Navigating Native Advertising in College Media

Sponsored content finding a niche in college media marketing

By Matthew Salzano
Pacific Lutheran University

Consumers of Colorado State’s Rocky Mountain Collegian recently learned how to build a bar. A Ft. Collin’s liquor store owner told a freshly 21-year-old student just what to buy — from his store! — to have a classier selection in a college home than just whatever beer was cheap that week. The landing page for the video is marked with bold text, declaring it “SPONSORED CONTENT.” Sponsored content is the long-form version of advertising content that is known as native advertising.

Native or Sponsored Advertising making an appearance in college media sites

Traditionally, ads stand out due to the difference in their form from editorial content—a quarter page ad looks different than a op-ed or reportage. With native advertising, however, the paid content looks like it natively inhabits to the platform it exists on: the liquor store video is only distinguishable from editorial video content due to that all-caps label.

The practice that was once only seen from large media outlets like Buzzfeed or the Guardian has made it to college newsrooms. Native advertising, especially creating sponsored content, poses challenges and opportunities for college newsrooms to educate and prepare students while serving clientele. Continue reading Navigating Native Advertising in College Media