Native Advertising: Explained

Native advertising isn’t new; however, you certainly aren’t alone if you’re in the dark about its benefits. It is the hottest strategy in digital marketing, and we guarantee that most of your competitors don’t know about it. Beat them to the the punch!

What is Native Advertising?

To begin to understand what it is, let’s define it. Native advertising is paid media (aka ads) that blend seamlessly into the environment of the platform in which they appear (each ad is unique to the site – Instagram ads look like Instagram posts, Pinterest ads look like pins).

Now, let’s consider what it is NOT:

Native advertising IS NOT a traditional banner ad that makes a clear offer like, “Switch to our plan,” or “Buy this product,” or “Shop now!”

Businesses run these types of ads all the time, but the click through rates (CTRs) are TERRIBLE (and by terrible, we mean really, really, REALLY bad). CTRs on traditional digital ads started to decline around 2001, and have hovered around zero since at least 2008.

Why? Because people don’t want their experiences disrupted. Advertisements are ignored because they are an interruption. So, why are native ads better?

Native advertising doesn’t get ignored, because it doesn’t look like traditional advertising, resulting in CTRs that are over 50% higher than traditional display ads. Native ads blend into the natural surroundings of platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and news sites, and since they look like content (which is what the user was seeking from that platform in the first place), they are less likely to be tuned them out.

What does Native Advertising Look Like?

Not surprisingly, native advertising was originally discovered by Google… And it paid off in spades. There are three major types of native ads:

  1. Sponsored Content
    Sponsored content appears on larger websites and is created so that it appears, at first, to be part of the page. Without realizing it, the message is received by the user, and the subtlety of the offer is overshadowed by the entertaining nature of the content.The down side? Because of the higher cost of sponsored content, it often isn’t a realistic format for most businesses – these ad options are more likely to be gobbled up by big businesses like Wells Fargo or Netflix.Here are some great examples of sponsored content, featured by Hubspot.
  2. Recommended Content
    Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a major news network recommend your content? Well, today’s your lucky day, because recommendation engines like Outbrain and Centro can make that happen.These programs take your content and embed it into sites (like so that it mimics the content on that page. For example, on, there is a “From Around the Web” link that looks just like the “More from CNN” link. If you’re not already in the know, you may never realize that the “From Around the Web” content is actually native advertising.Native advertisements create revenue for the network on a pay-per click model, and generate a ton of traffic to the content!
  3. In-Feed Social Ads
    If you’re new to the world of native advertising, this is the place to start!In-feed social ads can be promoted on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and even Pinterest, and are a great way to build a following and boost social engagement. Pinterest calls them “promoted pins” and Facebook calls them “suggested posts”, but no matter what they’re called, they all operate the same way.No direct offers need to be made; but, linking to a landing page where additional information can be gathered is always a good idea. This type of funnel will lead customers to even more information and ultimately pull them further into the buyer’s journey. Simple!

Why Go Native?

If you aren’t using native advertising for your business, you need to start investing some time (and moola) toward this strategy. NATIVE ADVERTISING GETS ATTENTION.

According to a study conducted by Sharethrough and IPG Media, 25% more consumers look at native ad placements than traditional banner ads.

What’s that mean to you?  More clicks! And, more clicks leads to more conversions. Use this strategy to stay ahead of your competition, because if you didn’t know about the benefits of a native ad campaign, we’re willing to bet they don’t either! Go native today!