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What Is Native Advertising?

March 21, 2017

Native Advertising Is All Around Us on Websites and You Might Not Even Know It.

Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad follows the natural form and function of the user experience in the platform.  There are two key components that define native advertising.

  1. The ads are designed to look and feel like the natural content that surrounds it, or are entire pages of content that appear natural.
  2. The ads are designed to behave consistently with the user experience of that platform and function like the content that surround them or appear elsewhere on the site.

Native Advertising Examples

You have already been exposed to native advertisements, whether you are reading an article or scrolling through Facebook. Below are the six types of native advertisements.

Paid Search

When you are using a search engine there are typically native advertisements within the search engine results page depending on if advertisers are bidding on the keywords that you searched.

Using Google as an example, they created their ads to look and feel like the organic listings in the search engine results page. When searching for “one-floor condos London Ontario”, paid search ads show up in the top four positions.  However, they differentiate the listings by adding the “Ad” icon to ensure the user is aware that these are ads. As you can see in the screenshot below, they are very similar in the formatting and behaviour.

Google search results showing paid advertising.

Recommendation Article Feature

When you are reading an article on a publisher’s website, you are often given recommendations for other articles to read. For example, in articles posted on Business Insider, the advertisement are at the bottom of the article, called “Recommended from the Web”. An example screenshot of these paid article recommendations is included below. This recommended article feature on the page is sponsored content that was set up in a paid advertising campaign through the third-party platform Taboola.

Paid advertising campaign by Taboola.

Promoted Listings

When you are shopping on a website like Amazon and you are looking for a certain product there may be native advertising on the page. Below you can see a screenshot of a search for new office chairs on Amazon. On the right-hand side, you can see sponsored listings. The listings look very similar to the organic listings, but the seller has paid to be in this location.  Yellow Pages and Yelp are two other examples of websites that allow for listings to be promoted.

In-Feed Native Advertising

Have you been scrolling through your social media feeds? You would have been exposed to native advertising. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a few examples of social platforms that have in-feed native advertisements.  Their ads were designed to look like an organic social post.

An example of a paid ad on Instagram.

Custom Native Advertising

This category of native advertising is custom to the platform itself and are typically new forms of advertising. There are new applications and technologies that allow for businesses to create custom and sponsored content in the platform. The new craze right now is SnapChat. There are location filters that businesses can use for their events. Larger brands are able to create their own filters that are available to users. As you can see in the image below, this was a pure-clay mask from L’Oreal. When I moved my eyebrows water would splash up to remove the mask. It allowed for the user to engage with the product without purchasing yet.

An example of a custom ad from snapchat


One of the oldest forms of native advertising is when business sponsors and entire article and posts it on a content website. This is when the business writes content and pays for it to be in a print publication, or more recently on a website. In the screen shot is an article that was written by Dell and posted on the New York Times.

An example of an advertorial on The NewYork Times website.

How Does This Benefit Businesses?

Native advertising allows for your ads to be seen as more organic content to the average user. When creating native advertisements and choosing creative, it is important to follow the natural feel of that platform.

Here at tbk Creative, we are happy to answer any questions and provide reports on your native advertising campaigns. If you are interested in setting up native advertising campaigns, contact us today!