What is Native Advertising?
What is Native Advertising?
At its most basic definition, native advertising is composed of an ad that mimics the look and feel of its environment. This allows the ad to fit in with original content and does not break users’ flow of information consumption. While this seems straightforward enough, the term can also apply to many different forms of advertising that fall outside of standard banner ads, which we explore below:
Social In-Feed and Paid Search Ads
While not often referred to as native advertising within the industry, the in-feed ads that you see on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as ads on search platforms such as Google and Bing, are inherently native.
These ads are formatted to match the look and feel of organic content. You will know they are paid ads when you see the words “Sponsored,” “Promoted,” or “Ad” notated within the ad or accompanying text. These ads also typically click out to the advertiser’s site.
Sponsored and Branded Content
These types of native advertising go beyond the initial ad that a consumer sees, by also incorporating written content in the form of an article or blog post about the brand that a user is taken to after clicking on the ad. These ads show up on sites that already have organic editorial content, and ad buys are typically executed directly within the site.
The term sponsored content is used when the site’s content development team is the one creating the content, whereas the term branded content is used when the brand is the one developing the content. These types of native advertising will initially click to the article for more information, and from there, may include additional links to click off to the advertiser’s site.
Programmatic Native Advertising
Programmatic native advertising incorporates the benefits of sponsored and branded content—matching the look and feel of a site, encouraging interaction without disrupting users’ consumption behavior—in a far more scalable and cost-effective way.
First, by definition, the term programmatic refers to the buying and selling of advertising on a real-time basis. So naturally, programmatic native advertising then refers to the ability to serve ads that match the look and feel of the environment they are in on a real-time basis through a demand-side platform (DSP).
Advertisers simply provide an image, headline, description, and click-through URL. These elements are then pulled from each time an ad is being served, although not all elements will be used each time an ad is served.
Depending on the look and feel of the organic content on the site in which the ad is being shown, the programmatic native platform being used by the DSP will determine which elements to pull in (note: it will always include the image and some amount of text)—these ads will also click out to the advertiser’s site.
Native Advertising: Does it work?
Research shows that it does! According to a native advertising effectiveness study by Sharethrough, consumers look at native ads 53% more frequently—and native ads registered an 18% higher lift in purchase intent—than banner ads. While ‘banner blindness’ can be a real thing, incorporating ads that match the look and feel of a site has the opposite effect—even the savviest of internet users can find themselves interacting with a native ad before they even realize it is an ad.
Data shows that whether advertisers are looking to drive brand awareness or move the needle on performance objectives, they should consider how they can incorporate native advertising into their digital ad buys.