Have you ever heard the term and wondered, what is Native Advertising?

Heralded as the Next Big Thing in late 2012, the words “native advertising” were on the tips of everyone’s tongues. Pity no one knew what the heck Native Advertising actually was. This isn’t unusual in the wonderful world of online marketing. Because we know that things move lightening quick, we’re here to give you the lowdown on what Native Advertising actually is, and why you should know about it.

What is Native Advertising?

Example on Yahoo: What is Native Advertising?

Example of Native Advertising on Yahoo.

This Kissmetrics article claims that Native Advertising is “basically a page of content, riddled with paid links, and often these links were being used for aggressive manipulation of search results.”

Here is a more traditional definition: Native Advertising is a form of advertising that matches up stylistically with the form and function of the platform on which it appears—a definition that’s also alluded to in the Mashable article on native advertising.

Is Native Advertising the next big thing?

Web business owners need to be aware of what’s happening in the market. And who isn’t keen to hear about new ways of reaching potential customers or audiences? As fast as technology evolves, so too, apparently, do the ways of making a buck online.

All that said, Native Advertising is just one of many unique and effective online marketing channels that can be used to increase traffic. Because of that, to me, classifying Native Advertising as the next big thing is a little bit overkill.

If not Native Advertising, what is the next big thing?

Whether you use native advertising, Google or some other ad network, sponsored content, paywalls, or some other technique, at the end of the day, you’re finding a way to make money from your content.

Whether you pay to have your content appear on someone else’s site, or your “guest post placement” costs you nothing; whether your purpose for that guest post is to reach new eyeballs, or to boost your search or social rank; at the end of the day, you’re trying to expand your brand’s reach.

While fancy words like “native advertising” and “content marketing” might (or might not) help us refer to a certain technique in conversation, the concepts they capture aren’t new…

The next big thing

…and none of them represents the Next Big Thing.

What does?

If you look at some of the brands we know are growing their traffic and turnover online, they have one thing in common.

They focus on the customer.

On the prospect.

On the audience.

On the user.

The next big thing is—*sigh*—the same old thing: solving customers’ problems with a strong brand.

On the plus side, those problems are always changing, and technology is constantly enabling businesses to solve them in new ways.

Did I do a good job of answering the question, What is Native Advertising? I’d love to know what you think in the comments below.