Mashable Goes Native

Mashable jumped into the native advertising fray this past week at SXSW when founder Pete Cashmore unveiled the company’s newest ad unit, Social Lift. In a manner similar to other native ad platforms across the web, Social Lift allows brands to embed social updates on the Mashable homepage that appear as though they could be Mashable posts.

Cashmore on the decision:

“We’re doing this because we see brands are already creating a lot of compelling content that they want to share on social networks, and if a brand can create things people find truly engaging on social, that’s an opportunity for us to be involved and relevant to our audience.”

Why I’m Curious?

Mashable’s adoption of native ad units is certainly a win for advocates of the method, but, more important than the adoption itself, will be how well they work with brands to execute the ads themselves.

As more and more publishers come to adopt native ads, it’ll be important to keep tabs on their effect on user experience…As the unit grows beyond the Mashables and the BuzzFeeds of the world, will the potential negative perceptual implications outweigh the positive gains in advertising revenue? In other words, will the feeling the reader gets that he’s been “duped” into clicking on a native ad cause him to read the publication less?

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