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article imageInfomercials, advertorials, and native advertising

By Ken Hanly     Sep 26, 2017 in Business
As well as traditional advertisements which clearly indicate they are such the advertising industry has used other formats that make it less obvious that they are promoting their products.
This article describes three different formats: infomercials, advertorials, and native advertising. The three types have similarities among them and some might even question whether advertorials are not just a type of native advertising.
The infomercial also known as paid programming is a type of television commercial. Generally it will include a no-charge telephone number or link to a website. The commercials are often long almost a half hour or hour. Infomercials began in the US where often they aired overnight from 2 in the morning to 6 taking advantage of low rates for programming that was off peak times. Some TV stations actually used them instead of signing off. However, the ads have been so successful that some infomercials run at other times as well. The infomercial industry is said to be worth over $200 billion. The term has been extended to other similar types of ads that use any type of media such as print or video and can be of any length. Many You Tube videos could be regarded as infomercials. Paul Ruffino of CineStar company is credited with coining the term infomercial. He was a pioneer in purchasing program-length commercial time.
In the US the Federal Trade Commission (FTQ) regulations require that all infomercials longer than 15 minutes must indicate that the presentation is a paid advertisement for a particular product or service both at the beginning and end of the program. The appended You Tube video shows a number of funny short infomercials.
Wikipedia describes advertorials as follows: "An advertorial is an advertisement in the form of editorial content. The term "advertorial" comes from the words "advertisement" and "editorial." Merriam-Webster dictionary dates the origin of the word to 1946. In print publications, advertorials are usually written as if they are objective articles and they look as if they are a legitimate news story rather than primarily an advertisement. In television the advertorial is similar to a shortened infomercial. Sometimes they will take the form of a discussion between an announcer and a representative of a company. When such items occur on the internet they could be considered a type of native advertising to be discussed next. The appended video shows examples of a TV advertorial:
Native Advertising
Native advertising is used typically to describe a type of advertising found frequently on the internet. The ads often, but not always, attempt to disguise the fact they are ads by matching the form of the platform upon which they appear so that it could be thought of as being produced by the editorial staff. The term "native" is meant to refer to the fact the ad coheres with other content on the platform. There are concerns about native advertising not revealing that it involves content that is paid for. In some cases content will also contain links which advertisers have paid for to be embedded in material. The appended video shows a Google representative stressing that both advertorials and native ads should make it clear that they are paid for.
A recent article argues that there are certain differences between advertorials and native advertising claiming: "Native advertising is meant to make the reader feel like they’re gaining some valuable knowledge. They’re not meant to make the reader feel as if they have to buy at the end of the article. The calls-to-action are subtle. Instead, the content is more focused on helping the reader rather than selling something." On the other hand advertorials are recognized as trying to sell something in the end. The article claims that native advertising is more low key and is designed to provide insight as much as sell articles. As a consequence, the article recommends using advertorials where an immediate sale is the primary goal and when readers are expecting a sales pitch. However, if one is interested simply in developing more awareness of a brand it is best to use native advertising since it is inconspicuous and informative.
The You Tube video below uses the term native advertising more broadly and gives an interesting description of three kinds with examples of each.
It seems that advertising is everywhere and much of it may be able to avoid being targeted by ad-blockers.
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