Originally at https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/opinion/2441887/does-native-advertising-really-work

I’ll set out my stall straight away, I don’t particularly like native advertising. 

However, I’m seeing this as an exercise in trying to dispel my own confirmation bias.

I would love nothing more than to rant endlessly about an advertising practice I’ve described before as no better than “autoplay video, Spotify ads and downloading spyware onto your browser” or, horror of horrors, downloading a U2 album into your iTunes.

But… as you will have noticed from time to time, we run sponsored articles on SEW and I would come across as somewhat hypocritical. Just like how I accused pop-up ads of being “contemptible” yesterday and yet you were probably presented with one on your first visit here.

The balancing of user-friendliness, our own editorial judgement and the need to make some actual money is a difficult thing to get right. I’ll save the pop-up conversation for another time though, let’s get back to native advertising… 

Despite any personal feelings, they are part of our business model for the time being, and they help this site continue to exist.

There’s no doubt that we’ve gone on far too long expecting everything on the internet to be free, advertising needs to exist in order to support the existence of the sites you love visiting so much. The sooner we retrain people’s expectations, the better. 

But, display ads don’t really work anymore; overlays, push-downs and full-screen pop-outs just piss people off. Is there an argument to say that sponsored content is a better alternative? Surely an article among the rest of your content, that carries some advertorial leaning is better than endless interruptions from display ads?

Sponsored content NEEDS to be clearly labelled as such, carry the same editorial tone as the rest of the site and be just as informative, useful or entertaining as the non-spons…

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