Native Advertising: Defying Definability

Because OneSpot’s solution is predicated on the idea of non-interruptive advertising, we’re sometimes viewed as a Native Advertising solution, with which brands can promote their great content in the context of other great content. So we’re paying close attention to the ongoing conversation (and debate) about Native Advertising and where it’s going.

But with all new, complex categories in online media and marketing, there’s a definition stage where industry experts, vendors, publishers, agencies and brands all try to land on a crisp, accurate characterization of what the darn thing actually is and isn’t.

And as you may be aware we’re right in the thick of that stage at the moment.

So for your convenience, we’re compiling here a list of the many different definitions of Native Advertising that are floating about. This is a pretty comprehensive roundup, but we most certainly won’t have all of them. Any special ones we might have missed? Sound off in the comments!

Felix Salmon
Finance Blogger, Reuters
“A native ad is something that consumers read, interact with, even share — it fills up their attention space, for a certain period of time, in a way that banner ads never do.”

Mitch Joel
President, Twist Image
“I define native advertising as an ad format that must be created specifically for one media channel in terms of the technical format and the content (both must be native to the channel on which they appear and unable to be used in another context).”

“Native advertising is paying for the right to become part of the user experience as opposed to interrupting it.”

Director of Product, Pandora

Josh Sternberg
Media/Publishing Reporter, Digiday
“When an ad unit can only be bought and displayed on one platform. Think Facebook’s Sponsored Stories; Twitter’s Promoted Tweets; Tumblr’s Radar. These ad units are unique to those environments.”

Solve Media
“Native advertising refers to a specific mode of monetization that aims to augment user experience by providing value through relevant content delivered in-stream.”

Fahad Kahn
Founder & CEO, One Public
“Native ads are ads in a format that is native to the platform on which they are run, bought or sold. Native advertising is the activity of producing, buying and selling native ads.”

Mike Masnick
Editor, Techdirt
“Advertising that is ‘native to the medium’ or which fits within the framework of the site or service, rather than being off to the side, flashing away, hoping for attention.”

Jack Krawczyk
Director of Product, Pandora
“Native advertising is paying for the right to become part of the user experience as opposed to interrupting it.”

Mel Exon
Managing Partner and Co-Founder, BBH Labs
“It is relevant, paid-for content that appears within the editorial stream of a publisher’s site or on a social network.”

Nick Denton
CEO and Founder, Gawker Media
“Native advertising is usually just advertorial or sponsored content, repackaged to secure a little attention from the ad trades and media buyers. For advertising to be truly native in an interactive medium, it should be interactive.”

“Most perceive native ads as purchased ads that mimic content in the venues in which they appear. They are more entertaining and less interruptive than traditional ads, and hopefully popular enough to get shares.”

Bonus: Digiday also asked business and tech execs from leading online publishers what they thought. You can see that roundup here.

What do you think is the best definition of Native Advertising? Is there one of the many listed above, or do you have a different favorite? Let us know in the comments!




Increase the Effectiveness of Your Content Without Increasing Your Workload

Drive engagement, conversions and ROI with true 1:1 personalization. No integrations required.

We’ll show you how