Over 70% of online publishers use Native Advertising

Native Advertising is everywhere.

“Native advertising” was one of the leading buzzwords in the tech space in 2012. It keeps making waves in 2013 as publishers see an actual benefit of using native advertising to monetize their audiences.

On July 10, 2013, eMarketer released a study where 73% of online publishers claim to use native advertising to monetize their audiences. Only 10% of the publishers stated they did not use native advertising and were not planning to use native advertising in the near future.

73% of publishers use native advertising

73% of publishers use native advertising

For consumers, this means that more likely than not you have seen a native advertisement without even knowing it. For advertisers, this means that now there are publishers across a multitude of verticals where the right audience can be reached. For agencies, it is important to be able to define native advertising for clients.

What is the definition of Native Advertising? 

One of the main problems with Native Advertising is that there is a lot of noise on what Native Advertising actually is. When the banner ad was rolled out, it was easy to explain – it’s an ad unit that fits within this 300 x 250 space. With native advertising, it seems as though there is a very broad description.

Facebook sponsored stories as In Stream Ads are regarded as native ad units:

native advertising on Facebook

In Stream Ads on Facebook

Twitter’s promoted tweets are also native ads:

promoted tweets

Promoted Tweets on Twitter

The Atlantic’s In Stream Ads have also been categorized as native ads:

The Atlantic has In Stream Ads

Native ads on The Atlantic

eMarketer asked US publishers to define Native advertising. There was a multitude of options:

  1. Integration into the design of the publisher’s site and lives on the same domain
  2. Content either provided by, produced in conjunction with or created on behalf of our advertisers that runs within the editorial stream
  3. Clear delineation and labeling as advertising content
  4. Editorial value to the reader and conforms to the reader’s expectations
  5. Contextually relevant, nonstandard advertising units
  6. Content marketing such as sponsored games, infographics, sites, etc.
  7. Highly automated advertising content such as sponsored stories, publisher tweets, etc.

93% of US Publishers surveyed agreed that #1 – Integration into the design of the publisher’s site and lives on the same domain . On the lower end, only 54% of US publishers believed sponsored stories and publisher tweets to be truly “native advertising” ad formats. Below are the numbers on the survey:

How do US Publisher's define "Native Advertising"?

How do US Publisher’s define “Native Advertising”?

It seems as though what we can agree to disagree on is a clear and concise definition of native advertising. At VIRURL we believe that whichever way you define “native advertising” the focus must be on the user experience.

On July 3, 2013 Forbes ran an article by Lori Kozlowski on the Future of Content: How to Improve Ads on the Web and quoted Lee Fentress, VIRURL’s Chief Revenue Officer, saying “I think our new tagline will be Engage, Inform, Entertain”. At VIRURL, we believe there is a huge opportunity in providing a positive experience through the relevancy and entertainment of sponsored content. It is about finding the right piece of sponsored content for the right user at the right time. No easy task but we believe with the right team, the right technology this will be The Next Big Thing. Fun fact: Did you know Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of TV and Broadcasting) selected Virurl as The Next Big Thing in November 2012.

It is clear that display banner ad spending is not going anywhere. Agencies and brands at local and national levels are projected to increase display spending year over year. However, it is still interesting to see a relatively “new” ad format gain so much buzz and traction in a short time period. eMarketer with data from BIA/Kelsey recently estimated that by 2017, the native advertising market will grow to $4.57 billion. That is more than the $3 billion spent in display ads in 2012.

Display ads versus banner ads

Display ads versus banner ads

One thing is for certain, native advertising is not going anywhere. From the looks of it online marketers are adding native advertising to their multi-channel strategies as they have recently adapted to adding social advertising spends, banner ad spends or even search ppc in the past.

Native advertising is present when you’re drinking your morning coffee and reading your favorite online newspaper. Native advertising is in front of you when you seek your local mid-day news report. Native advertising is everywhere. Regardless of whether people can agree on a definition of native advertising – one thing is for certain – the need for high quality branded content is on the rise as is the need for a native advertising technology to find the right audience.

At VIRURL we’re excited about this massive opportunity. If you’re interested in joining our team or have any questions on native advertising please use the contact form below

Virurl launches In Stream Ads

We recently announced the launch of VIRURL‘s latest product – In Stream Ads. These ad units allow publishers of all sizes to earn revenue from posting relevant sponsored content directly to their blogs. The result is an “ad unit” that is contextual and unobtrusive to the audience, while looking beautiful on all devices.




Content publishers using VIRURL’s technology receive an email once a relevant sponsored post matches their blog’s audience. The publisher controls what is pushed through and advertised on their blog based on content, budget and cost per click.

How to try In Stream Ads: 

  1. Sign up to VIRURL
  2. Submit your WordPress or Tumblr’s details
  3. Wait for VIRURL admin to approve your blog
  4. Click on Post to Blog when you receive an email from us that you would like to earn revenue from!

virurl instream


Get paid every two weeks via Pay Pal. It’s that easy.

Read more about VIRURL in the press:

VIRURL launches RSS Ads on Techcrunch

The $20 Ad Campaign on Businessweek

VIRURL: Sponsored Content on Marketing Tech Blog

Going Viral: A Startup Monetizing Content for Publishers

Marketplace for Good Content on Technorati

Spotlight on VIRURL on All Voices

Virurl Analysis

Lessons in going viral from our Top 5 Videos this week!

Stay current!

The Newsroom: The Tea Party is the American Taliban 

What’s this video got going for it?

  • Politics. There are few things that inspire people to such intense emotion as politics. And what do people want to do when they get inspired? Share it!
  • Relevance. This video was posted at the start of the GOP Convention in an election year. You can bet people have politics and voting on the brain!
  • A loyal audience base. The show has been hugely successful on HBO. —But how frustrating is it when your friends aren’t watching that show that you loove and you just want to TALK about it with them! You must get them to watch it!! — Enter YouTube.
  • Safety in fiction. The nice thing about this is: you can say all that mildly offensive but painfully honest stuff you’ve been suppressing all this time and–get this–no one can say anything because it’s fiction.  The viral success of this video shows: Everybody was thinking it–The Newsroom just said it.

Go ahead–Play with our emotions!

Kobe Bryant V. Michael Jordan 

  • Social Icons.  There are few sports stars that have reached the level of fame that Kobe and Michael have. We love them. Put them in a video together? I WILL WATCH THAT!
  • The drama.  Pitting our two beloved heroes against each other to dual it out via archival video clips? It’s almost too much!
  • The MUSIC! Remember: Human beings are sentimental creatures. Put this to some intense instrumental music–now it’s too much! Aaaand I’m sharing it.

Be iconic!

Terry Crews Old Spice Muscle Music

  • Terry Crews. (Enough said.)
  • Novelty. Like the Bike Hero video from our previous post, this video has a genuinely novel idea! Have you ever seen someone play a musical instrument with their pecs? Me neither. But you’d like to see it!
  • It’s interactive. Any time you can involve your audience, do it. Make it fun!

Don’t be afraid to be trendy!

Be Water My Friend: Bruce Lee Remix 

  • Auto-Tune. From Mister Rogers to Barack Obama, everybody’s getting auto-tuned these days. There’s no shame in jumping on the band wagon-probably just a lot of views instead.
  • Vintage Bruce Lee. Don’t forget what we said about being sentimental. Take advantage of the things and people that viewers love to love!

And if all else fails–just be friggin’ adorable!

11 Month Old Twins Dancing to Daddy’s Guitar

Because after all, who doesn’t love 45 seconds of sheer, unadulterated joy to brighten their day?

The Positives to Content Walls

As discussed earlier content walls have a way of popping up at the most inconvenient times.  Like when you are almost finished reading an intriguing article and a content wall comes up asking for your email address and date of birth.  Or worse yet when you are at the most thrilling part of a movie and a content wall  pops up saying pay this amount to continue watching.   You sigh a breath of annoyance and surrender, filling in the information. Content walls come in other forms as well, for example tweet or like our Facebook page to continue or take this survey.

Content walls might be bothersome to users, but looking at them from a positive approach they do retrieve valuable information for content creators.

Why a Content Wall?

There are risks in using content walls as discussed in one of our early blogs, but there are also positives to employing one.

First is monetization.     In the example above, the timing of when a content wall pops up is pertinent in convincing people to pay to keep consuming the content.    It is more difficult for people to deny entering their credit card info when they are three quarters into a film and anxious to see the end .  This also brings up the fact that the content being offered has to be meaty and valuable in order to increase the likelihood of people complying with the content wall’s request.

Second, they help to accurately target consumers.  By asking them to take a survey the company becomes aware of their user’s likes and dislikes.  Knowing this information allows the company to more effectively market to their users.  In other words, decreasing the chance of being deleted and increasing the likelihood of grabbing their attention with content.  Asking consumers for their email address helps the company to build a relationship and be able to contact them.

Third is building a community.  Asking to tweet something specific or “like” the company’s facebook page results in building a community , awareness, as well as attaining contact information.  The company gets publicity when someone tweets about them. The company gains exposure when someone views and “likes” their Facebook page.  Lastly, it easy to see who is talking about you.  When someone tweets about you or likes your page it is easy to see their name, follow or even contact them in the future.

The use of a content gate may defer some users, but the benefit of the information received may outweigh the loss of some.   These three reasons may alter your feelings about using a content wall for content.

Are there any other benefits to using a content wall that we missed??? Feel free to leave a comment. 

3 Content Marketing Lessons from Justin Bieber

His 44 million Facebook page likes prove that Justin Bieber has infected his fans with the Bieber Fever and there is no cure in sight.  This young man was discovered on YouTube where he posted his content (home music videos).  Now he’s on Forbes’s list of 100 most powerful celebrities.

Video Components

Justin Bieber knew how to best get his content out there and noticed.  It was YouTube videos.  His current manager Scooter Braun discovered him on the site and the rest is history.  Video’s are great components for companies.  A video that describes how a company works or their mission statement is sometimes easier or more entertaining for users compared to written paragraphs.  Virurl did this when explaining how the site works in a video titled “Earn Money”, among other videos.

It’s all about finding the right Niche 

In 1996 Disney evaluated the radio landscape and realized that there were zero radio stations catering content to younger kids (tweens to be exact).  This is what inspired them to create “Radio Disney” and capitalize on the ignored niche.  This is where Justin Bieber came in.  He positioned himself look and lyric wise to best fit the “Radio Disney” station profile. His music found its perfect niche and since then has thrived.  Looking for an untapped niche is a smart tactic to allow for creativity and to cut down on competition.  As Mary Meeker points out everything slowly, but surely is moving to mobile.  Investing the time in creating content for mobile devices users could be a less slightly less competitive niche to focus on.

Setting the Mood

Justin Bieber knows how to set the mood not just by his catchy songs, but also by his writing style.  He makes sure to always be positive when making a statement.  He’s currently touring the world and probably completely exhausted, but maintains  optimistism.  For example, “Great time in Germany. Can’t wait to see you all again on the #believetour next year”.   This tweet received many responses, including the German supermodel Heidi Klum.  Even when you are having a rough day projecting positive updates is always more compelling than complaining. This doesn’t mean being dishonest, it just means putting a twist on things. 

Gene Simmons offers 3 Content Marketing Lessons

Gene Simmons, the man with the painted black and white face and the abnormally long tongue, has become a professional at content marketing.  By treating his band KISS more like a business than a band, he has come to understand what strategies work best in order to obtain a dedicated fan base. With his leadership, the legendary band KISS has sold 100 million records worldwide.  His latest undertaking is a reality show about his life titled “Gene Simmons Family Jewels”, which has been picked up for an eighth season.

1.  Pleasure to meet you 

Simmons stresses that knowing who your target audience is tremendously important.  Being unaware and distant with them is like talking to a wall.  Finding out who they are and what they are all about allows you to present them with relevant information grabbing their attention.  Before writing a tweet he takes the time to surf the web and see what’s being talked about. He searches for hot topics and issues being discussed.   This  helps him decide what to write about.  He might offer his input on these hot topics or offer resolutions to the problems.   Simmons is constantly responding to tweets hourly. A glimpse at his twitter will tell you that the recent   “hot topic” is his family.  Even though that might not be the easiest conversation he still responds to his devote fans.  On his Facebook page, he poses questions like “What was your favorite moment from this week’s episode?”  He is not afraid to get personal with his fans. Do you know the demographic of your user base?  If you do embrace whoever they are; age, gender, hobby, or occupation.  It may take some research or some question asking to get to know them better.

2. Catering to the Inner circle, but not ignoring the Outer

When Simmons is on stage singing “Rock ‘n Roll all Nite” he knows that the audience members in the front row own all of his records.  Those are the people he produces a lot of his content for. Although, he does keep a balance by creating content that pushes the boundaries to reach the outer circle of less dedicated fans and potential ones.  This allows for possible conversion.  When you have identified your target audience then figure out who is missing from the equation and see if there is a way your company could appeal to them.

3. “Nothing appeals to Everbody

Gene Simmon and the rest of the band of KISS understand that not everyone is going to enjoy  distinct costumes, painted faces, lyrics, and singing. Instead of wasting time on trying to change this they focus on maintaining their fan base by listening to them and playing to their requests.  Critics are inevitable, they are what make life challenging or least interesting.   Don’t take it personally when someone finds no interest at all in what you have to offer and posts it.   The next person will and won’t be shy about communicating it to the cyber world!

3 Content Marketing Lessons from President Barack Obama

President Obama a man who was defined by one word, CHANGE didn’t find himself in office without the aid of content marketing. 

President Obama and his marketing team prevailed the 2008 elections and continue to embrace content marketing as the next election quickly approaches.  They aren’t afraid to think outside the box or even poke fun if it means they get to Barack the vote.

1. Opportunities Galore

President Obama was giving a speech at a fundraiser and right before he went on stage found out  Al Green was in the audience. So what did he do? In his introduction he gave a shout out to Al Green and sang a bit of his song “Let’s Stay Together”.   Even before he began talking about his topic his likability was off the charts.   Allowing him an engaged and satisfied audience.   It is important to take advantage of any opportunity even if it is unexpected. Every day they are thrown at you, you just have to pay attention. How well you handle it defines the strength and knowledge of your company.  Sometimes it is okay to take yourself a little less seriously.

2. You could be invited to….

George Clooney, the President’s very good friend threw a fundraising dinner at his house in May for him.  The invitees consisted of Hollywood people, but also the few who won the raffle conducted by Obama’s marketing team.   A stunning $15 million dollars was raised, but not all in one night.  The Hollywood high rollers paid $40,000 a seat raising $6 million.  While the rest of profit came from the people donating to be entered to win dinner with the captivating President of the United States, who sings Al Green songs. By attracting people by creating once in a lifetime experiences promotes competition and drives  awareness and enthusiasm about your company.

3. Time to do some face to face  

President Obama is no stranger to commencement speeches.  His last one at Barnard (an all girls school) was the perfect place to discuss one of his main components to his campaign, the GOP’s “War on Women”. With the youth of the nation and tons of media in the audience he could not have had a better crowd ensuring his message to go viral.  Not sure if you are booked for a commencement speech, but there are many other public events that you can speak at.  If there is a upcoming conference in your field, why not sign up for a speaking spot?

4 Lessons we can learn about Content Marketing from Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian: The Queen of Branding teaches us something about Marketing

Whether you agree with her lifestyle or not, you most likely know who Kim Kardashian is and what she is all about….herself.

Kim is a superstar at branding herself and she does so through closely calculated content marketing strategies.

1. Don’t be M.I.A 

This is a woman who reportedly received $25,000 for tweeting one tweet about the brand Armani. Kim is valued for her consistency in terms of staying in conversations and being active in so many different ones.  With 14 million and counting Twitter followers she has to keep them entertained almost on an hourly basis.  She has a frequent and vibrant presence in everything, from Twitter to TV.  This is why hundreds of brands are begging for her endorsement.  Make tweeting and posting a daily routine and it will pay off.

2. Be Creative

Kim is far from shy about posting pictures of herself.  You know what that is okay because she fully grasps what it is she is branding and thoroughly embraces it. Along with her pictures she unfailingly has text that compliments her personality or the product she is endorsing.  Images and graphics are great components to a Facebook post or Tweet.  A visual catches a person’s attention who is in a hurry and doesn’t have time to read.  Often times an engaging picture is what is needed to provoke the viewer to follow through and read your content.  You have been told time and time again “Just be yourself” and it is true. If you regularly speak loudly use exclamation points in your writing.  If you talk using big adjectives, write with big adjectives.  This creates a personal tone, giving the reader a sense of who you are and what you are marketing.  There are so many other people out there competing for the same attention as you. Stand out by being different.  

3.Incentivize Me

Being boring on the internet is a sure way to lose consumers and potential consumers.  Kim and the companies she endorses eliminate this issue by implementing marketing campaigns like sweepstakes and contests to promote the product.  Her latest one is for Midori. It is a “If you help me, I’ll help you” mentality.  People are asked to  do something all day at work why not them get them excited about your product or content by getting them excited with incentives.  Virurl also does it by provoking people to share content for cash incentives.

4. Mix it Up

Kim doesn’t always post identical content on all of her platforms.  She mixes it up.  She reserves Twitter for responding to followers who mention her. Her Facebook and Twitter somewhat overlap.  She also uses Facebook to help promote her freshly published blog posts.  It is worth noting, her Twitter and Facebook profile photos are the same.  Having a solid profile photo helps build a brand because it gives viewers a reinforcement of who is marketing across different platforms.  Her blog is updated on the daily and she is very interactive with the people commenting on her posts.  She also has various videos on her blog supporting her diversified branding endeavors.     Deciding on what content to repost can be difficult, but just remember to utilize the social media platforms for its valued capability.  For instance, Twitter only allows 140 characters, while Facebook allows many more.  Maybe a shout out to a consumer is better on Twitter, while a link with a thoughtful message is more appropriate for Facebook.