Can You Spot the Ad: Yahoo!

February 5th, 2015

The goal of native advertising, aka branded and sponsored content, is to blend into editorial content. But native advertising that takes on the appearance of news without properly disclosing that it is, in fact, a paid advertisement can border on deception.

And as more media organizations jump on the native advertising bandwagon, it doesn’t help consumers that there’s no one universal way in which native ads are being presented. Different media organizations present native advertising in different ways.

Which brings us to a new feature called, Can You Spot the Ad? First up: Yahoo! You tell us: Which one of these five offerings under Yahoo’s “all stories” category shown below is not really a news story?

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 11.26.27 AM

Can you spot it? Hint: It’s got the largest and most eye-catching photo of the bunch, which, unfortunately, is in line with most of the native advertising interspersed among the real news shared on Yahoo. The answer in three…two…one…

Yahoo! News native ad marked up

OK, so that was a pretty big hint. But if we didn’t tell you that the native ad had the largest photo, would you have been able to spot it? The only two features that identify the “story” as a native ad is the small, faded “Sponsored” label below the story’s headline and an AdChoices symbol in the top-right corner of the photo.

Click on the AdChoices symbol and you’ll get information on why this particular ad for BeenVerified, a public records search service, was served to you but nothing on why it was presented among news items the way it was.

Click here for more of our coverage on native advertising.

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Advertorials, or paid sponsored content, that may or may not be properly labeled as such.

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