Is Native Content Bad for You?

My thoughts on this are still evolving, but I want to talk about a topic that is affecting you right now. If you're an online marketer, a blogger, a media buyer or an advertiser then this is closer to you than most people.

I'm talking about online advertising. Over the past few years, marketers have been developing a new way of advertising to you. 2017 may be the year when it grows up and becomes mainstream.

This new model is euphemistically called "native advertising" and it's the central topic of my video below. It's a very close cousin to "influencer" marketing.

It's not that I don't like the new model. I love it! For us, advertisers and marketers, it's a boon. But for you as a consumer it sucks.

Over the past 15+ years, you've been complaining about ads on websites. So much so that enough of you have adopted ad-blocker programs.

The other day my friend came over and told me about a little raspberry pi machine that can block advertisements at your network level. You don't even need a browser plugin. Amazing.

But the problem is that marketers, advertisers and every one of us that works in this space still needs to advertise products and services to you. And most of the time, they are good products and services you actually want; advertising has gotten smarter over time.

Maybe too smart.

Blocking ads and the expectation that all content should be free has pushed the industry to native content and influencer marketing. What's the problem with native content? I think it hurts you as a consumer and adds unnecessary red tape for us publishers.

More of my thoughts in the video, I'd love to hear yours too so let me know in the comments here or in the video.


  1. Is Native Content Bad for the consumer?
    That’s tough to say and can argue both sides

    The FTC has indicated on some level that it is bad and certain types of advertising in commercials/movies is banned/restricted.

    In reality everything is advertising. A majority of the world pays for ads to be streamed to their TV 24×7.

    You pay for your cable, and you still have to watch ads.

    Pick a favorite show and I’ll show you a product in that show that paid the show to be featured in said show.

    I remember watching “The Profit” and after it gained some traction there were specific parts in the show that Lemonis would go “fix” a problem with this new “service” from AT&T.

    Is it good for the marketer?
    Hell yes

    • It’s all about disclosure, and that’s the bad part. Some of the sponsored content that isn’t labeled as such blends in perfectly with the regular content.

      The bad part about this whole thing is how the consumer kept complaining about ads… now they will continue to see ads but just won’t know it. I guess ignorance is bliss, like they say.

      I think product placement is also growing and that will be really difficult to address because you can’t interrupt a movie to say that the last scene you saw was “brought to you by XYZ”

      If the ad looks like an ad and it’s clearly an ad, it doesn’t have to be disclosed that it is such an ad. If it blends into regular content then it’s supposed to be — that’s the easiest way to look at this.

      And yes, it’s excellent for the marketer, instead of fighting for a glance or a couple seconds, we have a few minutes of your time.

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