3 very good reasons why you should tread carefully with native advertising.

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Some interesting tweets from the #GDNCMS Conference by the Guardian appeared this morning and there was heated debate about algorithms being better than young planners, innovation and native advertising was unsurprisingly a big part of the day’s talks. Words like authentic, hoodwinking, value and engagement were banded about and there are clearly those that are ready to merge these worlds and others that are clearly opposed to it.

Titled, “What’s the value for the publisher, advertiser and consumer? Whats the risk?” the dedicated afternoon panel (moderated by Senior Forrester Analyst, Ryan Skinner the panel, whilst small) was full of insights from Bauer Media‘s group MD Abby Carvosso and Outbrain‘s UK MD, Stephanie Himoff.

Key points to take away:

Linking content is often the weak link in the chain

Linking content to ads is not showing greatest results. Instead, you should try lead your readers to better content and conversations.

Trust is key

As Carvasso points out, there is high risk in not being transparent and publishers must be more careful than brands in this arena.

Native advertising is inherently deceptive; however being clear is counter to its purpose. Using fuzzy terms like “brand x made this happen” might not be as transparent as required (although currently perfectly legal). Work with your publishing partner to be transparent and understand what works for that area (for all parties).

Providing and not pushing content is imperative

Himoff also made a valid point watch your frequency capping and wording so as not to lose long-term viability.

Jeff Jarvis may have said it best, when he pointed out that it appears that there are brands who are racing hand-in-hand with publishers to erase the black lines around ads.

At the end of the day Native advertising must be about adding value and creating content that is made to be digested and push people to be better you are likely to see returns.

Native advertising is part of the mix (as Carvosso relayed in the session) and not the end of other channels. However, it is equally fraught with issues (and some perhaps yet unseen) as it is with opportunities — a keen eye on the future and brand perception from the publisher side would certainly not be bad advice to heed.

Tread carefully.