Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

The New York Times Building in Midtown Manhattan.

Nightscream/The New York Times

As media companies seek out new ways to make money, is a crisis of trust brewing?

That's the question that two studies recently have partially attempted to address. Earlier this month, the firm Contently released a study arguing that the proliferation of "native advertising," also known as "sponsored content," can lead to a loss of credibility for the news sites that host it. Last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau released its own study with research firm Edelman Berland, attempting to dig deeper into the issue.

This type of advertising is important because as media move to digital devices, the rates publishers can charge for ads has plummeted. But "native" or "sponsored" content – articles, photo slideshows and the like that mimic the tone and style of the rest of the website instead of looking like ads – can command better prices. Outlets including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail have all begun publishing these types of ads. But readers may not be on board – and some may feel deceived by it.

Story continues below advertisement

The new IAB study polled 5,000 people who visit U.S. news websites. The majority did not feel that sponsored content actually enhanced the overall experience of the website: over all, just 38 per cent felt it did, or 27 per cent of general news readers (as opposed to business and entertainment, where the number was roughly 45 per cent.)

It also called the transparency of this type of advertising into question: The IAB study found that for those reading general news, just 41 per cent were able to recognize that the material they were looking at was advertising.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies