If Your’e Going To Make Up Terms, Make Them Make Sense

“Native advertising refers to a specific mode of monetization that aims to augment user experience by providing value through relevant content delivered in-stream.”

That’s how Solve Media describes the latest buzz word to emerge unchecked from the depths of the marketers’ group mind.

Solve Media Infographic

Of course, there is a full menu of definitions to choose from. But none of them make sense to me. Not even this one from Friend of AdPulp and leader of Deep Focus, Ian Schaefer:

Advertising that takes advantage of a platform in the ways consumers are actually using it.

Advertising is not native. Hence, the phrase “Native Advertising” is a contradiction in terms.

Is it a better choice of words than “Content Marketing” or “Brand Storytelling”? No. It’s not. But quality has never really been Adlandia’s thing, has it?

Previously on AdPulp: “Native Advertising” Is Advertising That Fits The Media Vessel Better? #IDK

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I laugh at all this buzzword bingo. Why? Because it’s the same crap in a different wrapper. In fact, I contributed to this buzzword bingo in 2002 when I launched the “AdverPost” ad unit on Adrants. Know what it is? Yea, it’s native advertising…which is content marketing…which is advertorial which is…and let’s cut through the crap…paid editorial.

  2. My definition of “native advertising” was actually meant to discount “advertorial”. It’s advertising that lives within the context of a platform (think: facebook, twitter, tumblr, youtube) — NOT publishers (The Atlantic), and the ways that people actually use that platform. Brand content in the facebook newsfeed? Native. Display ad on the right side of the page? Not. Promoted tweet? Native. Mobile display ad over your feed? Not.

    Hope that makes it clear and buzzword-free. I think there is actually a technical definition that “native advertising” fits. Everyone just tries to use it to describe everything, dumbing it — and themselves — down in the process.