IAB Goes Native
“Native advertising” is one of the most confounding phrases to captivate mind-share in the digital marketing arena. We all know that marketers are excited about it, but the ecosystem has yet to come up with a concrete definition of this buzzworthy approach to interactive advertising.
The confusion has reached a fever pitch, with Rob Macdonald, Vice President of Business Development at m6d finally writing down the words that so many have wanted to say…
“Please Obi-Wan Rothenberg, you’re our only hope!”
Rob really did include that line in a comment he wrote on a recent Digiday piece - but in all seriousness, the sentiment is in keeping with a widespread outcry from our members.
Native advertising is gaining in popularity, but stakeholders need to coalesce around definitions and best practices, if we’re going to be able to drive the native movement to scale. The confusion and chaos must be eradicated, and the first step in IAB forging a path in this direction is the development of a new IAB Native Advertising Task Force.
The group had its first meeting earlier this week and a number of key concerns were immediately raised:
• How do we distinguish between native web advertising and its mobile brethren?
• Is native allowed to be disruptive?
• How can we clearly delineate between native ad content and pure editorial?
• How do we define measurement and metrics surrounding native?
• Where do ad creatives fit into the native mix?
Even with disparate voices in the room - many of them in senior leadership roles - common goals quickly began to take shape.
First and foremost, the task force will aim to establish a framework for the native advertising space by putting forth a prospectus that clearly lays out today’s “native” landscape. This prospectus, targeted to advertisers, publishers, and ad tech providers, will need to be clear enough that the industry has a guiding light and broad enough that it can expand over time—while also providing a basis for further IAB initiatives in this space.
And, speaking of further efforts in the space, IAB has also kicked off a new Content Marketing Task Force, which may—or may not—be seen as an umbrella for or a cousin to the Native Advertising group.
So, light sabers aside, IAB is jumping into the fray. Debate, consensus and more debate are surely to follow, but we plan to be at the center of the conversation, providing a clear road ahead for these two vital advertising concepts to evolve into strong players in the digital marketing arena.
About the Author
Susan Borst is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the IAB focusing on Social Media, B2B, Games, Content Marketing and Native Advertising. She can be reached on Twitter @susanborst.