Simply put, an advertorial is a fancy advertisement. Meaning, it gets all done up, draping itself in magazine clothing, throwing on some makeup in the way of “tips,” or a nice tutorial or recipe, and then slyly inserting itself into the publication in question, just waiting to for readers to ogle in its magnificence.
So while the word itself is a combination of “advertisement” and “editorial,” advertorial is more of an advertisement in its function, and editorial in what it is disguised to be.
As a piece of sponsored content, advertorials are paid for by a company to advertise a particular product or service in a magazine or newspaper, and even online. More specifically, it’s “native” advertising because it’s designed to blend in to the overall look and feel of the source in which it is placed. An advertorial is much different than an editorial, even though the words resemble each other.
Advertorial Format & Elements
As mentioned, an advertorial is designed in a way to resemble other articles found in the publication in which it is placed. Meaning, if it’s a men’s health magazine, a food brand can create and place an advertorial on healthy recipes featuring it’s product. Or, if a women’s fashion magazine, a clothing brand might give tips on what’s hot and what’s not this coming season, by prominently featuring its clothing items as “must haves.”
Really, any article you’re used to reading in a particular publication can be reimagined as an advertorial. The only difference is, it will be reworked to focus on the brand doing the advertising, as opposed to the handful of brands you’re used to reading about. It’s not to say the content isn’t valuable, but you just have to remember you’re reading a subjective advertisement rather than an objective collection of content from a writer who doesn’t have a horse in the race.
Importantly, because the advertorial is designed to “blend in” there are elements that must be included in the ads in order to satisfy specific, legal requirements. The FTC has this to say in Native Advertising: A Guide for Businesses:
“Marketers and publishers are using innovative methods to create, format, and deliver digital advertising. One form is “native advertising,” content that bears a similarity to the news, feature articles, product reviews, entertainment, and other material that surrounds it online. But as native advertising evolves, are consumers able to differentiate advertising from other content?”
All in all, this is heavy stuff, advertorials must abide.
Here are a couple advertorial templates to use as examples, and in order to better visualize what we are talking about.
Steps to Recreate the “Makeup Template”
Honestly, this took me about 30 minutes to create. If you think it looks like it took a lot longer than that (well, thank you!) and want to create your own, here you go!
- Go to Snappa (again, disclosure, this is an affiliate link).
- Dimensions: Select 2550×3300 for your dimensions (the px equivalent to 8.5×11).
- Background: Choose a “Background.”
- Polaroid: Go to “Shapes” and choose and combine the square outline, the filled rectangle (black), and the filled square (white).
- Purple Shapes: Just a combination of rectangles and circles! Added a white border to the bottom circle and rectangle.
- White Text Box: Select the white rectangle and the dashed border. Used circle shapes and numbers for the numbering.
- Headline: Just basic text, choose your font, and used the “shadow” function for the black shadow.
- Mascara: Go to “graphics” and search for “mascara.”
I failed to capture the creations on video my first time around, but I went back and re-created them. And guess, what, it really only takes about 10-minutes to create something like the above. Take a look!
That’s really it! I’ll add more here as I go. For now, good luck! Let me know of any questions or comments.