Speakers at the Society of Editors conference disproved the myth that digital advertising is merely “click bait”, and described how native advertising and editorial content can co-exist.
Native advertising is a form of advertising that blends in with the editorial style of its surroundings.
However, the growing fear among publishers is readers’ potential inability to differentiate between commercial and editorial content, which weakens their trust in the brand.
Christian Broughton, Digital Editor, The Independent and i, who helped pioneer the launch of i100, asserted: “If the readers are confused, you’re letting them down.”
Tiffanie Darke, Commercial Content Director at Method, the native advertising team at News UK, stressed that to avoid confusion among readers, advertorial content must be clearly labelled as ‘Sponsored’ or #Spon, over all mediums, to differentiate between independent editorial content and commercial advertisements.
Stephanie Himoff, Director Brands, Agencies and Head of PR Partnerships at Outbrain, supports Tiffanie’s belief. She said: “Native advertising is a phenomenal opportunity,” both for publishers and advertisers.
“The dream is for the brand to come together with the advertiser to produce engaging editorial content for the readers.”
Stephanie upholds the view that native advertising is the future of content marketing. She said: “I don’t believe advertising is dead. I think that the way we were advertising has to come to an end.”
Tiffanie agreed with Stephanie: “I don’t think it dictates the editorial agenda, I think it adds value to it when it is done properly.”
“The editorial/commercial cross-over must be absolutely straight forward and fundamental about the independence of the editorial teams from the commercial teams, if you are to be a credible organisation.”
Although Tiffanie believes native advertising can “add value” to the editorial content, she also implies that these two media pillars can indeed rival one another. She said: “There is no reason why content that is being paid for by a brand can’t be as good, if not better, than editorial content that is being produced independently.”