gain your attention. This type of scheme – called an “advertorial” – can feed a customer’s distrust in a company rather than destroy it. And that’s exactly where native advertising comes into the picture.

Native advertising – a method of Web advertising in which the advertiser provides valuable content in the context of the user’s experience – is gaining a lot of steam as of late. Some refer to the advertorial as its less evolved predecessor; however, native advertising seems to be in a league of its own.

Now imagine hopping on the Web first thing in the morning to get your day started. As you slowly make your way through your daily Internet checklist (check e-mails, transfer money, mange social media accounts) you see yet another article that snags your attention away from its routine course. It’s an article from BuzzFeed about changing your morning routine and saving time. Of course, this piques your interest, but before you click, you see underneath that the article is presented by AT&T. Slightly confused yet still intrigued, you click on the link.

In actuality, this article truly exists. You can view it for yourself here. The AT&T advertisement is found in the heart of the article and yet it’s so subtle that it doesn’t deter you away from wanting to see it. The “advertisement” reads as below:

“WAKE UP! Time to start your day. AT&T understands. It’s hard. But you’ll be surprised just how fast the world is moving while you’re still rubbing the sleep out of your eyes.”


Because the advertisement is native to the customer’s environment and, more importantly, one that the customer considers valuable, it becomes tactful, short, simple and sweet. With a quick link embedded to AT&T’s website, this ad becomes more of a helpful suggestion rather than something being forced upon you.

“The New York Times” also rolled out a new native advertising effort. Its recently released app The Scoop – a mobile app that includes real-time information on the location and capacity of nearby Citi Bike stations – features a sponsored label by Citi Bank. Once again, advertised content has been natively integrated within the customer’s environment. With the advent of mobility, the “advertorial” has unofficially become the “mobertorial,” or an advertisement that dually functions as a mobile app.


So, why is native advertising important when considering your company’s content marketing strategy?

Denise Warren, executive vice president, Digital Products and Services Group, “The New York Times,” puts it perfectly when explaining the reasoning behind the new Citi Bike advertisement. She says, “This is just one example of how we are working more closely with our advertisers to create unique and custom campaigns to help them tell their brand story in innovative ways.”

A unique, custom and innovative way to tell a company’s brand story. It’s everything a content marketer could hope to hear and more. Do you foresee native advertising in your content marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments section below!