Is Native Advertising Blurring the Line Between Content and Advertising?

On March 26, Paul Adams (@Padday), global head of brand design at Facebook, sent out this tweet:

This post triggered a controversial discussion on Twitter over whether all content is advertising or all advertising is content and vice versa. Here is the conversation:

We can understand how the implementation of native advertising, ads that runs in-stream with editorial content, can blur the line between content and advertising. After all, nobody can agree on the definition of native advertising industrywide.

We know that all content is not advertising. However, all advertising is content. The FTC recently updated its “Dot Com Disclosures” to state that all online ads, even ones in tweets, much be marked as such in the content of the ad.

Digiday recently asked a slew of publishers what they think the definition of native advertising is. Here are their responses:

Ryan Manion, CTO, Politico
It’s still being defined. You want to provide the advertiser with the best experience you can and also provide the best experience for the users who want to view those advertisements.

Will Pearson, president, Mental Floss
Native advertising is about taking what the advertiser is wanting to communicate and integrating it with what our users are expecting.

Matt Sanchez, CEO, Say Media
Native advertising is anything that takes on the form of the medium.

Tom Cochran, CTO, Atlantic Media
It’s similar to TV or movies. It’s a way to promote the content of our advertisers in a way that’s more ingrained way that’s built into the design of our properties.

Carolyn Bekkedahl, svp of digital media revenue, Meredith
Advertising that stems from a brand that is more than just one piece of creative. It can be video or text that robustly describes whet a product or service an advertiser has.

Mary Mucko, president of digital sales, Gannett
When we’re able to take advantage of the platform the advertiser’s on.

As we have previously mentioned, our perspective is that native advertising is Responsive Advertising plus scale.

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