What Is Native Advertising? Definition, Benefits, and Best Practices

Native advertising creates more engagement, boosts credibility, and improves user experience. But what is native advertising, and how can you use it to enhance your results?

If you’re tired of users and visitors ignoring, skipping, or blocking your online ads, native advertising could be the answer.

Learn the ins and outs of native ads, the benefits of this strategy, the different types of ads to choose from, and examples to help inspire your own campaign.

Key Takeaways

  • Native advertising is a form of paid marketing where the ad content matches the look, feel, and function of the media format in which it appears.
  • The primary purpose of this strategy is to create an engaging, nondisruptive user experience while effectively delivering your marketing message.
  • The primary advantages of native ads include creating a more positive user experience, generating higher engagement rates, and increasing brand perception and credibility.
  • Creating effective native ads involves identifying your target audience, crafting high-quality content, and measuring and optimizing campaign performance.
  • Learning from proven native advertising examples can help apply these ideas to your own result-driven native ads.
what is native advertising

Native Advertising Definition

What is a native advertisement? Native advertising is a form of paid advertising where the ad content matches the look, feel, and function of the media format in which it appears.

These ads blend seamlessly with the surrounding content, often appearing as a part of the website or platform itself.

The primary purpose of native advertisements is to create an engaging, nondisruptive user experience while effectively delivering your marketing message. By providing content that is relevant, entertaining, or informative, native ads can generate more interest and drive higher engagement rates compared to traditional digital ads.

Native content differs from traditional digital advertising in several ways, primarily related to the user experience. Conventional digital advertising, such as display or banner ads, often disrupts the user’s browsing experience, leading to lower engagement rates and more ad blockers.

By blending with the platform’s content and design, native ads are less intrusive and provide a more contextually relevant, seamless, and integrated experience.

Additionally, native ads are more likely to be seen and interacted with since ad blockers don’t block them, and users don’t skip over them like traditional ads. The content of native ads is often entertaining or informative, leading to higher click-through rates and engagement levels. These qualities make native advertising an effective and engaging approach to reaching your target audience.

Native Advertising Cost

Native advertising costs vary widely according to the platform used, the type of content desired, and the campaign duration. Social media platforms are one of the most popular ways to engage in native advertising, and costs typically depend on the platform’s audience size and engagement levels.

Native ad campaigns generally cost $500 at the minimum and can increase significantly from there. However, native adverts can also include sponsored content that requires highly skilled writers or production teams, which can increase costs.

The Difference Between Native Advertising and Content Marketing

Native advertising and content marketing are two different approaches to reaching and engaging your audience. Whereas content marketing focuses on creating and distributing relevant, valuable, and high-quality content to attract and retain customers, native advertising centers on delivering messages through contextual and user-centric advertisements.

Content marketing is a more organic and long-term approach, while native advertising focuses on delivering messages faster and more directly. Ultimately, you can use each process to achieve different goals, depending on your campaign’s objective.

Types of Native Advertising

native advertising types

The types of native ads depend on where and how they may appear. Here are some different types of native ads you may encounter while looking at social media sites, websites, and online content.

In-Feed Ads

In-feed ads are a popular form of native advertising on social media channels and news sites. These ads appear in the user’s news feed or content stream, looking similar to organic posts from friends, family, or content publishers.

Examples of in-feed ads include sponsored posts on Facebook, promoted tweets on Twitter, and sponsored articles on news websites. The key is that these ads appear in the user’s normal content flow, making them less intrusive and more contextually relevant.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is another common type of paid content native advertising. This type involves collaborating with a publisher to create content that aligns with the website’s editorial style and target audience, such as articles or videos. The publisher uploads the content onto the website as a paid placement, with clear labeling to indicate its sponsored nature.

You can see examples of sponsored content on news websites like The New York Times. These examples may reflect brand-sponsored articles on relevant topics or influential blogs where a brand may partner with the blogger to create a sponsored post.

Promoted Listings

You can typically find promoted listings on e-commerce websites. Brands pay these websites to feature their products or services more prominently in search results or category pages. These ads resemble organic listings but appear higher in the search results or have some other highlighting.

For instance, Etsy, eBay, and Amazon all offer promoted listing options for their sellers. This form of native advertising can increase visibility and purchase intent for products or services.

Branded Content

Branded native content is a more creative and multimedia-driven form of native advertising. This type of native ad goes beyond articles or social media posts, encompassing video content, podcasts, infographics, or even sponsored events.

Branded content aims to create engaging and memorable experiences for the audience while subtly promoting the advertiser’s brand message.

Benefits of Native Advertising

One of the key advantages of native advertising is its ability to offer a more positive user experience. Since native ads match the look and feel of their platform and blend seamlessly within the content, users are less likely to feel disrupted or annoyed by the advertisement, which leads to increased engagement and interaction with a native campaign.

Experience has shown that native advertising generates higher click-through rates and engagement levels compared to traditional ads. User interest is often piqued more often than standard display or banner ads because native ads are less disruptive and more contextually relevant.

A native campaign effectively captures the target audience’s attention by providing value through entertaining or informative content.

When done well, native advertising can enhance brand perception and credibility. By partnering with reputable publishers and producing high-quality content, brands can position themselves as industry leaders and subject matter experts.

This partnership can increase consumer trust and affinity, ultimately improving the brand’s overall image.

Challenges and Controversies in Native Advertising

Despite its benefits, native advertising faces its fair share of controversies. One of the primary concerns relates to transparency and the potential for misleading users. Clear labeling of native ads as sponsored content is critical to maintain trust and avoid misleading the audience.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued guidelines to ensure advertisers maintain transparency and distinguish sponsored content from editorial content.

Ad blockers have become increasingly popular as users attempt to avoid intrusive ads and protect their privacy. While ad blockers are less likely to block native advertising than traditional ads, it is not entirely immune.

Marketers must find creative solutions to bypass ad blockers while maintaining the user experience and complying with industry guidelines.

Creating Effective Native Advertising Campaigns

When creating an effective native advertising campaign, it’s essential to understand the process, challenges, and best practices. Here are some guidelines that will help you build a successful campaign.

Identifying Your Target Audience

The first step towards developing a successful native advertising campaign is to define and understand your audience. Knowing who you want to reach and what the audience will care about will help you create relevant and engaging content.

Finding this information requires market research, data analysis, and audience segmentation techniques to identify the right audience for your native ad campaigns.

In addition, it’s important to stay updated with industry trends and consumer behaviors to ensure you’re targeting the right people. By aligning your native ads with your target audience’s interests, you can drive better results from your campaigns.

Crafting High-Quality Content

Content is king, as they say, and this holds true for native advertising. Your native ad formats should be valuable, relevant, and shareable to generate interest and engagement. Focus on storytelling and providing information that addresses your audience’s needs and preferences.

Collaborating with content producers and publishers can help you craft content that resonates with the audience while maintaining the publisher’s editorial style. Additionally, consider using multimedia-driven forms of content, such as video, podcasts, or memorably branded events, to create unique and engaging experiences for the audience.

Measuring and Optimizing Campaign Performance

Successful native advertisements require ongoing measurement, analysis, and optimization.

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to track the success of your native ad inventory and analyze the data to make informed decisions.

You can continuously improve your campaign’s effectiveness and drive better results by monitoring and optimizing your native advertising examples based on performance.

KPIs are quantifiable metrics used to measure and evaluate a campaign’s performance and success. KPIs can include impressions, click-through rates, cost per click, and engagement rates. These metrics provide a snapshot of how well your native ad campaign is performing and can be used to identify areas for improvement.

Analyze KPIs for Areas of Improvement

By monitoring and analyzing these key metrics, you can gain insight into which elements of your campaign are performing well and which need to be optimized. You can use this data to improve performance by adjusting your campaign’s strategy, targeting, or creative elements. Additionally, it can provide information on how to best allocate your budget across different channels and platforms.

Refine Your Campaign

Finally, optimization is vital for success, as making minor tweaks in your campaign can have a significant impact on the performance of your native ads. It is crucial to track and measure your campaigns regularly and make changes accordingly to ensure that you are maximizing the potential of your native ad campaigns.

Native Advertising Examples

Here are a few native advertising examples that demonstrate the potential of this approach. The success of these native advertising examples can explain why advertisers choose native advertising.


Airbnb partnered with The New York Times in the form of an interactive article about Ellis Island and the history of immigration in the United States. The engaging, informative content aligned with Airbnb’s brand message of inclusivity and belonging while offering value to the reader.


Another native advertising example is when IBM collaborated with The Atlantic to develop a sponsored article on artificial intelligence, which aligned with IBM’s expertise in AI technology. The informative article positioned IBM as a thought leader in the field while showcasing its solutions in an organic way.


A third native advertising example is when Netflix partnered with the Wall Street Journal to create an in-depth multimedia feature on the business and science of “Narcos,” a Netflix original series. This interactive piece offered added value for fans of the show while subtly promoting Netflix as the streaming platform for the series.

Best Practices for Creating Native Ads

native ad best practices

Doing native advertising successfully requires a few best practices you should follow to make sure your ads are effective. Below, we discuss some of the most important things to keep in mind when creating and publishing native advertising.

Choose the Right Platform

One of the advantages of native advertising is that it can be integrated into many different platforms, from social media to news sites. However, not all platforms are created equal. When choosing where to publish your native ads, think about your target audience and the kind of content they consume. Make sure the platform you choose aligns with your brand values and can help you reach your marketing goals effectively.

Make Your Ads Relevant

Native ads are all about creating content that feels like a natural part of the website or platform it appears on. To achieve this, your ads must be relevant and useful to the audience. This means that you should avoid creating ads that come across as sales pitches, and instead focus on creating content that provides value to the reader. You can achieve this by using storytelling, providing educational content, or offering entertainment value.

Create Engaging Content

As with any form of advertising, the success of native ads depends on their ability to capture the attention of the audience. To do this, your ads need to be visually appealing, easily digestible, and easy to understand. Use compelling images, headings, and text that draw the reader in and make them want to engage with your content. This can help increase the effectiveness of your ads and improve the overall ROI of your campaign.

Be Transparent

Transparency is crucial with native ads. Your audience must know they are consuming sponsored content and not confuse it with editorial content. This involves being clear about the fact that your content is sponsored, disclosing who the sponsor is, and avoiding any misleading or deceptive practices. By being transparent, you can build trust with your audience and avoid any legal or ethical issues down the line.

The Future of Native Advertising

Native advertising is a quickly growing industry, with the worldwide market expected to reach nearly $400 billion by 2025. This growth is due in part to changes in technology and consumer behavior, leading to the rise of ad-blocking software that marketers must find new ways to reach consumers.

Programmatic native advertising, a type of native advertising in which an automated system is used to purchase and place the ads, will be even more popular in the future. It’s the integration of programmatic technology into the buying and selling of native ads. Programmatic native advertising is on the rise as it allows businesses to optimize their targeting, reduce ad fraud, and improve return on investment.

In the future, expect native ad campaigns to become more targeted, with the use of AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics enabling brands to deliver personalized experiences to consumers. There is also a growing trend for native ads to be delivered through voice assistants, with brands working with companies like Amazon’s Alexa to reach people in their homes.

Final Thoughts

Native advertising helps get more clicks and conversions. Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is native advertising?” you know it allows for a more appealing and less disruptive user experience while increasing your results.

This form of advertising offers marketers an effective and engaging way to reach their target audience, addressing many of the challenges traditional digital ads face.

By understanding the different types of native ads, their benefits, challenges, and best practices for creating successful campaigns, you can harness the power of native advertising to boost your marketing strategy and achieve better outcomes.