Sales and Marketing

What is Native Advertising?

Learn more about native advertising, how it works, and its difference from other forms of digital advertising.

Each year, the number of businesses entering the market increases. In fact, in 2020, there were approximately 213.65 million companies worldwide, and this number struggled to get their target audience's attention and trust. 

Digital advertising has paved the way to resolve this, but every company's marketing department should revamp its strategies by understanding what is native advertising. 

Digital advertising is an important marketing tool, and this may come in different forms which overlap in function and may even complement each other. From banner or display ads, digital advertising can also be categorised as social media, native video, and email marketing. 

In 2022, marketers may want to take a chance in knowing what is native advertising and how this can bring in favourable results for most of their campaigns.

What is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is paid media that fits perfectly into the user experience. Native ads are somehow similar to display ads. However, native ads are strategically placed on social media and purposefully aimed at getting the audience's attention naturally. 

Native ads look more like all other organic content on a page, and they do not appear like traditional display ads. These are designed intentionally to look like the other content formats on the page, making them more naturally placed on the website. 

Native advertising aims to place the message right where people can see and read it without being distracted. This type of ad is almost the same as editorial content but labelled as sponsored content. Their success is due to the fact that they appear naturally and do not look like a banner ad. They are seamlessly incorporated into a newsfeed or webpage formatted like any other type of organic content. 

Why is Native Advertising Effective?

Native advertising campaigns are effective in driving traffic to the site and letting people get your campaign message. There are a lot of reasons why native advertising is an effective marketing strategy:

People don't consider native ads as an advertisement.

More than half of those who visit a website for information usually consider native ads as advertorial or editorial content and not as an ad campaign. This could be because they don't come in a different style or format and rarely distracts the readers from generating the content they need. Sponsored posts are not similar to traditional advertising. The former sends the information while the latter encourages readers to click and buy.

Native ads are informative.

Native ads on social media and other platforms offer something that traditional ads don't — information. Regardless of whether these are promotional or sponsored types of content, native ads are deemed more interesting because they have a message to send across. They also usually appear like a content recommendation intended to complement the existing content on the site.

Native ads blend with organic content. 

One of the most apparent reasons native ads work is that they complement organic content. Knowing what is native advertising is the same as understanding the concept of relevancy when it comes to ad placement and optimisation. Native ads are visible within relevant social media platforms and websites. They don't appear out of anywhere asking you to hurry; click on and grab the discount. 

Pro Tip: Create a native ad that aims to answer customer inquiries. Ensure that the ad is within a group of content relevant to the product and that answers what customers are looking for when visiting social networks.


Native advertising promotes brands in context.

Native advertising showcases brand content within a context in a given ad space. This prevents readers from getting distracted or annoyed with unrelated messaging. Most native ads are created to match consumer inquiry, primarily to provide what readers are looking for and not merely feed them with advertising content. If your marketing strategy aims for brand awareness, native ads are perfect avenues to achieve this.

Native ads combat advertisement fatigue.

Native ads are cloaked as editorial content that aims to prevent ad fatigue — a phenomenon when the audience stops paying attention because they get too familiar with the display ad leading to distraction and annoyance, especially in e-commerce platforms. 

High ad fatigue impacts deliverability and purchase intent. When advertising content appears too frequently, and readers are no longer interested, the marketing goal is compromised.

Pro Tip: Social media platforms are already saturated with display advertising. Ensure that your ads are visually engaging to reach the right audience.

Ad fatigue may lead to banner blindness — a condition when visitors don't show interest in advertising content displayed on banner ads.

Native Ads vs Display Ads: How Native Ads Look?

The look and feel of an advertisement help us understand what native advertising is all about. Away from the glaring colours and too much advertising content, native ads are created to impart subtle messaging and deviate slightly from native content or regular content formats.


Familiarising yourself with native advertising helps you differentiate it from display ads. Native ads, an example of native advertising, usually appear on a webpage as naturally as possible. Intentionally, these are created with the same look and feel as the other contents, thus preventing readers from being distracted. On the other hand, display ads look more evidently intended as a sales tool. Sometimes, they are differently coloured and designed against all other content, which distracts the site visitors.

Differences Between Native Ads and Display Ads



Soft Sell or advertising with subtle persuasion

Hard Sell or imposes aggressive salesmanship

Used to tell a brand story or drive traffic to the site

Used mainly for branding campaigns and conversion

Don’t interrupt the user experience

Interrupt site visitors who want to consume content online

Clickthrough rate is eight (8) times higher than display ads

Low clickthrough rate (CTR)

The ad organically matches the size, feel, and colors of all other elements in a webpage

The ad stands out and can be easily identified as a marketing element

Viewed as part of the content on the page

Viewed as an advertisement

More expensive

A cheaper form of digital advertising

Best seen on mobile

Best seen on desktop


Choosing Between Native Ads and Display Ads

Choosing between native ads and display ads depends on your retargeting goal. If you're aiming for conversion, then display ads are a more aggressive choice to get your potential customers' attention. However, studies show that display ads or pop-up ads have a low approval rating, and around 64% of site visitors view display ads as disturbing, intrusive, and annoying. Important metrics like clickthrough rate reveal why native ads are becoming popular, especially for digital marketers who maximise their budgets to benefit from both ads and achieve favourable results from their campaigns.  

Pro Tip: Finding it hard to track and manage your marketing ad spend? Use Spenmo to settle your bills from paid advertising. Automate your ad spend payments with Spenmo's virtual cards.

Are Native Ads Similar to Content Marketing?

Since native advertising is paid media, native ads are considered "pay to play" marketing tools. Brands pay so that their content will be visible to the audience. Content marketing is not advertising and will never contain the words or phrases like "sponsored content" or "promoted stories".

What are the Types of Native Advertising?

Native ads can come in different formats. Choosing the right type for the platform makes your native advertising efforts more efficient.  

1. In-article or In-Feed

In-feed ads are paid advertisements that appear in coherence with the organic content within the site or social media platform. There is no standard layout for in-feed native ads because they are intended to look the same as the site or platform of your choice.  

2. Paid Search Ads

These paid search units are placed on top of the search engine results appearing as though they rank first in the organic search. Paid search unit is an organic marketing strategy that leverages the subtlety of native ads.

3. Recommendation Widget

Whether you're advertising on a publishing site or social media platforms like Facebook or Buzzfeed, native ads can be used as recommendation widgets. They act as additional content to complement what you've just read.  

4. Promoted Listing

Promoted listings are native ads that seem to appear on a list whenever you go online shopping. The advertisers may have paid for the listing to impact your purchase intent, but the site made it seem like an organic search result. Promoted listings are very common in e-commerce sites, especially recommending products you may want.

5. Native Display Ad

This is a display ad with native elements or a combination of native and display ads. A native display ad is native in context because they appear on relevant sites. The hard sell part is that they do not contain any information or messaging, and they appear entirely as an advertisement.

6. Custom Ad

Custom ads let you define your own variables within a traditional ad format. You can change the body, app icon, image, header, and call to action.

Final Thoughts:

As more brands crowd the online platform, companies need to take advantage of promotional tools like native ads to increase their visibility. Native ads can be more costly than display ads but could be worth the try to know how effective these are in increasing traffic to your site.


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