Content for the Social Stream Is Mostly Junk. But, Let’s Dress It Up And Call It Something Else.

With a handful of specialists on speed dial, where do brand managers turn today to fill the gaping content holes in its various social streams? According to Adweek, when it comes to “native advertising,” (a term I loathe), chances are the publisher or someone at the client is producing the content for the ad, not one of the agencies on the account.

One premium publisher whose site runs a lot of native ads estimated that more than one-third of those campaigns are done in-house or by the client and don’t involve a creative agency at all. The publisher, who didn’t want to be named because, like others, he wanted to avoid appearing to be dumping on creative shops, nevertheless said his staff can do the work at Web-speed and cheaper than a creative agency.

What work? Promoted Tweets? Sponsored Stories on Facebook? A collage on Pinterest? An infographic?

I’m not surprised that a client would look for faster and cheaper ways of producing this kind of material. So-called “creative agencies” are not built on the backs of digital collateral.

The unnamed publisher’s claim is like a printer telling a client he can produce the company’s bill stuffers more efficiently. Wonderful news for everyone!

[UPDATE] Gini Dietrich, writing in PR Daily, says, “Native advertising integrates high-quality content (what I’ll refer to as pull marketing vs. push marketing of the traditional media) into the organic experience of a given platform. This means the content is so complementary to the user’s experience on the platform, it doesn’t interrupt the flow. People are willing to comment, “like,” and share because it feels like it belongs there.”

She then points to Jay Peak in Vermont and how the mountain encourages skiers to post images to Instagram. I don’t know if this meets the “high-quality content” standard, but let’s call it “consumer generated native advertising” and make it sound bigger and better than it is.

Previously on AdPulp: If Your’e Going To Make Up Terms, Make Them Make Sense



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.