Nieman Lab | New York Times Co. | Adweek
The New York Times Co. and Hearst Magazines are among the latest publishers to introduce advertising presented as editorial content in their mobile and digital spaces.
Native advertising is advertising that resembles an article in its host publication but is actually provided by an advertiser or outside company. The Times is using native advertising provided by bike-sharing company Citi Bike in its “things-to-do” app The Scoop. Joshua Benton checks it out:
If most native advertising tries to make sponsor-provided content look a bit like a news article, this tries to make it look a bit like a regular ol’ tab in a mobile app. What’s interesting is that the “content” here is less a collection of words and pictures than a real-time data service. It’s a callback to the classic news advertising idea — we assemble the audience, you provide the content, we make a match — in a mobile, apped-up world. It’s a compelling match.
Executive Vice President for the Times’ Digital Products and Services Group Denise Warren explained how the advertising fits with The Scoop’s purpose as an app, in a press release:
“The integration of Citi Bike’s robust content complements The Scoop app’s main objective—to serve as a guide to New York City. With these new features we hope to further enhance the experience for users of The Scoop as they explore the city using their iPhone.”
However, the introduction of native advertising comes after editor-in-chief Jill Abramson voiced her concerns about confusing readers, earlier this month:
In a Q&A with Wired editor in chief Scott Dadich, Abramson expressed reservations about sponsored content. “What I worry about is…leaving confusion in readers’ minds about where the content comes from, and purposefully making advertising look like a news story,” she said. “I think that some of what is being done with native advertising does confuse a little too much.”
Meanwhile, Hearst Magazines is using native advertising across its mobile and online platforms. Hearst’s native advertising presents products as part of a magazine’s editorial content instead of as part of an app, like Citi Bike and the Times. Lucia Moses reports that “mockups of the units that Hearst is taking around to marketers provide a sense of the possibilities.”
One is a full page of Sephora beauty products that are “presented by” the beauty marketer. The products are labeled “editor’s picks.” Another ad unit aggregates short-form videos like Vines that are created by Hearst for the client or by the client itself.
Adweek reports that Time, Inc. and Conde Nast are also preparing native advertising content. Online publications like Buzzfeed and Gawker already make use of native advertising, like this Starbucks advertising on Buzzfeed.