A Monologue On Native Advertising And Why It Doesn't Always Work
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Politics and Activism

A Monologue On Native Advertising And Why It Doesn't Always Work

Ever wondered what native advertising is? Here's what, and why I am skeptical of it.

A Monologue On Native Advertising And Why It Doesn't Always Work

I think it was a Saturday afternoon, and I was caught in the middle of a harrowing existential crisis, wondering whether meat is something I need to consume on a daily basis or not. This being the first time that I seriously considered the topic, I decided to dig deep and do some research to find out more about things like the nutritional value of meats, animal treatment in the rearing industry, and the like.

To my grief, I happened to click on this really interesting headline: “3 ways in which eating meat daily can kill you.” As I was scrolling through this article, I was coming across new information and starting to become genuinely convinced that I could try to live off meat for a few months. Until... I reached the penultimate paragraph, and what it was essentially saying was that everything that I had just read had been paid for by PETA.

My initial reaction was a just pure shock, followed by a nauseating wave of feeling violated. I was genuinely curious about a particular subject, and while I thought I was challenging my own opinions, I was being turned into just another victim of someone else’s private agenda.

Paid content, like the article that I stumbled upon, falls under the broad umbrella which is becoming increasingly popular as ‘native advertising.’ Native advertising, by definition, is a form of paid media which follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.

As far as the big media companies are concerned, native advertising is, without a doubt, a stroke of genius. It is clever, it is innovative, and people don’t realize they are being advertised to until it’s too late. My contention lies with that last bit, and that is mainly because I feel that that falls in the realms of deception.

My argument is not that all native advertising is bad. In all fairness, native advertising holds great potential to deliver original content which can make both parties happy. However, transparency is or should be, an integral part of this type of an approach. Nobody likes to be lied to, and while the advertiser’s ultimate goal is to get content in front of the most number of eyes, doing so by lying is unethical.

Furthermore, the way these ads work as in-feed ads on major social media platforms has triggered a wave of sponsored content in these setups. Why is that a problem? Well, it compromises the fundamental purpose of these forums – to socialize and stay connected, and not to be tricked into buying products.

On a level, native advertising is quite similar to the concept of data analytics. Both of them hold immense promise, but each comes with its unique set of perils. So while something like native advertising or data analytics excites me as a prospective marketer in the media landscape, the skeptic in me continues to believe that these concepts are far from perfect. They first need to establish strong, ethical foundations, that are both crystal clear and do not aim to deceive as an intrinsic value.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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