Foreword Online

Ideas, information and industry news for collegiate retailers

Native Advertising in a College Market

Posted by Kate Seat on 5/7/14 11:00 PM
Topics: social media, college retail, Marketing to Students

Millennials have already garnered a reputation for being extremely savvy when it comes to advertising and marketing. They definitely don’t want to be hit over the head with your message -- so how do you generate interest about your store and the products you have to offer without obviously trying to do so? It’s all about tailoring content to their interests and personalizing your message.

One way to do this, without sacrificing sincerity, is native advertising. L. Jasmine Kim, CEO of MobSoc Media, explains the concept in an article originally posted on Direct Marketing News. We’ve chosen a few of her points to highlight in the excerpt below, with the full article available here.

Native Advertising Hits the Mainstream

The Holy Grail of advertising is targeting and relevance—to anticipate the user's immediate needs and interests and provide content that is native in the context of the user's experience. Perhaps the most powerful shift in online marketing toward greater targeting and relevance is the rise of native advertising.

Native advertising has gone mainstream, driven by brands looking to position their advertising in a way that is less intrusive, more integrative, and that fits more seamlessly into the user's overall experience. Instead of online banner ads that interrupt the user experience and are easily ignored as they are in the “advertising” space, native advertising enables brands to more seamlessly integrate themselves when and where consumers are viewing content.

Audiences have shifted to social media and spend more time consuming content via mobile devices than ever—which makes it imperative for brands to present ads and sponsored content in the “native format.” In that way, their advertising message can be seen within the content stream that is visible from Twitter and Facebook, and via the mobile screen.

Blurring the lines of “content” and “advertising”

With native advertising, the traditional lines between “content” and “advertising” are blurring—and while this has raised some concerns about maintaining editorial credibility, native advertising is also opening up new opportunities for creating content that serves the needs of audiences in new ways.

For example, sites like BuzzFeed have pioneered a new type of customized “viral content,” such as colorful and engaging lists of humorous or inspiring photos and animated GIFs, with minimal text commentary that incorporates advertiser content along with the publisher's content, and can be easily shared on social media. Many of these BuzzFeed articles are pieces of sponsored content that generate brand awareness and traffic for BuzzFeed's advertisers but most people who view these articles share because what they are viewing is engaging.

How does this apply to a college store? Consider your social media presence as your sponsored content, and an extremely cost-effective way to advertise. Keep it interesting, funny and, most importantly, relevant to them and you will successfully engage your audience.




About Kate Seat

Kate Seat is a former copywriter at MBS. When away from work, she’s either creating one-of-a-kind art dolls, reading or watching way too much tv with her husband, daughter and an irritable chinchilla named Klaus.

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