Because many of Lab42’s clients are ad agencies, this TechCrunch article about the changing nature of the advertising industry got us thinking. According to the article, advertisements will no longer be considered an interruption to consumers’ daily lives. Instead, companies will create advertisements that are fully integrated with customer experiences. Online banner ads are becoming less effective, and in their place a strategy called native advertising has emerged. This strategy “allows brands to promote their content into the endemic experience of a site in a non-interruptive, integrated way.” In other words, native advertising seeks to deliver more personalized content that adds (no pun intended) to a customer’s experience rather than interrupting it. Here are some examples of native advertising:

Promoted Tweets: This allows businesses to pay to have their tweets at the top of a list of particular search results. By choosing search terms relevant to their topic, promoted tweets allow for more organic advertising, providing users with content that is relevant to what they are doing at that moment.

Stumbleupon: On this content discovery site, users choose a few categories that defined their interests (like books, oddities, or interior design) and proceed to “stumble” through various types of web content – sites, blogs, videos and more – catered to their interest. Users can rate each page they stumble on thumbs up or thumbs down, making the algorithm smarter and more personalized. Where does advertising come in? It’s all part of the stumbling experience. With the site’s Paid Discovery program, advertisers pay to have their URL integrated into a user’s stream based on the interests they listed. About 5% of stumbles are part of Paid Discovery.

Google Maps Sponsored Links: When you enter a search term on Google Maps, occasionally a Sponsored Link will appear. These links are targeted to the topic and location of a user’s search, so advertisers pay for their links to appear on specific search terms.

Disqus: Disqus is a commenting platform used across many news and media sites that lets users engage in discussion related to news articles. In addition to providing a commenting tool, Disqus recommends pages to users based on their browsing history so that publishers can promote their articles to people who will be most interested in them.

Facebook Sponsored Stories: As an alternative to Facebook Ads, businesses can highlight a specific post or story that is relevant to users through Sponsored Stories. Companies that have a Facebook Page pay to promote a particular interaction on a user’s news feed. For example, say I liked The New York Times page on Facebook. They can pay to create  a Sponsored Story (“Sara liked The New York Times”) which will be highlight on my friends’ news feeds.

What are some other native advertising techniques you’re familiar with?

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