As the NZ Herald and Fairfax move to extend their already considerable investment in native advertising, the advertising made to look like journalism, there is growing evidence that their disclaimers don’t work.
The disclaimers are what news executives like Tim Murphy and Shayne Currie use to justify their extension of native advertising.
While publishers are producing and running sponsored¬†content in greater numbers, one thing they haven‚Äôt figured out¬†is how to effectively label their output. Some publishers are particularly overt about it, while others are content with making readers work a little bit harder. And no one‚Äôs quite sure which approach works best.
The real challenge is that a lot of those disclosures may not be all that effective. A new study from¬†analytics platform¬†Nudge found that the most¬†common¬†native ad disclosures are actually the least effective at helping readers identify their content as ads. Sponsored content using disclosure techniques¬†like the home page buyout (used, for example, by The Wall Street Journal) and the persistent disclosure banner (used by Slate) were only identified as ads by readers 29 percent of the time.
In contrast, Nudge found that over half of the 100 people it polled were able to to identify ads that featured disclosures within the content itself. In-content disclosures are rare¬†compared to the other techniques, though.
Nudge‚Äôs¬†conclusion: Some publishers¬†may be going out of their way to label¬†sponsored content, but readers are barely noticing them, thanks to banner blindness and small labeling. Ben Young, CEO of Nudge,¬†said that this is more than publishers¬†staying honest in the eyes of the FTC. Bad disclosure can actually hurt brands, too. ‚ÄúEffective disclosures mean effective brand recall,‚ÄĚ he said.
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