“Banner Ads are Dying . . .Welcome Native Ads!”

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Change like they say is the only constant thing. When it comes to the digital space, the pace of change is as rapid as things can get. New product(s) or service(s) comes with the promise to deliver more value than previous releases or versions with its improved feature(s).

The story is not different when it comes to advertising. We have witnessed the gradual transition from traditional to digital media. Digital has offered lots of improvement over traditional media especially in the area of measurement and engagement with target audiences. Recently, however, a major problem both publishers and advertisers have encountered is the reduction on click-through rates (CTR), from [0.3] in 2005 to [0.17%] in 2016. This sharp decline led to the birth of native advertising as it prompted both parties to seek out alternative/creative ways to show ads online.

Native advert is an ad format that masks the ad in such a way that it blends into the publishing format in terms of content /design making it almost indistinguishable from the content itself. This quality enables advertisers to better attract and engage viewers.

Here are a few things publishers and advertisers have to note when using native advert.

  1. Synchronized Objectives:

The advertiser and the publisher need to have similar key objectives for the campaign as content delivered must be relevant to the ad. For example, a food brand can post a native ad on a food blog that encourages people to make meals with its products or it can run a food competition campaign on the blog. Matching an ad to the content of a website is called contextual advertising and generally leads to improved performance.

2. Advert Transparency:

Ads should be clearly identified as sponsored content in other to maintain trust and differentiate it from the publishers organic content.

3. Advert Integration:

Ads should inherit the look and feel of the hosting sites/apps, fit well into the layout of the site, and match the form of the hosting site. For example, native Ads on a video blog should be a video sponsored by a brand not an article or any other content.

An example of a Native ad

Native ad format is gaining a lot of traction because of the benefits it offers some of which are:

  • Higher CTR: There is a higher probability of users clicking and viewing the ad since it already appears like other contents they see on the page.They are viewed 53% more than banner ads.
  • Increased reach: Users are more likely to share and engage with an ad that looks like the type of content they initially planned to see when searching the sites. 32% of consumers said they would share a native ad with friends and family versus 19% for banner ads.
  • Less Intrusive: Native Ads are less intrusive and annoying since they blend with the surrounding content without blocking the actual content on the site. This improves audience engagement and reduces bounce rate on publisher sites.


There are several native formats and it differs from one website to another because anything that suits the sites form can be native, there are no limits. If well-executed a native ad should be difficult to pick out. Hence, in some cases just a sponsored text placed above to differentiate it .

For standardization, IAB has created 6 categories. They are:

1) Promoted Listings: These are sponsored ad content showing on listing sites.

2) In-feed posts: This is usually found in blogs and textual sites

3) Paid Search Units: Sponsored Ads shown on search sites

4) Recommended widgets: Theses are paid articles suggestions to viewers on a site.

5) In AD-IAB standard: These are sponsored native ads showing in between the content feed on a site.

6) Custom: Other undefined forms of native ads

Native advertising is very interesting and has come to stay because it can be expressed in different forms hence there is no limit to how powerful it can become.

It keeps all parties: publishers, advertisers, and viewers happy. Publishers have reduced bounce off rates and ads are less intrusive leading to increased revenues. Brands, on the other hand, can pass across their messages, get more leads, and achieve better] results. Most importantly, Native ads leave the viewer happy because they get a better experience while consuming online content.

Most importantly, it’s all about the website users. Native ads leaves them happy by creating a better experience while consuming online content.

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