Native Advertising Complete Guide [+Best Examples]

Have you ever come across a post that is hard to tell if it is part of your feed or not? Then that is native advertising!

Scrolling through your social feed, have you ever stumbled upon a sponsored ad? The chances are pretty good. That is a type of native advertising. Native ads are hard to spot, and we do not even realize how these kinds of ads surround us. The content aligns well with the tone and style of the site that it looks like part of the feed.

With the world’s digitalization, social media has become a new norm for us. We all have social media accounts or use web pages, which are the hub of native ads. Native ads come across our feed as sponsored ads or on a web page as recommended content.

With so much confusion and lack of awareness about Native advertising, people confuse it with other things. In this guide, we will highlight all the things you need to know about native ads.

Native advertising

Pexels: Social Media Marketing

What is Native Advertising?

A simple native ads definition is paid content that matches the look and feels of the site to blend in well with the website or platform. The content can vary from articles to infographics and videos; in short, if the content blends in well, then the platforms promote it on their site.

Native ads have an organic feel to them, and for this reason, they do not look much like ads. The style of these ads matches the editorial flow of the page. The key feature of native advertising is that they do not disrupt the readers.

Native ads appear on social media feeds or as recommendations on web pages. The ads can be found within the content feed, side of the page, header, footer, or even recommended content at the end of the article.

Benefits of Native Advertising

Native advertising provides us with several benefits, and because of them, it is a famous form of advertising among big and startup businesses.

Target Higher Audience

It helps target a new audience, creates awareness, increases 18% purchase intent, and builds trust. These ads put the content in front of the right audience and deliver measurable performance. The visual engagement with native advertising is higher than the original editorial content. For this reason, native ads have a higher effect on the purchase behavior of the audience.

Keep Audience Engaged

The common objective of marketing is to drive sales and catch new customers. This objective is done exceptionally well by the native advertisement. It keeps the audience engaged and increases the number of first-time visitors to the site.

Fights Ad Fatigue

Most of the time the audience gets tired of seeing ads. Native ads help fight this ad fatigue as it blends in well with the platform. With other content ads, the audience gets bored with them and eventually stops paying attention to them. But native ads look organic, relevant, and interesting, keeping the audience engaged and not tire them out.

Native Ad Types

There are three major types of Native Ads that we come across in our everyday life. So below, let’s discuss what a Native Ad can look like.

In Feed/In Content

These ads appear on the newsfeed of social media accounts, e.g., Facebook or Twitter. These ads are integrated into content pieces and e-commerce. They blend in well with the platform and are non-disruptive. 

Content Recommendation Ads

These recommendations appear at the end or alongside the article. These are displayed alongside the content editorial or presented in the recommended ad format. They feature many different suggested ads or content.

Search and Promoted Listing

These ads appear at the top of the Google search results or in the sidebar. These ads are not typical native ads. These ads have unique content that stands out on the website or the platform.

native advertising

Pexels: Native Advertising

Examples Of Native Advertising

Let’s go through a few of the best Native Ads examples that can help you choose what ad type will suit you the most.

Social Media Ads

Social Media Ads are one of the most common forms of native advertising. These are in-feed paid ads that appear on your social media accounts, and they combine perfectly with the user’s content on the feed. These kinds of ads are the most famous form of advertising.

These ads are the quickest and most effective ways to reach your target audience. Social media ads let us build specific campaigns and other business activities in a cost-effective manner. For these reasons, these ads are profitable and quite effective.

Snapchat and TacoBell

In 2016, TacoBell partnered with Snapchat to create a lens in the celebration for Cinco De Mayo. The filter was a huge success, and it got over 224 million views in one day. The filter made user’s faces look like a giant taco shell; this filter not only entertained the people but also promoted TacoBell all over social media.

Although this ad worked quite well, it might not be feasible for many of us, as it costs up to $750,000 for a primetime spot. TacoBell was also the first marketer to buy Snapchat’s geofilter Program. But this does not mean you do not have the resources to do something similar. Snapchat offers many other advertisement programs to its users.

Spotify And Stranger Things

This is an example of elite-level advertising as it was a very well-planned and effective marketing strategy. This was a purely organic technique of native advertising. In 2017 Netflix partnered with Spotify to promote their new show Stranger Things.

Netflix partnered with Spotify to enable a new setting for Spotify’s users, known as Stranger Things mode. The users could see a new Stranger Things aesthetic in this setting and were adapted to the Spotify platform. And the users could also access a recommended playlist designed according to their listening habits based on the character from the show.

This proved to be an effective marketing strategy that advertised the brand without boring the audience or disrupting them—yet still reaching out to a new audience and creating awareness.

Message Podcast and GE

Native advertisement does not necessarily have to be articles or social media ads; for example, General Electric partnered with Panoply to produce a science fiction podcast known as ‘The Message.’ This podcast got the No.1 spot on Apple’s iTunes player and had over 4 million downloads at the time.

It is a great native advertising example as the podcast was very well planned. It was entertaining and featured GE technology naturally. But the GE name was never directly mentioned in the content itself; however, it was said in the introduction, credit, and cover art. The podcast proved to be so successful that they went on to create another one.

This native advertising was one of its kind, and GE even won the 2016 Webby award for the Best Use of Native Advertising. After GE, many brands went on with this kind of creative advertising.


Pexels: Podcast

Twitter and Patron Tequila

On February 22nd, for National Margarita Day, Patron Tequila took it to Twitter to promote its brand. They announced several margarita recipes and asked people to vote on the best one. For this, they used the hashtag ‘Margarita Of The Year’.

By doing this, Patron Tequila was able to promote its brand without using any traditional methods. People liked and retweeted their brand posts, which helped the brand to reach a higher audience.

The best way to advertise on social accounts like Facebook and Twitter is by engaging people to like, share and comment. This puts the company out for people and helps keep the audience engaged.

New York Times and Airbnb

Airbnb collaborated with the New York Times magazine to tell a story of Ellis Island and immigration in New York. They talked about specific family histories through narration, maps, and different photos. They mentioned the aspects of hospitality and house-building that newcomers experience in New York. This was a subtle way to advertise a short-term housing platform like Airbnb.

This advertisement shows us that your advertising does not directly have to be about your product or company. It can also highlight the mission your company represents. As Airbnb’s brand is all about hospitality, it makes perfect sense for them to post about the legacy of Ellis Island.

The Telegraph and IKEA

IKEA partnered with The Telegraph newspaper to come with a quirky way to advertise its brand. The ad was in the form of an A-Z quiz that provided the readers with tips on how to get a good night’s sleep. The ad does not directly highlight the IKEA brand but instead aimed to strengthen the Brand association as a quirky yet approachable organization.

This quiz was an old-fashioned yet effective and fresh form of advertising. This advertising was similar to content like eBooks, as it highlighted the issues and solutions your brand is an expert at and helped others with the knowledge.

Best Native Ad Platforms

Native advertising platforms are similar to any other digital advertising platform, except they are specially designed for native advertising. These platforms depend on advanced advertising technology to publish adverts that blend in well with the surrounding content.


Outbrain is one of the leading native advertising platforms. It is used by some of the top publishers, for example, BBC and The Guardian. For Outbrain, your minimum traffic view for the page must be over 10 million for you to be eligible. With this platform, you can either go for in-feed ads or in-article native.


Taboola is the second-best native advertising platform next to Outbrain. It is a great platform to bring in traffic and page views: the Huffington Post, USA Today, and other top publishers. The eligibility criteria for Taboola is more than 1 million page views. The minimum payment to run ads on Taboola is $100.

Yahoo Gemini

Yahoo Gemini is one of the top brands’ advertisers in the USA. Some of the most popular native brands, like AOL, Yahoo, Huff Post, and TechCrunch, use this platform for advertising their brand. A wide range of native ad formats is available, including image app, app install ads, video ads, etc. You also have an option to import your ad campaign from Google Ads.


Nativo is not a popular platform for native ads, but if you want to publish an advertisement for a media website, then Nativo is a great alternative. This ad network is used by a few popular brands, like Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal, and Time Inc, and the best thing is that Nativo does not impose any traffic restrictions.


TripleLift is a programmatic advertising platform for native ads. This platform provides a dedicated account manager and customer support team to deliver assistance in running ad campaigns. There is no minimum traffic requirement, and the minimum traffic payment threshold is only $50.

Now that you are aware of the best examples and best native advertising platforms let us see why native marketing is considered unethical by the consumers.

Why is Native Marketing Controversial

Generally, native marketing is considered unethical as it can confuse or deceive the consumer. As native ads mimic the original content on the site, they can be easily mistaken as a part of site content. This can be misleading for the site users. For this reason, native ads are considered controversial.

Those who come across native advertisements might consider it as part of the information the website is providing, but in fact, the website receives compensation to run the ad. Yet, users still welcome these ads as they are non-disruptive and are similar to the site’s design.

However, this controversy can easily be avoided if the design is distinguishable as an advertisement. For this reason, advertisers use disclosures in the native ad.

rules and regulations

Pexels: Rules and Regulations


Clear and Prominent Disclosures In Native Ads

A native ad looks a lot like the regular content visible on the site rather than a paid ad. This often misleads the users, and they are often redirected towards a site they are not interested in.

For this reason, different organizations like FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) are working on setting rules that distinguish ads from the website’s content. These are known as a set of disclosures that help us differentiate between the ad and web page content.

Accessibility and Closeness

Disclosures should be as near to the native ads as possible for them to be easily noticed and

prove effective.

Disclosures on Main Page

Make sure the disclosures are on the site’s main page to ensure that the consumers will quickly notice them. The consumer may not look at all the pages of the publisher’s site, so it is best to advertise on the main page. Moreover, the content should be easy to read and identify.

It is best to put the disclosure near the focal point of the ad, like the headline. Consumers typically look at the headline, which is the focal point. Placing disclosures near a native ad’s headline can increase the chances of it being identified.

Place Disclosures In Front or Above the Ad

The best place for disclosures is in front of or above the native ad’s headline. Consumers are most likely to notice and identify the disclosures in that position. Otherwise, it will be hard for consumers to see if the disclosure is in a vertical stream or on the opposite side of the website. This increases the risk of consumers clicking on the ad without noticing the disclosure.

Disclosures To Be Directly Above the Image

The focal point of native ads does not necessarily have to be a headline or written content. It can be an image or graphic as well, and in that case, the disclosure should be directly above the focal point. At times a visual element is much more noticeable by the consumers than the written text. Under these circumstances, disclosure should be placed directly under the graphic content for it to be noticed.

Disclosures Should Be Clear For All Ads

At times there is more than one native ad used on a single site. When this happens, then disclosure should be made clear that it applies to the group of ads. The disclosure should be accompanied by a visual cue to make it recognizable.

A single disclosure might not be enough when a group of content items is used, a mix of both advertising and non-advertising content. There will be confusion about which content the disclosure belongs to. For this reason, native advertisements should be individually labeled to make the content of the ad clear. A similar background shading or other distinct borders can set off native ads from each other.

Disclosure Delivered Before Multimedia Ads

Native Ads are also in the form of multimedia context. When this happens, then the disclosure should be presented before advertising the message. It is best to make disclosures within the multimedia ad itself and before the consumer receives the ad message.

If disclosures are given during or after an advertisement, then there is a risk that the consumer might miss it. But at times, it is not best to give closure too early as that can be problematic. Under these circumstances, disclosures should be made close to the advertising message. This depends on the situation and the type of multimedia ad.


Disclosures Should Stand Out

Disclosures should be easy to read and distinguishable than the rest of the text. To ensure that disclosures are visible to the readers, it is best to make them prominent and large. For this reason, the size and configuration of the content should be taken into view. Text labels should be in font size, and the color should be easily visible to readers. It is best to use light colors for the background.

Background shading used to differentiate between the native ads should be saturated enough to be noticed. It is best to use visual cues and background shading, such as highlighting text or using borders. This sets native advertisements apart from surrounding content.

For multimedia ads that include an audio message, audio disclosure might be required. Audio disclosures should have sufficient volume to be easily noticeable. Moreover, visual ads in video forms, the disclosure in them should be displayed long enough on the screen to be easily noticed and read.


Easily Understandable Disclosures

The most important thing to take care of is that disclosures should be understandable. If that is not the case, then disclosures are ineffective as consumers would not understand the meaning. Disclosures should be simple and clearly state the message it is giving. Disclosures should be in the same language as the native ad.

The advertiser should avoid the use of slang or words that everyone might not understand. Terminologies that have various meanings or usage of the same vocabulary for different things on the site should also be avoided. Moreover, unfamiliar icons or abbreviations should be avoided. And the use of Company logos or brand names that are not directly related to the context should be avoided.

Final Words

Native advertising is the best way to reach the target audience and increase your brand sales. As the native ad blends in well with the media or written content of the website, these ads provide a distraction-free experience to the customers. With the traditional ads, the users often feel bored or annoyed by the typical advertising method, and eventually, they ignore it.

But this is not the case with native advertising; this ad is an organic form of advertising. Looking at native ad definitions, we know that they do not pop up like a banner or get in your way to hinder your website use.

However, like any other ad format, native ads are versatile. If done well, they can be exciting and help build the brand, but the users can find you annoying if wrong. Knowing how to come off to the users can significantly enhance your brand image.

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