Native advertising. Simpler than you think.

There’s been a lot of talk about “native” advertising recently. A new buzzword in our industry, perhaps, but not a new concept. Todd Wasserman talks about the trend in online to move from banner ads to ads that are “unique and native to the experience” of the site.

“A native ad is something that consumers read, interact with, even share — it fills up their attention space, for a certain period of time, in a way that banner ads never do … In that sense, TV ads are truly native; the way you consume a TV ad is the same as the way you consume a TV show. Similarly, long copy print ads are native, for the same reason. And the ultimate native ads are the glossy fashion ads in Vogue: In most cases, they’re better than the editorial, and as a result, readers spend as much time with the ads — if not more — as they do with the edit.”

As Todd points out, native advertising is simply a way to make online advertising as effective as TV or print ads. It’s undisguised advertising that people find interesting enough to view, participate in, and share. In other words, native ads aren’t necessarily there to ring up a sale, but are part of the brand building process.

That sounds like progress to me.

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