Native advertising functions a bit differently than banner ads or other forms of display advertising. That’s because native ads have the feel and function of the media format in which they appear. They are often shown on webpages as “recommended content,” and may appear with or without an image. Unlike other display ads, they may not have set sizes or placement options.
However, to focus on the nuts and bolts of native advertising misses the point. The real value they have is in giving marketers a chance to increase engagement and show off their creativity. By blending with existing themes or concepts, they can be used to create marketing messages that truly feel as if they were part of the surrounding content.
To help you get a feel for why this type of ad can be so powerful, let’s look at a couple of good examples.
As you can see from these images and headlines, the ads we are referencing are hard to spot as pure marketing. They each mimic the style of the underlying site and are likely to appeal to the type of user who may be looking to other content on each page. In fact, if they weren’t identified as advertising in a subtle way, you might not realize they were paid spots at all.
Because of the way native ads are embedded into websites and editorial content, they are more versatile than traditional display ads. However, the inventory for native ads is much smaller – there aren’t nearly as many positions available, and some leading websites don’t offer native ads at all. Additionally, the limited availability makes native advertising more expensive. And, while some advertisers like the on-brand feel of native ads, other marketers may feel as if their ads aren’t displayed as prominently.
For all of these reasons, most of our clients prefer display ads when setting up their initial campaigns. However, if you have a creative streak or are looking for another push tactic to round out your online marketing strategy, native advertising is certainly an option to consider.