Native advertising is a type of paid media designed to look like the organic content on a website, such as an article in a news feed. When used correctly, it offers value to readers while promoting a brand and its products/services. Native ads are best for businesses seeking a long-term, article-based content marketing strategy.
It’s not easy to build effective native ads, however. They generally require the skills of creatives who can craft content that is both authentic and advertorial. To avoid wasting time and ad spend by crafting so-so ads yourself, leave it to the pros—such as those at Fiverr. There, you can find experienced native advertising experts who build strategic campaigns for as little as $5. Find your Fiverr pro today.
How Native Advertising Works
Native ad campaigns are typically comprised of display or story-based ads that match the form and function of the site on which they are being placed. For example, paid posts in a Facebook newsfeed would be a form of native advertising. To create an effective native ad, start by researching your target audience’s interests to discern what sites and content types work best for them. Then, find a native ad network, create your ad, launch the ad, and track engagement.
Before a business builds out a native ad, it should first conduct research. Learn which sites your target audience is frequently visiting, what types of content they are looking for and what topics resonate with them. It’s also worth researching your competitors to gain further insight into how your audience is being targeted for advertising, and for ideas on how your business can create paid content that stands out from competitors’ native ads.
After researching what type of content attracts your audience and where they look for that content, choose where to advertise. This may be through a native ad network, such as Outbrain, Taboola, or even the Facebook audience network. If you don’t already have an advertising account, start by registering for one, then from the user dashboard, click the relevant button to create a new campaign, such as “Add Campaign” in Outbrain or “+” in Facebook Ads Manager.
After setting up an ad—including copy, images, budgets, and ad run schedules—track your campaign to see how it performs. Make tweaks as necessary to improve performance and consider adjusting your budget to improve return on investment (ROI). If your ad resonates with your target audience, you will see an increase in engagement and, eventually, sales. Be prepared, however, to wait several weeks to see these results; native ads generally take a while to have an effect.
“If you don’t have a holistic understanding of the aesthetic and themes used by the host website, the ad won’t fit in on the page—defying the point of native ads. Make sure you know exactly what the host website stands for, and get familiar with its layout. This will help produce more effective ads that land in the best spots on the webpage.”
—Zarar Ameen, CEO, CANZ Marketing
Who Native Advertising Is Right For
Those best suited to native advertising are companies with an interesting product or service that can be written about or presented in an editorial way, such as through news-style articles. It’s also suitable for businesses that have quality user-generated content that they are looking to promote and those seeking to build a long-term brand awareness strategy.
Native advertising is right for the following businesses:
- Businesses with a story to tell: Native advertising is a good way of promoting editorial-style content, such as blog posts and articles. As many native ads are article-based, they lend themselves well to storytelling.
- Businesses seeking top-of-mind awareness: People become loyal to brands for many reasons, and one of those reasons is familiarity. When people are familiar with a brand, they are more likely to choose that brand over alternatives. Native advertising supports this by keeping brands in the minds of consumers via native, organic content that often runs for weeks at a time.
- Businesses with user-generated content: Native advertising provides businesses with a good opportunity to promote user-generated content. This makes the content feel more authentic and, in turn, more effective.
Native advertising is right for businesses with a wealth of editorial-style content, including informational, news-based, and educational articles that capture the interest of their target audience. It’s a good way of building brand awareness without feeling salesy. However, because native ads are focused on brand awareness, it is not an advertising channel that drives direct sales in the short-term, making it best for those investing in a long-term strategy.
Native Advertising Costs
Native advertising costs vary, though they are generally considered affordable and cost-effective. Low minimum daily ad spends are around $5, and cost-per-clicks (CPCs) for native ad networks are around 50 cents to $1.50. On top of direct paid ad expenses, businesses will also incur ad creation costs.
Here are three cost factors to consider for native advertising:
- CPC: Businesses running native ads will pay on a cost-per-click basis. CPCs vary from business to business and are based on many factors, including audience targeting and ad schedule. Average CPCs are generally around 50 cents to $1.50.
- Minimum daily ad spend: Those using native ad platforms will also be required to meet the platform’s minimum daily ad spend. While each platform will have different required minimums, most are around $5 to $10 per day.
- Labor: While some businesses can create ads in-house, many will need to pay freelancers or agencies to create native ad campaigns. Also, they may need to pay for market research to better understand target audiences.
Native ad costs depend greatly on each business’s available resources, target audience, and advertising goals. On average, however, native advertising is generally considered an affordable and cost-effective marketing option, making it accessible to businesses in all industries.
5 Top Native Advertising Platforms
Native ads are created and managed through native advertising platforms. There are many different platforms to choose from, each with varying CPCs, minimum daily ad spend, network size, audience targeting options, and user satisfaction. Based on these factors, we found the best native advertising platforms for small businesses.
Here are five leading native advertising platforms:
- Outbrain: This is the best native ad platform for businesses with large marketing budgets that are focused on high-quality placements. Unlike some native ad platforms that allow nearly any website to sell its real estate to the highest bidder, Outbrain only works with very large and well-established sites such as The Guardian, CNN, Fox News, Mashable, and others. Partner sites must have at least 1 million visitors per month.
- Taboola: Taboola is a native ad platform that is also regarded as the largest content discovery platform in the world. It’s also a good choice for businesses looking to display their content on leading platforms such as USA Today, NBC, and Business Insider.
- MGID: MGID is a native advertising platform with a global audience that is known for its ease of use and reasonable price; it costs just $100 to get started. Given that less than 10% of its total estimated 70 million readers are United States-based, it’s best for businesses with products that are available internationally or digital services accessible across the globe, such as SaaS companies that are looking to market to an international audience.
- Revcontent: Revcontent is a native advertising platform that is geared towards both businesses looking to create native ads and those looking to become an affiliate by selling space on their websites—with a minimum monthly traffic requirement of 50,000 visitors. It’s the best for businesses seeking low-cost, high-traffic native ad placement across lesser-known but potentially more niche sites.
- Facebook Audience Network: Not all ads created through Facebook Ads are native ads, but there are certain Facebook placements, such as in-feed ads and stories, that are a form of social native advertising. Facebook is an especially useful platform for retailers and those in consumer goods. Learn more about Facebook advertising.
Native ad platforms vary based on network size and notoriety, cost per click, minimum daily ad spend, and audience targeting. While some are very easy to use, such as MGID, others provide very high-quality placements on sites like USA Today and Mashable, like Outbrain and Taboola. The key for businesses is to choose a native ad platform that distributes content to their target audience.
5 Native Advertising Examples
What makes native ads effective is that they appear as organic content—as opposed to in-your-face advertising. The best native ads offer value to readers while looking authentic, entertaining, informative, and visually appealing. To inspire you when you create your ads, we culled five top examples of native advertising across the web.
Here are five top examples of native advertising.
Why it works: This is a native ad sponsored by Purina, the pet supplies company, in conjunction with BuzzFeedVideo. This fun and light-hearted video series is entertaining in nature while also being pet-centric to keep in line with its brand. While it is not the type of digital ad that will convert to immediate sales, it serves as a valid form of reminder advertising for top-of-mind brand awareness and is the type of content that engages users—more than 11.5 million to date.
Why it works: Go RVing created this sponsored content on The Onion about travel destinations. The article is both informative and interesting while also working to generate interest in offbeat locations. What’s smart about this native ad is that it doesn’t look or feel like an advertisement. Instead, it aligns with its platform, The Onion, both in form and in content.
Why it works: Snapchat, the popular photo-based messaging platform, is known for its array of photo filters that do everything from adding makeup to a user’s face to turning users into cyclops. It offers businesses an advertising opportunity via custom filters—a form of native ads. Each of these custom filters includes brand logos alongside fun features like taco heads and scuba gear overlays. The entertaining features attract users while also promoting brands.
Why it works: People go to NerdWallet for personal finance advice, so it was a logical platform for CapitalOne to feature an article about the best credit cards—of which, a CapitalOne credit card is number one. NerdWallet does mark the article as an advertisement, but it is not very in-your-face, so many readers wouldn’t notice. It also doesn’t tell you who the advertiser behind the article is. Still, CapitalOne is front and center.
Why it works: HarperCollins, the major publishing house, uses BuzzFeed for several native ads. This example article, “17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand,” doesn’t feel like an ad, nor does it read like one. Instead, it’s a quirky list article geared towards readers. Even though it may not cause a reader to go buy a HarperCollins book immediately, it does generate interest in reading, which may well lead to a book purchase down the line.
Native ads come in many different forms. While most are digital pay-per-click ads and frequently appear within news and editorial-style sites, they can take the form of any paid placement wherein the ad matches the content on its host platform. The best ones align entertainment and education with clear brand awareness.
Pros & Cons of Native Advertising
Native advertising has the potential to encompass a wide array of campaign-types and applications as long as the ads match the content of the platform they are displayed on. While it is typically considered a cost-effective form of marketing that can build awareness and encourage brand loyalty, it can also be difficult to create effective native ads. Also, they don’t generally generate direct sales, and they’re often considered deceptive marketing.
Pros of Native Advertising
Here are the top three advantages of native advertising:
- Cost-effective: Native ads are generally considered to be a cost-effective type of advertising. This is especially so with PPC native advertising.
- Build awareness: Native ads are very effective at building branding awareness and driving interest in a brand’s product or service portfolio.
- Drive loyalty: Businesses can drive customer loyalty by using native ads as a way to stay top of mind. The more frequently people see or hear about a brand, the more likely they are to choose that brand when they need the company’s product or service.
Cons of Native Advertising
Here are the top three negatives of native advertising:
- Challenging to use effectively: Native advertising platforms are not created equal and, therefore, it’s not always an effective form of advertising. Plus, many companies struggle to create campaigns that manage to feel truly native, while others create campaigns that feel so that native readers often don’t see any association with a brand.
- No immediate return on ad spending (ROAS): The goal of native ads is not to generate leads or drive conversions. While they do serve to build awareness and loyalty that can later generate sales, it’s not a short-term advertising strategy that will yield sales or a return on ad spend.
- Could be considered deceptive: Some consider native advertising to be a deceptive form of advertising as ads do not appear as ads to viewers.
Given the pros and cons surrounding native advertising, it’s best for businesses seeking a long-term strategy to build awareness and loyalty and who have the resources to create effective native ads. Native ads are not a good solution for businesses that are looking to drive immediate sales from short-term advertising efforts.
“Make sure that your native advertising complies with the FTC’s [Federal Trade Commission’s] disclosure requirements. The FTC is concerned about deceptive ads, meaning those that mislead consumers as to the nature or source of the advertising. Native ads are required to disclose ‘clearly and conspicuously’ that the content is sponsored or [is] paid advertising. To avoid legal problems, make sure your native ads are compliant.”
—Robert Freund, Principal, Robert Freund Law
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does “native” mean in native advertising?
The word “native” in native advertising indicates that ad content appears similar to a site’s organic content. Native ads do not appear to be ads at first glance, and in many cases, there is little to no indication that the content is an ad. This could be anything from an in-feed Facebook ad that displays like a Facebook post, to native ads in the form of articles on news sites.
What is native ad spend?
The payment structure of native advertising is based on the clicks each ad receives. For every native ad clicked, ad platforms charge a set amount. It is generally considered an affordable form of advertising, although there are additional expenses involved such as the cost to create native ad campaigns.
How is sponsored content different from native ads?
Sponsored content and native ads are both forms of paid media. The difference between the two is that sponsored content is a form of paid media placement that is displayed transparently as advertorial content, whereas native ads are displayed in-line with organic site content and are typically more subtly marked as advertorial. Also, sponsored content often deviates from the form and structure of native site content more than native ads do.
What is PPC advertising?
PPC advertising is a form of digital advertising where the advertiser only pays for an ad when users click on it. There are many different types of PPC ads, from paid search like Google Ads to paid social, such as Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads, and native ads. Learn more about PPC advertising and PPC campaigns.
Bottom Line: What Is Native Advertising?
Native ads are a form of paid digital media where ads are created to look the same as organic content on third-party sites. When used correctly, native ads are an effective form of advertising that manages to break through digital noise and capture readers’ attention. Businesses looking to take a long-term approach to building brand awareness and have a story to tell are generally good fits for native advertising.
Fair warning, however—you can waste entire marketing budgets on poorly designed native ad campaigns if you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead, leave it to the pros at Fiverr to build out effective native ads. These experts have years of experience and can work on campaigns for as little as $5. Find a pro on Fiverr today.