What is native advertising, and why does it matter in PR?

27 Jul 2016
Kevin Lam

An interesting article I read recently on a well-known market research company website asked “What’s Next for Native Ads?”, leading with the news that spending on native advertising will double from 2012 to 2017 in the US to over USD5 billion. We are seeing this trend in Hong Kong and Greater China as well.

But what is native advertising, anyway? Simply put, native advertising is a type of ‘disguised’ advertising, most of the time in video form posted online and on social media platforms. What set is apart from display advertising is the nature of the content – rather than creating a banner showing your logo, say, native advertising is about creating a story which has high relevance to a specific target audience and attracting them to click and watch it to the end.

We’ve recently created a number of engaging native advertising-style videos for our clients. One such example was with Singapore Tourism Board, which was a great success with almost one million views, and featured by a local newspaper as a prime example of native advertising.

Your next question might be why is an integrated PR agency (rather than an advertising agency) creating these types of ads?

Successful native advertising relies on content that is creative, relevant and interesting enough to attract an audience to watch it, and at the same time must include a soft call-to-action and, most importantly, be consistent with the brand language. And this is exactly what PR professionals are trained to do. An Integrated PR agency is best place to play a leading role in all forms of promotion, including native advertising. The PR team knows the brand, understands the call-to-action and are first and foremost creative storytellers. But success takes more than just these skills – it takes showcasing the story and partnering with the right channels to be truly successful. And to take it to the next level, an Integrated PR agency will also be able to amplify content by sharing it on social media, pitching the story to media platforms and utilising other owned and earned channels.

In this mobile and social media era, Integrated PR is not only online-to-offline, but also the merging of above-the-line and below-the-line. A truly successful communications strategy is now broader than ever before.

Successful native advertising relies on content that is creative, relevant and interesting and, most importantly, be consistent with the brand language. And this is exactly what PR professionals are trained to do

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