I ran across an interesting statement in Liv Longley’s post on Search Engine Journal. Her list of 3 Digital Marketing Trends That Will Start in 2015 reads like this:

  1. Video and image-based marketing will be very important — unless your particular audience is very interested in words over pictures.
  2. Mobile is how we get online most of the time — sites and outreach must be mobile-friendly and consistent.
  3. Native advertising is the only online advertising — wait. What???

What Is Native Advertising?

I haven’t done a survey, but I’ll bet that if you asked a hundred digital marketers what native advertising is you’d get some different definitions. They would all agree, however, that native advertising fits the context it is viewed in. In other words, it makes sense to see it there.

Like Liv Longley says, this sort of thing can be “done really well or really poorly.” It is hard to create a natural-feeling piece of content that spreads your message and isn’t pushy. People don’t like pushy, but you want them to remember who you are and maybe click on a link.

I don’t know if native advertising will actually be the ‘only’ online advertising because I can still imagine there being other types of advertising when I go online. But I can easily imagine that content appropriate for the setting, giving me information I’m interested in while not being overly aggressive, could be the content I’ll pay attention to.

It’s difficult to move past the exclamation marks and hyper-language of the past to the idea that advertising natural to the context — native advertising — is more about substance than bait. I can see the reasons someone might say that in the future the native advertising will be the only online advertising. I am not sure about it being this year, though.

Customer Response Is The Key

When we try to measure the results of native advertising, it gets tricky because much of the response is not as easy as counting clicks. But if you look at it from the standpoint of developing a long-term relationship with your customers, interacting rather than luring or shouting makes sense.

What do you think? Will native advertising be the only advertising in the future?