Does it matter if 'native advertising' is new or not?

The definition and usefulness of 'native advertising' is still unclear, according to many marketers. In its coverage of last week's Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Annual Leadership Meeting, Adweek reports that industry insiders are divided over this latest industry buzzword. "Native, advertorial, it's all the same," was the reaction of many conference attendees, with some arguing that search advertising, which has been around for 15 years, was the first form of this 'new' marketing. Adweek posits that "the confusion surrounding native ads seemed to stem from an overall lack of familiarity with the social web," and that its usefulness to large brand marketers is an issue of scalability.

Marketers can haggle over the definition all they want. The main thing companies should be concerned about is getting their message to consumers in a way that catches their attention and creates positive feelings towards the brand. Native advertising is great for this, as it represents the place where paid advertising meets content marketing. It includes familiar tactics such as search marketing and advertorials, as well as new mediums such as promoted tweets and sponsored placements on Facebook. The key is to produce marketing content that is useful to the consumer and that integrates with the user experience as seamlessly as possible. Brands that do a good job of this will endear themselves to consumers and expand the reach of their promotional messaging, regardless of what marketers decide to call it.

Read more about the debate on Adweek.com.