This Native Advertising Campaign is Older Than You

The term “native advertising” is trending around the world from Wallstreet to the present day Mad Men ad agencies. Although the term is relatively new, native advertising has been around since the 1930’s.

The term native advertising is generally described as a piece of sponsored content or media that looks and feels like the rest of the experience. If that is the definition you use, Procter & Gamble may have invented native advertising in 1927 when trying to sell Oxydol via radio:

Source: Procter & Gamble

Source: Procter & Gamble

Oxydol soap was created in 1914 and purchased by Procter & Gamble in 1927. P&G sponsored the Ma Perkins Radio Show and heavily promoted Oxydol to reach women. This moment in advertising put the “soap” in “soap operas”:

Is there another old example of native advertising you enjoy? Please comment below.

The Team

The Bezos Post: Exploring the reasons behind The Washington Post purchase

Today, The Washington Post was purchased by Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos. This purchase comes in a time where many old print media companies are having a challenging time adding subscribers, monetizing with advertising and maneuvering into the new digital age. In general, it is a time where incumbents in TV, Radio and Print are taking a hard look in the mirror and re-evaluating their position in our lives.

Many fear the Washington Post will drastically change. Chances are it won't any time soon.

Many fear the Washington Post will drastically change. Chances are it won’t any time soon.

Many people have been speculating for the reasons behind Bezos’ acquisition of the Washington Post. The reasons range from purchasing influence in Washington to having something to play with. Purchasing influence may be a valid potential reason – last year spent millions of dollars lobbying Washington. However, as and Jeff Bezos charge towards the media industry with infrastructure, software and hardware products – the reason probably lies herein.

Jeff Bezos has been investing very heavily in the trio (infrastructure, software and hardware) in order to build the future. Although is not the direct owner of The Post, one could expect to see The Washington Post being affiliated in some shape or form with an premium subscription.

The’s subscription model via Amazon Prime seems to be the apex of the business. Amazon books – Amazon’s legacy business model – has drastically shifted to ebooks in the last few years. Guess what? 350,000 of those books are free if you sign up to Amazon Prime. Amazon invested heavily in hardware building the Kindle. So much so, that they were selling the hardware at a cost. Bezos figures the media on the Kindle will make that money back. Guess what? Sign up to Prime and you get unlimited streaming and 41, 000 episodes. Bezos has taken every revenue stream from Amazon and baked it into Amazon Prime subscriptions.

The most interesting aspect of the deal is that one of the most iconic newspaper brands that has been unable to grow subscriptions has been acquired by the creator of the mega-subscription – Amazon Prime. The subscription service that lets you buy groceries faster and rent books, watch movies for “free”.

This is not a random deal. This is part of a greater strategy to centralize convenience across e-commerce and media. Turning a newspaper around from a dying asset to a media powerhouse will take time. With the growth of user generated content, bloggers, writers, video producers and Amazon’s perpetually growing cloud – one could also imagine a spill over in business and brand affiliation from The Post.

Why didn’t buy The Washington Post? One could speculate that Bezos simply did not want to deal with impatient public shareholders constantly asking for a return on their investment. Thus buying it himself in a private transaction.

One thing is for certain, this deal is not Bezos’ last, it is part of a series of calculated bet on where the future is going. Capturing audiences at the right place, the right time and engaging, informing or entertaining them – something the Post has done very well for years.

To all our friends at the Post. We trust your great coverage will continue and wish you the best. As long as you entertain, engage and inform – the future will be prime for success.

Over 70% of online publishers use Native Advertising

Native Advertising is everywhere.

“Native advertising” was one of the leading buzzwords in the tech space in 2012. It keeps making waves in 2013 as publishers see an actual benefit of using native advertising to monetize their audiences.

On July 10, 2013, eMarketer released a study where 73% of online publishers claim to use native advertising to monetize their audiences. Only 10% of the publishers stated they did not use native advertising and were not planning to use native advertising in the near future.

73% of publishers use native advertising

73% of publishers use native advertising

For consumers, this means that more likely than not you have seen a native advertisement without even knowing it. For advertisers, this means that now there are publishers across a multitude of verticals where the right audience can be reached. For agencies, it is important to be able to define native advertising for clients.

What is the definition of Native Advertising? 

One of the main problems with Native Advertising is that there is a lot of noise on what Native Advertising actually is. When the banner ad was rolled out, it was easy to explain – it’s an ad unit that fits within this 300 x 250 space. With native advertising, it seems as though there is a very broad description.

Facebook sponsored stories as In Stream Ads are regarded as native ad units:

native advertising on Facebook

In Stream Ads on Facebook

Twitter’s promoted tweets are also native ads:

promoted tweets

Promoted Tweets on Twitter

The Atlantic’s In Stream Ads have also been categorized as native ads:

The Atlantic has In Stream Ads

Native ads on The Atlantic

eMarketer asked US publishers to define Native advertising. There was a multitude of options:

  1. Integration into the design of the publisher’s site and lives on the same domain
  2. Content either provided by, produced in conjunction with or created on behalf of our advertisers that runs within the editorial stream
  3. Clear delineation and labeling as advertising content
  4. Editorial value to the reader and conforms to the reader’s expectations
  5. Contextually relevant, nonstandard advertising units
  6. Content marketing such as sponsored games, infographics, sites, etc.
  7. Highly automated advertising content such as sponsored stories, publisher tweets, etc.

93% of US Publishers surveyed agreed that #1 – Integration into the design of the publisher’s site and lives on the same domain . On the lower end, only 54% of US publishers believed sponsored stories and publisher tweets to be truly “native advertising” ad formats. Below are the numbers on the survey:

How do US Publisher's define "Native Advertising"?

How do US Publisher’s define “Native Advertising”?

It seems as though what we can agree to disagree on is a clear and concise definition of native advertising. At VIRURL we believe that whichever way you define “native advertising” the focus must be on the user experience.

On July 3, 2013 Forbes ran an article by Lori Kozlowski on the Future of Content: How to Improve Ads on the Web and quoted Lee Fentress, VIRURL’s Chief Revenue Officer, saying “I think our new tagline will be Engage, Inform, Entertain”. At VIRURL, we believe there is a huge opportunity in providing a positive experience through the relevancy and entertainment of sponsored content. It is about finding the right piece of sponsored content for the right user at the right time. No easy task but we believe with the right team, the right technology this will be The Next Big Thing. Fun fact: Did you know Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of TV and Broadcasting) selected Virurl as The Next Big Thing in November 2012.

It is clear that display banner ad spending is not going anywhere. Agencies and brands at local and national levels are projected to increase display spending year over year. However, it is still interesting to see a relatively “new” ad format gain so much buzz and traction in a short time period. eMarketer with data from BIA/Kelsey recently estimated that by 2017, the native advertising market will grow to $4.57 billion. That is more than the $3 billion spent in display ads in 2012.

Display ads versus banner ads

Display ads versus banner ads

One thing is for certain, native advertising is not going anywhere. From the looks of it online marketers are adding native advertising to their multi-channel strategies as they have recently adapted to adding social advertising spends, banner ad spends or even search ppc in the past.

Native advertising is present when you’re drinking your morning coffee and reading your favorite online newspaper. Native advertising is in front of you when you seek your local mid-day news report. Native advertising is everywhere. Regardless of whether people can agree on a definition of native advertising – one thing is for certain – the need for high quality branded content is on the rise as is the need for a native advertising technology to find the right audience.

At VIRURL we’re excited about this massive opportunity. If you’re interested in joining our team or have any questions on native advertising please use the contact form below