When social media marketing is occupying people’s screens…
“10 Tips for creating a brilliant native advertisement”, “9 examples of Native Ads People Actually Enjoyed Reading”… Articles like that are prevailing when you type “native advertising” in the search box. As a newly invented format of advertisement, native advertising shoulder the responsibility of attracting potential customers by seamlessly integrated into a feed which is indistinguishable from organic content. It could be an article, a tweet released by a KOL, an answer towards “What are the best brands of sunscreen?” on Zhihu (a Chinese version Q&A website of Quora) and etc.
Native advertising, although remains a controversial ad format, is flourishing across Weibo, Wechat, Zhihu and other social media platforms and content portals, as well as news websites and streaming services. Statistically speaking, it was proven more than once that native ads are the most efficient in the content streams that are commonly accessed by mobile phone users. However, it left an unanswered question: how can sponsored-content not hurt the credibility?
According to Contently’s own data, 54% of readers do not trust sponsored content, and that two-thirds have felt “deceived” upon learning that a piece of content is brand-sponsored. 59% believed that news sites lose credibility when they run content for brands.
So when all the social media is occupied by native advertisements and social media marketing, to what extent do they make sense?
In China, in the era when forum boomed, embedded ads were rare in the first place. By the time social media marketing has taken place in forums, people ran away from due to the prevailing advertisement. Web celebrities were emerging consistently at that time. In the advent of Weibo, institutions, companies and all kinds of brands created their Weibo accounts, and started social media marketing. People are again besieged by advertisements. At this time, Xiaomi and Durex became famous because of their creative content strategy and fans economy strategy. However, now in the time of Wechat, we can rarely see the popularity of a typical web celebrity or a brand, while social media marketing strategies, like native advertisement are still occupying people’s screen. Instead, people are familiar with excellent native advertisement writers, like Guye, who is a specialist in art history, and now is famous for his talent in making up fairy stories with all kinds of brands. So, is social media marketing losing its glamour?
It is common that when Beijing is shrouded by PM2.5, PRs are busy with taking advantages to promoting their brands. So do they when Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, Valentine’s Day, Chinese Valentine’s Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Mother’s Day, Children’s Day and etc. comes. They are also able to create a certain festival for promoting, like Single’s Day. Utilizing the hot issues has become a popular strategy to enhance awareness among potential customers. However, what impression do they leave indeed, good one or bad one?
Customers have been educated to recognize the format of marketing for long. They are exhausted when their following tweets, news portals, even Wechat Moment have been occupied by feeds which are integrated with marketing events. The prevailing plausible stories make them untouched and numb.
Advertisement is indispensable for both advertiser and publishers, but not for audiences. When social media is occupied with all kinds of advertisement, including the most efficient native advertising, people are becoming more and more immune to them.