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Native advertising and contents – the key to happiness?

Two new terms have emerged next to earned, owned and paid media: rented media and snowball media.

I wrote earlier about content marketing and channel management. I promised to continue on the same topic but from the native advertising angle. What is good native advertising made of? Is it the key to happiness or just a passing fad?


Two new terms have emerged next to earned, owned and paid media. Both contain native activity.

Let’s call the first one rented media: we provide pairs of eyes for our customer’s good contents through the means of native advertising.

The second one could be called snowball media. It is activity that makes the customer’s good contents grow inside the target group via native advertising. As references have become all the more important in the purchase funnel, the role of this snowball media is also bigger in order for us to breathe life into the customer’s contents and help it take wing. 

Advertising with customer at the core

Why not repeat the basic principles of native advertising.

Firstly, native advertising is always advertising, not intended to bamboozle the consumer into the publisher’s contents. It is advertising designed for a certain medium to provide the same organic experience to the consumer as the contents of the medium itself. The Council for Mass Media in Finland updated its guidelines in 2015, and native advertising is unambiguously demarcated as advertising in media environment. 

The following principles are about the actual making of the ad: Number one: customer. Number two: contents. Number three: context.

In traditional advertising, the target group is considered, of course, but usually the point of the message is the product. “Ensure that your product will be introduced no later than at the third second of your TV spot. Capture the viewer’s attention.” This instruction I have unfortunately heard myself, too, behind the concepts.

In native advertising, the number one in ad design is the person and his or her interests: entertainment and recreation, emotions and narratives as well as useful information. Not necessary the publisher’s brand but the contents that the brand can offer. A native advert competes for the consumer’s attention with other media contents. But once it has captured their attention and the content is relevant for the consumer and arouses their interest, native advertising introduces an entirely new power range into marketing. 

When the target group has been defined and we know what sort of contents these people otherwise want to consume in the media environment, the context steps in. Designing native advertising for a business newspaper or a tabloid’s fashion pages are two completely different things. The situation and mode of the use of the media have to be taken into account.

Another element of successful native advertising is patience. It’s best to avoid one-shot ads but to take time to analyse, learn and measure.

And how do you measure native advertising? Traditional indicators should be tossed aside, and instead of click-through rates, we should measure the time spent with the content.

Which is a topic for another story. I’ll be back with the spring and the sun. 


Minna Mäkinen

Marketing Director, Iltalehti, Alma Media

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Date: 16 February 2016
Theme: Brainprint
Text: Minna Mäkinen