Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer has waded into the debate on native advertising, and whether it is a dirty form of advertising, and has effectively said that if Yahoo can change their ways then so should advertisers and brand marketers. She pointed out many of the positive attributes associated with sponsored content, while announcing that Sponsored Posts from Yahoo owned Tumblr can now be published across various Yahoo channels.

On the negative side of the debate are those that believe native advertising is underhanded and dishonest. Ads should be displayed as ads, in some peoples’ eyes, and content should not be masked to appear as though it is a piece of content from the site on which it is displayed.

On the other side of the debate are those that think it is a natural progression of digital marketing. It may not be written, produced, or created, by the owner or the publisher of the site on which it is displayed, but it is created to look native, so benefits the reader. What’s more, it can, they say, generate exceptional results.

Mayer is clearly on the side of this latter group. She slated those that believe the Internet should content in the centre and stickers on the sides, and she threw some figures around to back up her beliefs too.

Apparently, 46% of millennials that noticed branded content, or native ads, consumed the content itself and one third of those actually shared it. That’s impressive engagement figures for any form of advertisement, and it shows that, when done well, native advertising can prove to be highly effective and extremely efficient.

Regardless of which side of the fence you sit, native advertising is here. Newspapers like the New York Times and the Guardian offer it. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter offer it. Search engine/media portal/advertising networks like Yahoo not only offer it but clearly see it as a way in which they can advance their own goals, while helping advertisers improve their own results.