What Does Native Advertising Mean For Journalists?

Separation of church and state. It may be a long standing political issue, but it’s brand new to the world of journalism. As publishers shift from paper to web, and advertising strategies shift from traditional to native ads, the question of marketing content creation rears its ugly head. Should journalists be asked to take on the burden of creating sponsored articles in order to keep their employers afloat (and their jobs secured)?

The industry has spoken and the answer is overwhelmingly: yes. A recent study by the Native Advertising Institute revealed that 68% of publishers use their editorial staff to create ads. This is directly related to that fact that 92% of publishers agree native advertising creates value for their readership. Done correctly it’s the perfect balance: publishers can sell products, earn incremental revenue, and keep their readership happy, too.

But how does this trend affect the role of a journalist? As readers, we can’t help but wonder if journalists are missing opportunities to report in favor of meeting looming advertorial deadlines. We’re left to wonder about the hidden costs of publishers turning to in-house written native advertising as a primary monetization solution.

There is another option out there, but surprisingly only 12% of publishers have opted for the alternative. These publishers have turned to outside sources, like StackCommerce, to create native content for them. Ideally, these articles are crafted specifically with their unique voice and style in mind. While this hands-off approach is appealing to some publishers, it appears that most publishers remain conflicted about moving native content creation outside of the in-house staff, or perhaps they’re simply unaware that these outsourced options exist.

In sum, it’s a challenging time to be a publisher. They are increasingly forced to compromise in order to monetize, while still finding themselves in stiff competition for every impression against an over-saturated online publisher ecosystem. As native advertising continues to evolve, we can only hope that publishers will start leveraging outsourced native content creation in order to keep their editorial staff doing what they do best: creating great content.