For the longest time, online advertising was confined to strict blocky structures residing in nooks and crannies of a webpage. Social media flipped this longstanding convention upside down however, with a bevy of new possibilities and solutions. Out of this digital vortex of promotional potential emerged native advertising, a form of advertising dedicated to seamlessly blending into its natural habitat.

Native advertising is content specifically designed for maximum functionality and integration within a brand’s respective digital channels. This form of advertising helps ensure an optimal user experience devoid of blocky banners and annoying displays. Facebook Sponsored Stories, Tumblr Spotlight, LinkedIn Sponsored Updates and Promoted Tweets are prime examples of native advertising that fit perfectly into their channel’s interface.

Native advertising isn’t only available in major social media platforms; it’s also utilized in the websites of major media and journalism publications, and blog hubs such as Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and Forbes. It comes in the form of articles and posts that resemble normal website content, only they’re marked with a disclaimer informing readers of the post’s true promotional nature.

native advertisingSoftware Advice recently exemplified General Electric’s official partnership with Buzzfeed as a primary example of effective native advertising. GE’s ultimate objective was to raise awareness of its attendance at the aviation industry’s upcoming Paris Air Show. Phase one of their native advertising campaign involved a game entitled “Flight Mode,” which enabled users to pilot a virtual plane over a grid of articles. The second phase consisted of several Buzzfeed articles featuring aviation-related topics, including 10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Modern Day Flight and 16 Amazing Things You’ll See At An Air Show.

GE’s native advertising partnership with Buzzfeed allowed them to post content that seemed like a natural fit among its surroundings. The only indicator was the small GE logo and “BuzzFeed Partner” label located slightly above the article’s beginning. This is just one example of how brands are effectively utilizing native advertising to promote products and services, increase visibility, and ultimately increase their presence in the digital realm.

Despite the proven effectiveness of native advertising, it isn’t far and away superior to traditional online advertising. According to Forbes however, native advertising slightly outperformed traditional advertising in every category with the exception of brand recall.

Native advertising is still a relatively young promotional solution and is sure to evolve and become even more widespread within the coming months. If effectively strategized and implemented, it can enhance your brand’s piece of the online pie. Contact ZOG Digital today for a paid advertising audit.