Allein Godfrey MooreThe latest buzz in the advertising and publishing industries is the term ‘native advertising’. The term seems to have arisen from the old colonial past, when any expatriate who adopted the habits of the locals, was considered by his more conservative colleagues as having gone ‘native’. Should he go further and take a local lady as his wife, he was soon dropped from ‘polite’ society and probably lost his membership to the colonial social club.

Native advertising is advertising that is published alongside, and in the same style (critics say disguised), as the editorial content of the digital magazine in which it appears. Some folks refer to it as ‘sponsored content’ while others says it is simply the good old advertorial of print days wrapped up in a fancy new title.

Indeed, it is a medium that is evolving and we can witness journalists not only writing words but producing video films. The division between the editorial department and the sales department seems to be melting in many digital publications, although nearly all claim that the brand division is a separate production unit.

In my opinion, native advertising has only a little in common with the ‘puff’ of the past advertorials. It has been the change in consumer expectations and sophistication which has driven marketers to explore a form of advertising which is more informative and engaging. The content attempts to match the editorial in terms of quality and value to the reader. Indeed, I am told that in some cases, the ‘native advertising’ has attracted more views and importantly, been shared.

If you haven’t gone ‘native’ then it is time to explore this new environment.