The BuzzFeed investment shows our industry needs to get to grips with native
A view from Paul Frampton

The BuzzFeed investment shows our industry needs to get to grips with native

The people I know in the UK media business have little time for the terms "native advertising" or "organic reach".

Native is dismissed as the new advertorial and organic is most often confined to an SEO and social context only. However, I believe the tension between these two well-established tactics is fundamental to how media will be planned and bought in the future.

The $50 million raised by BuzzFeed last week means the young business is valued at around $850 million. It also means the company has a better valuation per employee than The New York Times, which will leave many people scratching their heads. Being responsible for creating both editorial (organic) and branded (native) content clearly has a value, and more than 150 million unique users appear to have no problem with it.

Native advertising will morph and evolve as everything becomes mobile-first. We all accept that mobile dominates our lives, but adspend has yet to follow. My belief is that this is because the industry has yet to crack the native formats that fit seamlessly into this deeply personal form of media consumption.

Native should be about integrating branded messaging into an environment so it effortlessly feels part of and, more importantly, complements the user experience.

Great content that people care about will be shared adn build its own audience and reach

Progressive brands have more opportunity than ever to create inspiring and meaningful content without the need to rely purely on paid media budgets.

Great content that people care about will be shared and build its own audience and reach. But, today, there is a lot of mediocre content.

As the world matures and data and analytics are used to better inform the type of content audiences want, I believe brands will be able to reclaim organic reach. Paid amplification can then be used in effective ways to complement and top up organic exposure.

For many years to come, though, the easier – dare I say, lazier – option will be to create average content and then pay to amplify it or, indeed, outsource the entire job to someone such as BuzzFeed. The industry will increasingly have a demand for experts who know how to craft meaningful, less intrusive experiences that feel as native as possible, be they developers, designers, creative technologists or even journalists.

First base, though, is a need for the industry to realise that native advertising is already part of its marketing strategies and to be more open-minded to a growing trend that people are embracing in their millions.

Paul Frampton is the chief executive of Havas Media UK