Native Advertising Should Be An Unexpected Surprise

When we talk about native advertising, the sponsored post is the thing comes up to my mind first. Maybe it is only my personality, but I have to say I hate them. Sponsored post is the most annoying thing happens in my Internet-using experience. Every time when you are trying to keep track of your friends’ life or some real-time news, they show up and  interrupt your reading. The problem is not only because those promotional posts cannot arouse your interest, but also these fake identities they created are destroying the sense of immersion within social media. Just like when you are listening to your friends conversations happily in a party, then you suddenly find one of them is a weird robot. Social media is trying to make the experience of our online social-networking as good as the real life, or even better. But most of sponsored post just contribute to the opposite way.

From my own perspective, sponsored post is not a wise way of advertising within social media, since it goes against the logic of it. Social media based on the connection and relationship between specific identities, you need to confirm it before you add another account, which means you know this identity will appear in your information flow later even though you don’t care too much about it. There will never be a real stranger speaks in your homepage because you made a choice. You decided who can talk to you. However, the sponsored post interrupts this connection, just like a wired strange guy bursts into your lovely party and shouts on you. No one will welcome a guest uninvited unless you come with the manner and pleasant surprise. As a brand, sponsored post is absolutely not the channel to promote products, but the channel to build relationships. Trying hard to mention your product is a stupid move, especially when your appearance is so rude. The advantage of a sponsored post for marketers and advertisers is it comes irregularly, which means an unexpected stimulation. So clever jokes, eye-opening covers or inspiring information can be good content to be delivered. The aim is to transform the unexpected disturbance into the later expected surprise. When users have no idea about when and what to see in your next appearance but just eagerly look forward to seeing it again, that will be a true success.

Talking about clever native advertising, It reminds me of the Release Notes of an app called medium. Most of the people consider the release notes as a boring work must be finished before an update. However, instead of posting monotonous bug-fixed notes that nobody cares, this team used their sense of humor and creativity to make a really good use of this special platform to communicate with their users. For example, they shared a series of simple story of an employee called Peter:

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Actually nobody cares if this poor “Peter” was a real employee, but when this note released, the screenshot of this message went viral on the Internet. They also used this platform to hold a little interesting event:

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I think this is a good example of native advertising, sing creativity to engage the target audience, but not only use a format of the native environment for hard selling. It should be like easter eggs, containing surprise and waiting for people to discover.

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