What is "Native Advertising"?
Media people are hungry for, curious about, perplexed by, or scared of, it, depending on the medium. Well, it's really a simple thing. Don't let the Social Media experts (dipshits) complicate it with their buzzword-filled explanations that go and on and on.
But what is it?
Wikipedia: "a form of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears."
That's what it does, but what IS it?
Below is the definitive definition of "Native Advertising":
Anybody tells you different, politely get up and excuse yourself from the room, walk briskly to the elevator, and then sprint out of their building (unless the person is your boss, then just sit there and nod your head like one of those toy dogs in the back of a car).
I'm kidding. Don't make a scene.
But that's not "advertising", you might be thinking. And you might be asking: Why would an advertiser want to advertise without advertising themselves? Well (chuckle), that's also very simple: (BUZZWORD alert x 2) Engagement and Metrics.
Native Advertising is Sponsored Content, but not all Sponsored Content is Native Advertising. Like the Wikipedia definition reads, Native Advertising looks and feels like editorial content. That's what gets readers to click sponsored links (Engagement) on sites like BuzzFeed (more on them here), Mashable, Huffington Post, etc.
Advertisers have fallen in deep dirty lust with those clicks (Metrics). The native post doesn't sell our product or brand name whatsoever? Who cares! MET-TRICKS!
Many Native Advertising experts are, not coincidentally, trying to dismiss/kill dead what they themselves have buzz-coined as "Traditional Advertising". Like this expert. (WARNING: I lost count at 50 buzzwords in that post. Didn't you see the Tom Hanks advertising movie, Nothing In Common, sir?) He basically speaks for every single Social Media expert out there. And he, and they, are as wrong as slush.
Readers respond foremost to creativity. What will happen—is happening, s l o w l y—is a marriage between Native and Traditional. Advertisers will start to see more and more that clicks ≠ sales. (Right, ship-my-pants Kmart?) And they will start to demand that their Native Advertising be Creative Advertising that sells the shit out of their brand (minus, stupid puns).
And who can make this marriage work?
Not Social Media experts.