I’ll admit it. I have a bee in my bonnet about native advertising. At least, the type of native advertising that isn’t well labelled as such, or that doesn’t fit into the overall editorial of the media that surrounds it.

 

Getting it right is really hard. Just ask The Atlantic about their infamous and now deleted (although nothing ever dies on the internet) Scientology advertorial spread, that clearly didn’t fit into the overall tone of a magazine aimed at a target audience of (according to their mission statement) “serious national readers and thought leaders”. The obvious puff piece created negative PR for the ‘religion’ of Scientology, let down the readers who expected better of the magazine and in the process demeaned the reputation of the publication that hosted it. At least The Atlantic didn’t shy away from a healthy bout of self-examination in the aftermath – and the incident now serves as notice to any print/online publication that is looking to use more and more native advertising in the years ahead. That is, all print/online publications.

 

We are always on the look out for more nuance in advertising. If you had to isolate one problem with native as it currently stands, it would be that it often lacks the nuance with which we should treat intelligent, discerning consumers, who are wary of being sold inappropriate products at inappropriate moments.

 

Which is why inPowered sounds like such a great idea. It goes some way to providing an alternative solution to both poorly fitted native advertising and badly executed corporate clickbait. The idea is that they take content that has been created, outside of the sphere of commercial input (genuine editorial) and then retrofit it with brands that genuinely fit the bill and who would like their name next to it.

 

inPowered uses technology that identifies existing content as it relates to any brand, product or topic and rates the experts who created the content. Experts are ranked on how consistently they write on a particular topic and how often the content is shared.

 

Brands approach inPowered and are matched with the expert in their area of interest. That content is then connected to the brand with programmatically placed ads which appear across media space online.

 

Further, inPowered adverts are paid for on a read (15 seconds spent on page) or share basis, which in effect sidesteps the vast majority of (never read, never shared) clickbait or regurgitated press release articles.

 

It is just a neat premise. A way of sensitively outsourcing your content creation and online advertising. No surprise that it has already claimed some huge clients (including Disney, Microsoft and Samsung).

 

If native advertising wants a positive reputation, it is going to be through methods that treat the media space, consumer and advertiser with respect. The right brand, the right place and at the right time.