When presenting options to your clients around digital advertising, there are many choices. While not a perfect science, some formats are more impactful for certain campaigns, including the non-disruptive nature of native advertising. But how does native advertising work? It’s a common question. In this post, we’ll answer that and explain when it’s a good option for your advertisers.


How Does Native Advertising Work, Exactly?

Native advertising describes using paid ads that complement the look and format of the media in which they appear. For example, you’ll often see them in social media feeds or as recommended content on a website. 

What’s unique about them is that they don’t look like ads in the way that display or banner ads do. Rather, they fit into the editorial flow and are generally non-disruptive to the viewer. Because native ads look like part of the content, users are often more apt to interact with them.

sample ad sizes


What Does Native Advertising Look Like?

There are three main formats for native advertising:

  • “In-feed” ads: These are ads that appear in your news feed on social media networks.
  • Search and promoted listings: These listings can be at the top of or in the sidebar of Google search results.
  • Content recommendations: These are articles found within other posts.

Native Ads Aren’t Pretending to be Non-Paid Content

The conundrum with native advertising is that if it doesn’t look like a traditional ad, how will someone know it is? Consumer watchdogs like the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) regulate these ad types to ensure that the industry follows fair practices.

Native ads do have attributes that identify them as advertising to avoid confusion, including:

  • They use language like “suggested post,” “recommended for you,” “sponsored” or “promoted stories.”
  • There is always a small icon in the upper-right corner that, if clicked, informs users it’s a paid ad.


What Are the Advantages of Native Ads?

Along with being non-disruptive, native ads have several benefits for your advertisers:


53% more

Consumers look at native ads 53% more than display ads.


18% lift

Native ads receive an 18% lift in purchase intent of users compared to other ads.



Most of Gen Z, millennials and Gen X prefer the format (90%).


CTR 8.8x

Native ads produce a click-through rate (CTR) 8.8 times greater than that of traditional display ads.


Less fatigue

Native is a good deterrent to ad fatigue, which describes an audience becoming bored with a recurring ad. Since native ads are branded editorial content, viewers are less likely to get tired of them.


Not blocked

In most cases, ad-blocking software does not remove native advertising.


Don’t care

Consumers know they are ads, and they don’t care! A Stanford University study confirmed that people are savvy and have no issue interacting with native ads.

How to Be Successful at Native Advertising

Pitching native ads to your clients can help them achieve their goals around brand awareness as well as specific promotions. You’ll need compelling copy on the ad itself that speaks to your client’s target audience. The key is to keep it as authentic and relevant as possible. Guide your advertisers to help, not sell.

Native ads can direct viewers to various content types, including video, product pages, blogs or other areas of their website.

Some additional tips for native ad creative include:

  • Use people in your imagery over something abstract.
  • Test black and white images, as they tend to stand out and increase clicks.
  • Limit the amount of text on the image.
  • Speak to the audience with a headline that hooks them.
  • Evoke curiosity in the language and aesthetics to earn the click.


Can Native Advertising Work for Your Clients?

Native advertising can be an excellent ad category for digital. Testing these out with your advertisers could improve their return on ad spend (ROAS), which is a win for all parties!