Various channels and platforms build the modern digital media mix. We often get asked where native advertising is sitting within the mix. In the following, we want to show you how you can benefit from native advertising and where it is positioned.

Native advertising in the media mix

Native advertising in the media mix (©iStockphoto.com/Elvetica)

Marketing managers nowadays handle cross channel campaigns and have to decide which medium works best for their goals. The increasing usage of different devices doesn’t make it easier. Since native advertising is not only a trend anymore, it is appearing on the agenda of media planners, too.

The IAB shortly published a report on positive brand effects through cross media campaigns. The results showed how effective cross media planning can be and how important it is to have a presence across different channels and devices. Digital advertising becomes more complex. Performance, content and social media marketing are only a few of the ways to advertise products and brands online.

What is native advertising?

First of all, we need to set a definition what we mean when we talk of native advertising. There is no clear positioning or statement we can quote here. But four things experts agreed on are:

  1. Native Ads resemble the content space around them,
  2. Appear outside traditional ad positions,
  3. Are paid media as opposed to earned media,
  4. Labeled to indicate they are not editorial content

This definition allows a first interpretation of what native advertising includes. Additionally, it stands out due to its unintrusive formats and high engagement character from our point of view.

How does native advertising look like?

As seen from the wider definition, native advertising can come along in various formats. The interactive advertising bureau set six core formats of native advertising in its playbook. These different formats show the various possibilities native is offering. From product listings for performance purposes to content distribution solutions it can complete a media mix. The choice of format depends on your advertising goal.

Where is it located within the media mix?

The digital media mix is composed of many different channels and instruments such as social media, SEO, SEA, content marketing, display advertising, retargeting, mobile, desktop and so on. But native is not just one more to add to this list.

Business insider categorizes native advertising in three segments:

  • Social native
  • Native-style display
  • Sponsorship

Based on this definition, we see native takes place in between.  As part of social media advertising, it can be an ad or a sponsored post within the social feed. As display format, it promotes for example products within the editorial feed of a publisher site without interrupting the natural flow of reading.  Within the content marketing segment, it is a way to spread advertising messages.

In our blog post on native vs. content marketing we discussed the difference and connection between the two marketing instruments. Even if they are not the same, both are deeply connected to each other.  Therefore, native should be part of your content marketing strategy.

As conclusion: There is no right or wrong, no black and white. Native advertising is kind of a hybrid and innovative way to get the best out of your marketing instruments.

 

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