Sponsored content, native advertising, ads that are annoyingly similar to editorial content — whatever you want to call them, they’re coming to The Wall Street Journal. Welcome to the party.
The paper has announced that WSJ Custom Studios will create the ads labeled as “Sponsor Generated Content,” and they’ll be embedded among other editorial content. The first native ads, from Brocade, will debut tomorrow. Each ad will be created by staffers hired specifically for WSJ Custom Studios. No Journal staffer will be involved in the ads.
The move isn’t surprising. More media companies are participating in native advertising every day. The New York Times said it was getting into the game last December. The problem with the sponsored ads is that some people view them as deceptive; that they’re designed to intentionally confuse the reader. Gerard Baker, editor of the Journal, doesn’t think that will be an issue.
“Our readers trust us, and the WSJ Custom Studios team has created clear and thorough labeling guidelines around the advertiser’s content in order to protect that trust,” he explained, in a statement. “I am confident that our readers will appreciate what is sponsor-generated content and what is content from our global news staff.”