Seeds: As most consistent users of the Internet know, advertisements are irritating, obnoxious and largely unwanted by consumers. Despite this, ads continue to plague our computer screens, and many of us have grown accustomed to simply averting our eyes. Advertisers know this, forcing them to become far more creative in their attempts to market their products to us.
Core: Native advertising is a tactic in which the promotion of products is hidden within a larger piece of content. You may have experienced this when browsing a website such as Buzzfeed. You could be innocently scrolling along, learning about 9 Things That Have Changed In The Last 20 Years, when all of a sudden you reach the bottom of the page to find that the whole thing was just an elaborate ad for Motorola. You suddenly feel cheated and begin to question the content. Did those 9 things REALLY change in the last 20 years? Or is that just what they want me to think? Examples of native advertising can also been found in more serious news sources such as The New York Times, Forbes, and The Atlantic.
Skin: The widespread use of native advertising has caused many to worry about the current state of journalism and its reliability. However, others argue that due to the declining value of newspapers, publishers have to rely on money making tactics such as native advertising in order to keep traditional journalism alive.
Leaves: The beast that is native advertising does not seem to be slowing down. In the future, native advertising could become as pervasive as banner ads, but this will not come without consequence. Once marketers have a say in the information being published by well renowned news sources, it is possible that the information being presented to the public will quickly become skewed in order to cater to certain products. For companies, the setup seems to be a win-win situation. Publishers need revenue and advertisers need to reach prospective consumers. However, there does still seem to be a loser in the equation: the readers.
Food For Thought: What do you think about native advertising? Is it a violation of the relationship between journalist and reader? Do you think advertisers should be allowed to market to the public through news publications?