The role of native advertising can be effectively utilised in correlation with the change in print media to digital.

Michael Zimbalist, senior vice president for advertising products and research and development at The New York Times, spoke to the 2014 INMA World Congress about native advertising in digital media. 

“The essential role of advertising has been lost,” Zimbalist said. 

In the past, advertisements told stories and entertained viewers. Now, advertising has evolved to generate demand since the introduction of digital advertisements 20 years ago on Wired.com

“Advertising is supposed to be useful,” Zimbalist said. “Advertising is here to generate demand.”

Advertising has the ability to influence culture and shape the mindset of audiences, according to Zimbalist.

“The relentless growth of digital advertising in the past 12 years has be largely due to demand fulfillment,” Zimbalist said. 

Brand advertisements have only just become part of the world of digital, according to Zimbalist. He acknowledged the importance of utilising native advertising to “discover mechanism for a brand content.” 

“This is a story,” he said. “The best brand ads tell stories”

Looking to migrate storytelling techniques from across multiple platforms to create positive consumer reactions, native advertising has spread into social media, allowing for audience interaction. 

“If you’re getting a hashtag to trend, you’re starting to move a culture,” Zimbalist said.

Because brands can distribute their commercial content on social media via native advertisements, Zimbalist emphasised the need for analytics to track the reach of native advertisement campaigns: “We are encouraging advertisers to measure their success the same way we measure the success of our own company.”

Zimbalist highlighted the need for advertisements to do more than just generate demand, but to be engaging through native advertising: “Efficiency took the poetry out of online advertising.”