The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018, introducing some strict new laws and regulations designed to safeguard people's personal information and to place a greater duty of care on companies to protect people's data and to use it more responsibly.
The GDPR contains directives regarding how consumer data can be collected, what it can be used for, and the requirement for businesses to seek and receive express permission from individuals before collecting their personal data. The purpose of these changes was to give consumers far greater control over their personal data and how it can be used. As a result, greater transparency is now required when collecting such data.
In a climate where consumer data collection is now being strictly controlled and gaining the trust of customers is absolutely vital to the ongoing success of a business, native advertising is proving to be an extremely effective marketing tool. In fact, as the industry evolves to meet the legal requirements of the GDPR and looks for creative new ways to promote businesses, native advertising is expected to become increasingly important.
What is Native Advertising?
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It cannot be disputed that we are now living in an age that is dominated and driven by digital media. Whilst a lot of businesses and marketing firms have been scrambling to comply with the laws introduced by the GDPR, this shift away from 'traditional' media formats has also provided businesses with exponentially more opportunities to connect with their customers, to take more control of the image they want to portray for their brand and to communicate directly with their audience. Native advertising can be an incredibly effective promotional tool in the current climate when it is utilised strategically and intelligently.
Native advertising can generally be identified by the following elements:
A brand pays for their content to appear within a sales channel or media format that is outside their own media stream and is aimed at an audience that is outside their usual reach
The advertisement itself will have a look and feel that is very similar to the rest of the content that appears on the channel so that it feels like an ‘organic’ element of the outlet (e.g. the colours, fonts, and formatting used for the ad is the same or similar to those used for regular posts)
Promotions are presented in a way that does not appear to be paid advertising; rather, they are informative, identify with the needs and interests of the audience, and encourage some degree of interaction
Tt does not disrupt or distract the user from what they are looking at but appears seamlessly within the regular content that they are browsing
Effective social media advertising is an obvious example of the above elements. Many brands have successfully collaborated with popular 'influencers' and figures in specific online communities to promote their products and reach a specific audience or interest group.
Why Native Advertising?
As mentioned above, one huge benefit of native advertising is that it can help a business to reach a demographic that they may not have otherwise reached. There are many other benefits though, and one of the most significant revolves around trust.
Photo by John Schnobrich via Unsplash
In the modern world, our so-called digital footprint and the immense amount of information that is contained within our online profile has become a valuable commodity. As with anything of great value though, this data has come under an ever-increasing threat of misuse, theft and exploitation, and has led to an increasing distrust among consumers. This is why the GDPR has made it a requirement for businesses to specifically seek permission from consumers before storing and using their data.
Native advertising, when done effectively, is a proven way to build trust and loyalty with your audience and to drive your brand's identity. Once you have achieved a level of trust with your audience, they will be far more willing to provide you with consent to collect and use their personal data for marketing purposes. Businesses now have to be more creative in appealing to consumers beyond a simple product description or sales pitch, and there is a need to show consumers that they are benefitting in some way from providing consent to their data.
Native Advertising Builds Trust and Brand Loyalty
Through native advertising, you can target both your core and prospective audiences. You can become a trusted source of information for your audience, which affords you the chance to promote your goods or services in a non-intrusive way. If you can achieve this type of connection and level of trust with consumers, not only will they give you consent to access their data, but there is also a good chance they will prove to be loyal, long-term customers for years to come.