In today’s high tech, digital world, where almost all of the world’s information is available on the palm of our hands, Digital Marketing is a very important tool for reaching out to target audiences. However, as people are becoming more and more sophisticated in the way they consume content online, native advertising is providing brands with a new, exciting and innovative way to get their message across to the right audience.

In this post, we will walk you through everything you need to know in order to have a basic understanding of Native advertising: what it is , why it’s important, how it works, and how to use native advertising to fulfil your marketing goals.

Native Advertising: All You Need to Know

What Is Native Advertising?

According to Dan Greenburg, Founder and CEO of Sharethrough, native ads are “a sort of paid media that matches the shape and performance of the user experience on the location or app during which they’re placed. In short, they are ads that fit in.” 

Native ads are often found everywhere, from your favorite publisher sites to your favorite social channels.

As a type of advertisement that blends seamlessly into the user experience, native ads are more contextual than other sorts of digital advertising (e.g. display and banner ads). Rather than appearing off to the side or across the very beginning of an internet page, native ads mimic the design, feel, and performance of a medium’s content, making it more likely that your target audience will trust them.

With every passing day, native ads are getting more and more popular, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all alphanumeric display ad expenditure. In fact, native alphanumeric display advertising expenditure within the US is predicted to climb to hitherto unknown heights of $41.14 billion in 2019, consistent with the newest eMarketer report. 

Let’s look at the different types of native ads:

Similar to other sorts of advertising, native ads have several formats, each one of those formats carrying its own set of benefits. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has identified these six kinds of native advertising.

1. In-Feed Units

In-feed native advertising units are almost like the scenario we outlined above. If you’re seeing sponsored posts appear in your social media feeds or on a publisher’s site (e.g. Forbes, Mashable), those are in-feed units. They’re paid placements that appear directly in-line with other articles, posts, or editorial content.

2. Paid Search Units

Native advertising is additionally a well-liked advertising method for search engines. Those top-of-the-page advertising placements you’re bidding on? Technically, they’re native ad placements as those top paid search results are made to seem just like the organic search results.

3. Recommendation Widgets

Another spot where you’ll find native ads on publisher sites, social media, and even program results pages, is in recommendation widgets. You’ll often see these ads situated off to the side of an internet page, or maybe at the top of a piece of written content, to recommend additional content you might possibly like.

4. Promoted Listings

If you’ve got a web shopping habit (like many of us), you must be seeing promoted listings regularly. Let’s discuss this with an example. When checking out new marketing books, several sponsored listings appear on However, while those publishers purchased those media placements, they’re made to seem a bit like the organic listings.

5. Display Ad With Native Elements

This type of native advertising looks a bit like the other ads you would possibly see online. You might even be able to see them in advertisement containers or banners. What makes them native, however, is that they’re contextually relevant to the location they seem on and therefore the content they seem next to.

6. Custom

Given the speed of technological change and therefore the potential for publisher partnerships, the IAB’s last kind of native advertising leaves the door open for a variety of possibilities. Creating a replacement Snapchat filter is an example of a custom native ad. The filter, while a sort of paid media, fits within the app’s interface alongside Snapchat’s other filters.

Why Use Native Advertising?

Content has become an integral part of our 21st Century lives. From the instant we awaken to the instant we are saying goodnight and turning off the lights, we devour news articles, television shows, photos, and social media posts. As per data published by eMarketer, the typical American adult spends 12 hours and 1 minute every day consuming media. Yes, you read that right, TWELVE HOURS. That’s half of an entire day!

With such a gargantuan amount of content available for consumption in our lives, and very little time to consume it all, today’s consumers have trained themselves to ignore ads.  More and more people are using ad blocking software to get rid of ads from sites altogether. There are even softwares which will mute ads and skip them for you. Most people don’t like seeing ads while they are consuming some content online. So trying to come up with ingenious ways to advertise your products to consumers without irritating them is very important.

Native advertising is specifically designed to not appear as blatant, in your face advertising. That makes it much harder to ignore. It’s also a more pleasant way for your consumer to interact with your brand. They won’t feel like they are aggressively being pursued by a company to buy their products. Instead, it’s designed to seem just like the remainder of the content on the page. As a result, consumers interact with native ads anywhere between 20-60% more than traditional banner ads.

Native ads even have the potential to extend conversions. A study by Sharethrough found that native ads generate an 18% higher lift in purchase intent than display ads.

Native Ads and Programmatic Buying

Programmatic advertising is on the increase with 65% of B2B marketers reporting that they currently buy or sell advertising programmatically, up from 54% in 2016. Since programmatic ad buying softwares have become faster, more accurate and more intelligent, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Just connect your campaign goals and KPIs, and watch the programmatic algorithm evolve itself based on input derived from supported audience behavior. The marketplace can change in a moment and programmatic buying can help to make sure that your ad campaigns quickly adapt to varying consumer moods .

When applied to native advertising, your in-feed, paid search, or other native ads will have a greater ability to succeed in specific audience segments. The programmatic algorithm will also help with optimizing native ad campaigns, doubling down on what works and pausing what doesn’t.

The Future of Native Advertising

It’s safe to mention native advertising is still in a state of evolution. You should try to stay ahead of the curve by following these native advertising trends.

Social Media

As of today, one can find native advertisements on social media sites, search engines, retail sites and publisher sites. But if we glance closer at native ad expenditure, we see that the budget allocated to native ads for the publishers is on the decline and social media is helping to pick up the slack. As things stand today, social media accounts for roughly three-quarters of American native display ad expenditure. Rather than purchasing ad placements on Forbes, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and the likes, brands these days are more focused towards Instagram ads, LinkedIn sponsored content, snapchat filters and other similar social media driven ads.  


In 2018, 52.2% of all web traffic originated from mobile devices. On top of that, mobile digital advertising expenditure is predicted to rise 26.5% by 2020. However, considering the benefits that native advertising presents on mobile devices, native mobile ads also will become a key factor of investment. Mobile devices are usually very short on space when it comes to display or banner ads. In such cases, running native advertisements enhances your opportunities for a fruitful interaction with your customer base.

Native Video Ads

According to the IAB Video Ad Spend Study, half of all advertisers are expected to increase their spending on digital and mobile video ads. The IAB study also found that half of the advertisers have increased their video advertising allocation to native ad opportunities. As a result of all that, native advertisements are bound to increase in popularity on publisher sites, social media platforms etc.

User-Generated Content

Today’s consumer covets authenticity. User-generated content helps build brand authenticity, creating deeper connections with your audience. For instance, you would possibly see more polls, surveys, or social media posts appear in native ad placements to drive audience interaction and build trust.

Ethics Disclosure

While native advertising resembles natural content, nobody deserves to be deceived. In order to ensure that advertisements are clearly labelled, you’ll see more and more platforms creating ad disclosures that are more prominent—even on native ads. This provides great transparency for users and helps them understand what is and what is not paid promotion. This helps users make more informed decisions about the content they want to consume online.