DOI: 10.1080/10496491.2017.1323264">

Understanding “native advertising” from the perspective of communication strategies

Document Type


Publication Date



Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

Publication Title

Journal of Promotion Management


Native advertising is at the intersection of strategic communication and journalism information. As a type of commercial hybrid content, its distinctiveness as a promotional method is questioned. As a vehicle for informing, it blends in with the surrounding editorial causes concern. Thus, the purpose of this study is to deconstruct “native advertising” and form a clearer understanding of this emerging and changing concept. To serve this purpose, this study conducted content analysis of communication strategies of 151 native advertisements sampled from three news websites. The findings revealed that more than half of the sample cited sources and disclosed sponsors. Congruence was largely based upon function-based associations. About one-third of the native advertisements offered how-to advice and addressed connections between the sponsor and the story. Sometimes, the sponsor was not mentioned in the stories at all. The findings suggest that native advertising exhibits certain features of sponsored content, differs from traditional advertising or advertorials, and imitates journalistic style and format. This study also recommends that strategic persuasion goals should be balanced against congruence with the style and the format of the surrounding journalism.

Link to Published Version

DOI: 10.1080/10496491.2017.1323264