Native Advertising – Everything You Need To Know

Native advertising is a form of paid digital advertisement created to match the look & feel of the website’s editorial environment and are cohesive with the content on the landing page.

native ads

What Is Native Advertising?

This form of advertising can be very effective in the digital world because people are passively consuming content and are more likely to be engaged when they don’t realise they’re being advertised to. 

Why is native advertising important?

The most significant advantage of native ads is that it is non-intrusive and connects with users in a format of the user’s choice. Unlike the traditional ad formats like display ads or banner ads, native ads blend in with the web page’s organic content. 

As more and more consumers on the internet are becoming resistant to traditional forms of advertising, native ads have become a great source of revenue and have started outperforming traditional ad formats.

Fun Fact! The first ever display banner was published on in 1994 for a campaign by AT&T. This ad generated a massive CTR of 44% over the period of four months – dreams do come true!

This is the first ever display banner – from A&T as display on (now

Since then, display banners have developed a bad reputation for being ineffective, unengaging, or, worst of all, ignored. As per the Q1 2020 ad benchmark report from AdStage CTR for display ads have decreased 41% year over year since Q1 2019

Source: Google Ads Display Network Benchmarking Report 2020

What does Native Advertising look like?

Native ads can be found on social media channels as sponsored posts or recommended content on various websites. Although native ads integrate seamlessly into the web page, some legal guidelines and laws prevent them from being deceptive. Afterall we can’t have advertisers being too sneaky sneaky and tricking people into spending their hard-earned! 

You can usually tell that it’s a native paid ad by looking for a few distinguishing features. For example, you will often see markers such as “sponsored’ or ‘promoted by’ with a headline text or thumbnail, indicating that users view paid advertisements. As shown in the example below – 

These subtle indicators go some way to showing that users are consuming paid content – although as with everything some people may not notice the “paid/sponsored” markers.  Remember there’s still a good number of people out there who don’t know the difference between a Google search paid and organic listing (admittedly Google do seem to have started to make the differences between the two less conspicuous over the years) – so how can we expect them to spot native ads!

Native Advertising Channels

Native advertising can be run either manually or programmatically across the following networks:

  • Social – In-feed and carousel ad formats on Facebook or Twitter
  • Open Web – Content discovery platforms like Outbrain & Taboola display native ads across popular publisher websites 
  • Search – Ad lists or Sponsored search results on Google – while many advertisers associate native advertising with sponsored content and blog posts, the word actually refers to a far broader range of content. Paid search ads that display alongside organic results fit into the native ads framework as these ads are clearly labelled to enable consumers to clearly distinguish between paid and organic content. Also the tone and the format of the ads match the feel of organic content being displayed on Google providing a seamless user experience. 

Benefits of native advertising 

  • Perception – Native ads often have higher levels of engagement from target audience. This is because native ads don’t feel like display advertisements, people are more inclined to view them and consume their content.
  • Brand Awareness – Native ads contribute to improved brand awareness due to being viewed often, which helps prevent ad fatigue  It’s really common to see native ads alongside news content, which obviously gets a lot of views – just make sure you understand whether a view means somebody actually SAW the ad or whether it just loaded somewhere on the page (and was potentially out of sight).
  • Less Competition – While it’s true that Google and Facebook have the largest audiences, this means lower competition. Still, as the aggregation of the entire internet is much broader, it also provides an immense opportunity to scale. 
  • Higher CTR – Ad’s contextual relevance means that native advertising can produce a high Click-Through Rate (CTR) and if the landing page experience is good then you could also see a boost in conversions. 
  • Reach – Native ads reach users across the most trafficked sites. You can reach audiences across sites like Yahoo, Business Insider, MSN, CNN, Fox News, Huffington Post, etc. With native networks, you can reach audiences across various placements and grow your business.

We’d love to talk with you.

If you are looking for assistance with existing campaigns or are keen to diversify your marketing strategy with Native Ads, get in touch with a Native Ninja using the form below.

    Jon Dawson, CEO of Digital Ninjas
    Jonathan will get back to you soon