Balkan markets, or to be honest most of them, are rather underdeveloped in marketing context. One does not have to be guru to conclude this. However, huge majority of ordinary mortals who fight to survive on daily basis and who are not much into marketing are wounder-fully not aware of native advertising. The sort of advertising that emerged lately and now has a remarkable footprint onto further word of mouth marketing – to put it simple what we chat about.

Native advertising is a type of advertising, usually online, that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears. In many cases, it manifests as either an article or video, produced by an advertiser with the specific intent to promote a product, while matching the form and style which would otherwise be seen in the work of the platform’s editorial staff.

Fact of extraordinary significance when it comes to native advertising is that it must be clearly stated that content (article, video etc.) has been promoted or payed. In case it is not, such a behavior is considered as severe violations of consumers rights whereby they (consumers) has been subject to fraud. This further imply legal penalization. Labels might be in form of: Sponsored, Advertisement, Ad, Promoted, Featured Content etc.

All in all, I decided to browse some of the most visited portals from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro. These are my results.

  1. Serbia – search queries for blic.rs and b92.net (two of the most commercialized portals with content of questionable quality) showed that promoted content is clearly (although with barely visible insciprtion) indicated:

    2. Bosnia and Herzegovina – search queries on klix.ba, 6yka.ba and radiosarajevo.ba (the most influential and visited portals) showed that only the first one (klix.ba) has complete section dedicated to promo articles and content. On other two we did not find any trace of promoted content and native advertising – which should be more investigated.

    3. Croatia – search queries index.hr, jutarnji.hr and vecernji.hr (three of the most appealing portals in the country) showed that promoted content could be found only on later two (jutarnji and vecernji).

    4. Montenegro – two of the country’s biggest portals vijesti.me and dan.co.me have been browsed. Both of them, although most influential news portals, do not mark clearly promoted content. On several occasions such articles have been spoted (primarily on vijesti.me).

*Please note that this findings are based on the queries and browsing performed on 06.06.2016.

Generally, in most of the countries regulations in relations of labeling native advertising are adhered to. However, there are cases whereby those are fully neglected. The burning issue is the way it is labeled, with a small, gray and not-conveniently located labels. Most of the visitors barely pay attention to this kind of announcement, which might be a base for fraud.