Native advertising is an inevitable part of our future both as marketers and as consumers of media. Advertisers demand it for its promise of effectiveness and delivery of results. Publishers want it for its promise of revenue and a better reader experience. And consumers of media? Well we just want to get at the good stuff. The material that we came for. And if we think much about native advertising, we’re probably concerned about the threat to independence of editorial voice and our inability to know what to trust.
Native advertising is here to stay. So, we all should hope that it is done right. With transparency about the distinction between earned editorial content and paid content. With a presentation that enhances our content consumption experience. In a way that generates the revenue necessary to continue to fund the creation of content we will want to consume.
The New York Times has not been afraid to experiment with new ways of presenting digital content and charging for it. And it continues to innovate. Soon, it will be reworking the way that it presents advertising on mobile devices.
In a well-documented article, AdAge interviewed several NYTimes execs about the new mobile advertising approach, dubbed “Moments.” These ads will be presented as “cards” with photos and videos spanning the full width of the mobile device, but leaving the previous and next articles partially appearing above and below the ads. According to the AdAge report, the ads will be customized to the seven moments in a given day that are most important to readers, as identified through a 12-month study conducted by the Times’ editorial product team.” This includes morning, mid-day and evening time periods.
The Moments advertising format and content will vary to match the way that editorial content is presented throughout the day. “For example,’ writes AdAge, “the early-morning ads will be largely text-based to align with the Times’ morning briefing, which is a text-heavy roundup of the day’s news and events. Conversely the evening version of these mobile moments ads will feature photos and videos to complement the Times’ evening briefing, which is a similar news roundup to the morning briefing but typically includes a dozen or more photos to make the reading experience more entertaining.”
This sounds like another big move forward by the Times. And if it works, it could show the way to the future for a lot of other publishers. Let’s hope that the Times does this right. Now just for itself. But also for readers as well as advertisers. And doing it right means transparency and clearly marking native advertising as paid-for content.