WELCOME TO..big. definition of native advertising. • To clarify best practices in native...

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    • We conducted a consumer survey of 2,000 people with the aim of understanding current online behaviour, current engagement with brands online, key success factors of brand engagement online, and most importantly, the perception and appeal of native advertising versus traditional advertising through creative testing.

    KEY FINDINGS • We produced a clear definition of native advertising. • We discovered a generational shift in the way people respond to native advertising. • We identified what works – and what doesn’t. • We pinpointed key examples of best practice. • We developed a conclusive blueprint for successful native advertising.

    RESEARCH OBJECTIVES • To produce a definitive body of work giving a true insight into native advertising, present and future. • To help the industry move towards a clear definition of native advertising. • To clarify best practices in native advertising. • To produce guidelines on how to succeed in native advertising.

    CHALLENGES • There is a lack of knowledge about the subject – even within the industry. • There are wide and varied understandings of the term ‘native advertising’. • Different stakeholders are competing for ownership and have challenging viewpoints. • There is a need for collaboration – to bring together different skillsets. • The balance of power shifts as we identify the key primary skills.

    METHODOLOGY • We carried out a series of in-depth interviews with media owners, brand marketers, marketing directors, agency heads and opinion leaders. • We surveyed a range of experts - 20 media owners, editors and journalists, 20 brand marketers, marketing directors and CMOs, 20 agency heads and senior decision makers, and five bloggers.


    Here we will look to define Native Advertising? Is it a meaningful trend that's here to stay? Or simply the latest buzzword? Should you be doing it? And if so, how and why?

    Welcome to AOL UK's 'Native Age'.

    The separation of ‘Church’ and ‘State’ in the media world is a long held truth.

    The Church, that is, journalists, their opinions and stories, and The State, media entities and their advertising, co-exist in an arm’s length relationship; related, but divided.

    Today, we believe that metaphor is broken.

    Why? The emergence of Native Advertising.

    We believe the failing of the ‘old media’ metaphor of Church and State metaphor excludes you - the congregation.

    Historically people were on the outside looking in, a passive audience to be preached to whether by editor or advertiser.

    Today, on sites like the Huffington Post, and across the media spectrum, readers are taking an increasingly active role in finding, editing, writing and recommending their news and entertainment online.

    These new forces in storytelling and editorial are forcing media owners and marketers to rethink the old models, and define new ways in which the Church, State and Congregation can interact.

    As one of the leaders in this new paradigm of media, we have set out to define the new era of Native Advertising, with a particular focus on what it means for advertisers and marketers.

    • Listen to a key audience of media owners, brand marketers, marketing directors, agency heads and opinion leaders – and tap into their unique perspectives. • Take a look at our intriguing expert survey of 20 media owners, editors and journalists, 20 brand marketers, marketing directors and CMOs, 20 agency heads and senior decision makers, and five bloggers. • Examine the thought-provoking results of our consumer survey of 2,000 people, which gives us huge and valuable insights into the perception and appeal of native advertising versus traditional advertising. Delve into their current online behaviour, and their current engagement with brands online, and we’ll help you discover the key success factors of brand engagement online.


    Native advertising is: sponsored content, which is relevant to the consumer experience, which is not interruptive, and which looks and feels similar to its editorial environment.

    The quality of that content is key in the Native Age - it has to be great content that the consumer wants to read, watch and share.

    Sean King, CEO of Seven, an award-winning content marketing agency, says: “The content agenda is really massive now… Everybody is talking about content. Everybody. If you are a social media editor, a digital agency, media editing, an ad agency, a PR agency, they are all talking about content.”

    We believe transparency is also vital; native advertising needs to be clearly signposted so that users know the content is funded by a brand. The Atlantic magazine’s Scientology advertisement, the social media backlash and the media’s subsequent apology serves as just one example of how readers expect this transparency, and of how media owners must recognise their responsibilities in this space.

    So we’ve given you a definition – now we’re going to show you what to do with it.

    It’s here already – but you may not know it yet. You may not know what it’s called. You may not know what it looks like. But you’ve probably experienced it. And that’s the beauty of native advertising.

    However, we believe a common definition of Native Advertising will be crucial to its future uptake and success across the industry. A true definition will give consumers, marketers and brands confidence in the model.

    As Phil Reay-Smith, Head of Media at Ogilvy PR, says: “Native advertising is one of those phrases that people use a lot, but don’t always understand. So it does demand defining.”

    We conducted a series of fascinating in-depth interviews with industry experts and they all agreed it’s a commercial buzzword that most consumers are not aware of – even if they’re engaging with it.

    Carla Buzasi, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, says: “If you are logging onto a website at the moment, chances are at some stage you are going to come across native advertising, you just don’t know it. This is about a client’s wish to get closer to and talk to in a more natural way than they have done in the past.”

    From our extensive research we can now show the industry a clear definition of what native is.

  • EXAMPLES OF GREAT NATIVE ADVERTISING Brilliant native advertising is already here. Here are three examples, one from HuffPost, and two broader examples.

    We believe all three work are powerful because they successfully hit the crossroads of readers’ interests and the brand’s agenda – the core of great Native.


    Inspired by Iceland was a cross-platform campaign launched by AOL in partnership with the country’s tourism board, Promote Iceland. The Huffington Post UK launched an “Inspiration” section, which allowed brands to communicate with consumers through video, blogs and social media. We pulled together a host of inspiring content – editorial, features, videos, galleries, blogs – creating a destination site where Iceland could open its doors to the world with superb content that people could really connect with.

    Key Results:

    #1 Iceland’s appeal as a holiday destination increased by 69% #2 Consideration of Iceland as a holiday destination increased by 130% #3 Consideration of Iceland as the ‘trip of a lifetime’ increased up 74%


    Where Design Meets Technology was a partnership between The Atlantic and Porsche, aiming to illuminate the intersection of contemporary design and trailblazing technology. Sponsored photo galleries, in-depth blogging and online chats, which highlighted the innovation and trends being developed.


    Red Bull’s Stratos Project is arguably the poster child of content marketing and Native Advertising, even if we don't all enjoy similar stratospheric budgets. We all know it was remarkably successful, with 8 million views of skydiver Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of space. The brand helped create and fund the mission which went further than a normal marketing campaign; it was a genuinely fascinating project in its own right. This campaign took the idea of quality content to a whole new level.


    • Crucially, published brand content is most likely to have a positive impact on young people’s relationship with a brand. More than a quarter of 18-24s said published brand content was most likely to make a brand appeal to them, compared to an 11% average. • The younger audience says the most important thing in online advertising is interesting and useful content (35%) followed by entertaining and fun content (28%). • This age group is much more likely to interact with brands online. Almost half of 18-24s interact with brands online compared to only a quarter of the 64+ age group. • More than half of the younger audience agreed that online ads could be interesting and useful, compared to just one in five of those aged 64+. Similarly half of those aged 18-24 agreed that online ads could