From Paid Content:
One of the biggest trends in media at the moment is “sponsored content” or what some call “native advertising.” But is it the savior of online media, or just another mirage in the advertising desert?
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The principle behind what some call sponsored content and others refer to as “native advertising” (and newspapers and magazines called “advertorial”) is that marketing messages and other forms of advertising are more successful when they look and feel just like the other content that surrounds them, rather than an annoying and/or irrelevant interruption. If you can make your message useful, the theory goes, then users are more likely to click or remember.
The most obvious example of this is the kind of advertising that both Twitter and Facebook offer: namely, features like “promoted tweets” and “sponsored stories.” They appear in a user’s stream just like any other status update or message, but they are advertising that is based on — and in some cases even includes — the activity of a user around specific topics (although Facebook’s version has caused some controversy over the inclusion of status updates).
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Forbes‘ chief product officer Lewis D’Vorkin, who will also be on our panel at paidContent Live, has written about the idea behind this platform, and the idea is that branded or marketing-related content should be given a status that is equal to that of the magazine’s traditional content, and that it should succeed or fail based on whether it is actually useful to readers or not. So the blog written by someone who works for a brand or corporate sponsor looks and functions almost exactly the same as any other blog written by a Forbes staffer.
Link to the rest at Paid Content