It’s been pretty well documented that for Native Advertising to be really effective Trust has to be at the heart of the relationship between the advertising brand and the media brand where the message is appearing. Consumers form relationships with media brands because they trust the content they consume. They expect that from all content, and indeed advertising, on the site. It has the unofficial seal of approval of the media brand, if you like.
Recently two actions by media owners have further reinforced the importance of trust and cemented their faith in the value of native content they carry for their audiences.
Transparency is vital to trust, the motive for a native article, and it’s visibility as just that. The FTC and IAB have both issued guidelines as to how native ads should be labelled.
Last month the Guardian announced that Content paid for and controlled by advertisers will now be labelled as “paid content” or “paid for by,” both of which are far more clear than the “brought to you by” the content used to carry. Independent content that is funded by sponsors but created by Guardian staff is also to be labelled more clearly with a “supported by” tag, which improves on the “sponsored by” tag that previously appeared.
A label that is more vague can perhaps have the benefit of beating the curse of the ad blocker but there’s no doubt that the more clear the disclosure is, the more trustworthy the content is considered to be.
The other example is somewhat different. Forbes is so confident of the power of native to deliver results that it is applying the same money-back promise it once made for display ads to its native ad product, BrandVoice. It’s based on big spending advertisers ($250,000 ad spend on native plus display over 60 days) The premise is that they will get a lift in metrics for awareness, favourability, recall, purchase intent. If results show they don’t get an uplift in at least one of these four key deliverables advertisers will get their money back. That is perhaps the ultimate symbol of trust in the medium!
Other models include charging for native based on views (and at least one, the Daily Mail, guarantees views), but Forbes believes its promise is a first for native. The frequency of posts by an advertiser to BrandVoice will clearly impact its scores and the guaranteed increase will be determined by what the measurement vendor says is “statistically stable.”
It’s an interesting development, and both examples suggest be clear, be bold and trust in native to deliver.
Tim Cain is the Founder of Digital First Media (Former Managing Director of The UK Association of Online Publishers).Tim is widely engaged in the digital media industry, working with many leading publishers and promoting the value of premium content to agencies, tech businesses, brands and other organisations.