What are Native Ads? Are they Effective?

For the past few years native advertisements have been a hot topic for digital marketers and businesses alike. Across the board companies have to educate themselves with the difference between using native ads vs. banner ads on their websites and/or social media.

The MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) defines native advertisements as “a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.” Sounds easy enough right?

Not quite, there a lot more components to native ads than the definition suggests, like any other digital ad there are mobile ads and display ads, and like any other ad one can be more successful than the other.

Moreover you have to make sure that the sponsorship fits your business criteria and your audience’s preferences, meaning you have to keep a close eye on engagement metrics such as CTR’s (click through rates) to measure whether or not your target audience is responding to the ad.

A key component of a successful native ad is keeping close to the rule book before posting anything. When using a native ad you must ALWAYS (yes, always) use the correct language when presenting content these tags include but are not limited to: Sponsored By; Sponsored Post; Presented By; Paid Post; Promoted By; Ad; and Advertisement.

“Advertisers should clearly distinguish advertising, public relations and corporate communications from news and editorial content and entertainment, both online and offline.” (AAFTL – American Advertising Federation Thought Leadership)

As a professional you should always keep these restrictions and facts in mind while taking advantage of the insights and effectiveness of native ads.

So… How can you choose?

In 2013 ShareThrough.com conducted a study with 4,770 people to determine how either one of these work for brands across the board. The following infographic shows their findings:


Not much has changed since 2013, native ads are still perceived as a 23% higher quality add with 3 times more time and attention from the public says MMA’s Advertising Committee. In addition, audiences around the globe are more used to native advertisements than they ever where.

Native ads became increasingly popular with the “social media explosion” in the early to mid 2000’s. Nowadays seeing a company’s sponsored Tweet, Instagram, Facebook or Tumblr post is considered as normal as any other post on your feed.

Since native ads copy the function and format of the platform upon which they appear, audiences perceive the ads as valuable content instead of “just another ad.”

Taking this into consideration, banner ads should not be taken out of the equation when looking to advertise on social media platforms. Instead you should always weigh your options, while native ads merge better as editorial content banner ads stand out and might be better for special offers and/or deals.

Final verdict? Native ads can by widely successful but you have to keep a close watch on the engagement that they produce and whether or not pairing it with a banner ad can lead to a better qualified advertising campaign.

For more information on how native ads can help your ROI look out for our next blog posts!

Can’t get enough? Check out our post on the best filters for your next Instagram Advertising.