Monday, December 2, 2013

When Ads Are Really Content

Today's Wall Street Journal has a terrific article that looks at the rise of sponsored content.  Some websites clearly differentiate what is true editorial and what is a sponsored advertisement; others, have found the art of the "blurred line" between the two.  But given the success of branded content over traditional display advertising, the trend is moving more to content advertising.  In fact, "Spending on sponsored content is expected to grow 24% to $1.9 billion this year, a faster growth rate than for most other forms of digital marketing."  It is not necessarily a new way of advertising, but it is seen as potentially deceptive when the consumer cannot differentiate between ad and content. 

The success of sponsored or native ads means that it will not be going away anytime soon.  Whether it leads to some type of regulation remains to be seen.  The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) has already formed a task force, according to the article, "to create their own standards."  Self regulation certainly beats federal regulation. 

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