Young ‘Digital Natives’ Naïve About Internet Advertising

Henry Mance for the Financial Times:

In Ofcom’s research, children were shown a list of search results for the term “trainers”, and directed towards the top two results — which were in an orange box with the word “Ad” written in it.

Only 31 per cent of those aged 12 to 15 identified the sponsored links as advertising. Among those aged 8 to 11, the proportion was even lower — 16 per cent.

Google ads are looking more like native advertising with each iteration. Older results pages used to separate the ads and more clearly delineate what was sponsored and what was organic. Google has slowly but deliberately eroded that line by making ads look more like native search results, and by manually promoting its own products.

I wonder how these findings will affect the pending E.U. anti-competition case.