What Are Native Ads And How Can You Use Them?

Read Time: 5 minutes

Native advertising has become a popular advertising choice. One of it’s primary advantages is that native ads are typically better targeted because they draw on signals they receive from visitors to tailor the ads being delivered.

Native ads are advertising that matches the form and function of website they are presented in, making them visually integrated into the website.  Native ads tend to receive better engagement and conversions compared to other forms of advertising because of how they work. According to a native advertising study conducted by Contently, in collaboration with the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY and Radius Global Marketing, 31% of consumers surveyed said they are more likely to buy from a brand after seeing native ads.

What is native advertising?

Native advertising seamlessly integrates promoted content into the website itself, this is both a tremendous advantage and a reputational challenge.  By closely matching the form and function of the website, the native ad appears to be an integral part of the page. By having the ad visually integrated into the page, the content consumer will be more likely to view or read the ad to ensure they don’t miss any relevant content. If the ad is visually distinct, and does not follow the form and function of the page, the consumer may identify and segment that content as an ad and may skip over it.  

There are various forms of native advertising to choose from. According to the IAB Playbook, these are:

  • In-feed
  • Paid search
  • Recommendation widgets
  • Promoted listings
  • In-ad (with native elements)
  • Custom

With a bit of configuration you can achieve all of these native ad types with AdButler.  

Different shapes and sizes

Like any advertising format, native ads have their place in publishers’ ad strategies. Depending on the particular type of native advertising, publishers can opt for direct or network ad inventory sales.

By curating the type of ads you want, and with some configuration within AdButler, you can achieve a wide range of native advertising. You can use AdButler to provide all six of the IAB native advertising forms.

Native ads are becoming more common, an example would be the type often described as “Sponsored or Recommended Content” and they typically look like this:

Example of native ads

Succeeding with native ads

Native advertising, as a format, has been in use for some time. Below are some of the best practices that have emerged.

Transparency is paramount

According to Contently, 54% of consumers have reported feeling deceived after realizing that content was, in fact, a native ad paid for by a brand.

On the flipside, 41% of consumers reportedly gained trust for a publisher after seeing native ads for trustworthy brands. The difference between the two perspectives is whether a publisher is transparent about what is paid content.

There are different ways to do this. The most common method is to visually differentiate native ads from editorial content. In the case of audio, to draw a clear distinction using appropriate cues that what follows is paid content.

Being transparent with consumers engenders trust which, in turn, is more conducive to consumers engaging with ads.

Use engaging content

One of the ingredients of a successful native advertising campaign is relevant and engaging content. In fact, this is probably the core of what sets native advertising apart from other ad media: the content can pull you in and entertain or inform you.

Prioritize accurate targeting and relevance

Another hallmark of effective native advertising is the opportunity to deliver highly targeted and relevant ads to consumers. Publishers have the opportunity to leverage their deep insights into their audiences to deliver tailored content to them.  By understanding your audience, and curating ads that meet their interests, presenting them in a way that is consistent with your website, and continually reviewing and revising, you further your connection to your audience in much the same way as you do with the content you produce.  The more relevant ads are to your audience, the greater the likelihood that they’ll engage with them so this is, understandably, a priority.

Native ads represent a powerful opportunity

Native advertising has tremendous potential for both publishers and advertisers. Their success depends, to a large extent, on great content that is targeted at audiences based on their particular interests and demographics as well as presenting them in a way that is consistent with your website.

It’s a powerful combination that, if wielded responsibly, can transcend more conventional advertising and contribute to a stronger, and more sustainable relationship between consumers, publishers, and advertisers.