You couldn’t throw a rock in 2014 without hitting a blog, article or report about native advertising. It isn’t surprising, especially considering that spending on native advertising is through the roof.
Of course, another reason that it made the news so often is simply because so many people are diametrically opposed when it comes to this “new” form of advertising. Those on the side of journalists argue that it breaks too many journalistic taboos about combining editorial with advertising. On the other side of the coin are those who believe that, when done correctly and ethically, native advertising is an excellent way to engage with consumers and increase sales.
The simple fact is this; native advertising has been a savior for publishers, including newspapers and magazines, at a time when they need it most.
One of those magazines is Forbes and, since they started focusing on native advertising nearly 4 years ago, their digital ad revenues have gone well past what they make from print, pulling in around 65% of every ad dollar made by the publisher.
Their native advertising goes by the name of Brand Voice and it actually started before the term “native advertising” had even been coined.
Their CEO, Mike Perlis, believes that journalistic integrity and native advertising can coexist peacefully. “If managed correctly and transparently with clear identification, and high standards for that content, I think native advertising ads to sources for content that people are so hungry for,” he was recently quoted by Marketing Interactive.
“For us,” Perlis continues, “it was our way of appreciating that content in today’s media world can come from a lot of different places,” adding that “if it’s clearly marked and transparent, marketers in companies also can be content producers.”
While his opinion might raise hell and generate an argument or two by many in the advertising industry, the fact is that the results Forbes has enjoyed with their native advertising effort have been strong and, even more convincingly, consumers still trust the Forbes brand implicitly.