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The state of native advertising in SA - participation vs interruption

Humans are constantly evolving.
Alex Spagnoletti
It’s in our nature to strive to become the highest possible versions of ourselves. We also have a duplicity in our nature. We want to keep our integrity, but we also want to show the world how far we’ve come. It’s a struggle of the ego which has always made us susceptible to advertising.

Brands need to grow, in sales and market share. This ego struggle in humans opens up an opportunity for brands. A brand that can hit this sweet spot in the battle of the ego, with the need for integrity with consumers, will win the battle for market share.

This is what content marketing is all about. As consumers, we are becoming less responsive to overt messaging that tells us what we want, and how to get people to like us.

Instead, we want to choose. It sounds basic, but we haven’t nailed it. The power of mass marketing is so entrenched in our psyches that it has a real power over us, and we are only vaguely aware of that. This vague awareness has brought about a shift, where we want to be the curators of our own stories again.

Enter social media, but we’re only at the tipping point.

Native advertising, as the name suggests, is a return to the primitive. We can have exposure to a product offering while we go about our daily interests on the web. We are shown content that our behavior has shown interests us.

It’s content recommendations, in stream advertising and video which adds value to our quest for self-actualisation and therefore gets the attention.

To this end, content recommendations are not working very well.

The current user journey is thus: My user behavior shows that I’m interested in current affairs, renovating my home, and golf. As I browse the net, and click on stories that interest me, I receive content recommendations that suggest I read up on how to make millions of rands, staying at home, or how to get a shapely backside like Kim Kardashian.

It’s untargeted “native” advertising and long-tail and affiliate advertisers have captured this space, making cash off the back end, but at a cost to the integrity of the consumer and of the publisher.

There is a place for curated native advertising in brand strategies, and it starts with clear, actionable, data – of course.

It’s called targeted native, and should be a line item in every media plan.

The Newsroom offers publishers an opportunity for content recommendations with integrity, allowing readers that same advantage.

Credibility plays a huge role in the conversion funnel, word of mouth has always been a more trusted way to get information, and now we can offer word of mouth at scale.

At the Newsroom, our research suggests that there is a higher degree of trust from consumers when they are reading content from credible, third party experts. We always recommend content from the actual publisher, never pushing our reading public to unreliable sources.

Poor content recommendation looks like this:



Our partners, Times Live, have entrusted us to manage their content recommendations which look like this: They all direct to other Times Live stories, unless they are a trusted brand advertiser which is promoted:



Humans are constantly evolving... and time is increasingly something in short supply. When you do have an opportunity to win “time” from prospects it is imperative that you target those prospects with relevant, useful, actionable content that adds value to their day.

The Newsroom helps you do just that.

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About the author

Alex Spagnoletti is the Commercial Director at The Newsroom.

The Newsroom's press office

The Newsroom
The Newsroom is South Africa's premium native ad platform. We help online publishers lead, innovate and engage buyers more effectively over an exceptionally versatile alternative to the endless stack of ad-tech investments.
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