Native Advertising Confuses Readers "Akeed" Proposes Best Practice

Akeed –Rasha Salameh -

Native advertising continues to be a source of confusion for readers of online Jordanian newspapers and other credible websites. The term refers to ads produced by advertisers and designed to look like an independent news story. Advertisers promote products through these ads while using the same style and form of other articles written by the editorial staff of the platform where they appear.

Some of these pop up under headings such as “you might also like”, which puzzles viewers who need to determine whether these are merely ads or objective articles.

Generally, these ads take readers to other pages or blogs that cover different topics; chiefly beauty products that take several years off a woman’s face, or suggest “unreasonable” ideas on how to make quick money.

Ads by “Google” and other Agencies

Head of sales and marketing at Al-Ghad Newspaper Ula Mari’ explains that native advertising is used in an attempt to gain credibility. The intent, she continues, is to draw readers’ attention without making them feel that they are reading a pure marketing material.

These ads, whether by Google or other agencies, target websites with the highest percentage of traffic, said Mari’. However, she noted that websites where these ads are posted have the right to delete any content in case it is not consistent with their editorial policies.

Ra’fat Al-Issa, head of the ad booking at Addustour Arabic daily, agrees explaining that that payment is based on the number of clicks that advertisers receive on their ads.

Ahmad Ghneim, who manages Al-Ghad newspaper’s website explains that ad links take viewers to external websites, noting that they are classified as ads and fall under marketing.



A change in Advertising Techniques

In her comments, digital media instructor at Jordan Media Institute Lina Ejailat explains that the “traditional methods of advertising (banner ads) are no longer appealing to the viewer nor feasible for the advertiser. That is why advertisers are now presenting them in the form of features, she added.

Ejailat, who is also the executive editor of the online magazine 7iber, admits that “there are professional and ethical problems associated with this type of advertising – which could be confusing to readers. “This can be managed in a more professional way through clearly labelling advertising material as ads given that this is a paid content,” suggests the expert.

Best Practices

AKEED has reviewed best practices adopted by The Guardian, one of the UK’s leading newspapers, posted on the link Content Funding on the Guardian. Akeed commits to and promotes the same guidelines.

On content funding, the Guardian announces on its website that it produces and presents content with funding from outside parties provided that it is in line with the newspaper’s policy and fulfils reader expectations. The newspaper explains that content funded by these parties is labelled as:


Supported by

‘Supported by’ is used to refer to editorially independent content. The newspaper said it accepts funding from third parties both for new projects and for content it is already producing. Before funding is agreed with a client, the editor-in-chief has the final say on whether a funding deal is accepted. A client whose branding appears on editorial content may have a role in suggesting what kind of topics are covered, but the commissioning editor is not obliged to accept ideas from the funder.

The content is written and edited by Guardian journalists, or those approved by Guardian News and Media (GNM) - which publishes - to the same standards expected in all of our journalism. GNM will not show copy to funders for approval.

‘Supported by’ is also used to describe editorially independent content that the Guardian has produced with funding from foundations around the world which support specific projects such as climate and the environment.

Paid content/paid for by

‘Paid content/paid for by’ is used to describe advertisement features that are paid for and controlled by the advertiser rather than the publisher. The content is subject to regulations enforced in the UK, the US, and Australia. It is produced by commercial departments and does not involve staff journalists.

‘Advertiser content’ or content ‘from our advertisers’

Similarly, this type is used to describe advertisement features that are paid for and produced by the advertiser, not the publisher. The content is also subject to regulatory requirements applicable in the UK, the US, and Australia. However, this content is only hosted by the Guardian and does not involve the newspaper’s editorial staff.

The Guardian concludes by stressing that it remains committed to its journalistic principles through objective reporting and by giving a voice to those less heard. It also confirms that it is not influenced by politicians and shareholders. The newspaper also invites readers to make contributions which it said would directly go into funding its journalism and enable it to keep working the same way they do.