How effective are native ads?

How effective are native ads?

Native advertising is a new way to grow exposure and capture consumer attention for your brand.

It’s the hottest marketing strategy used by brands today to seamlessly integrate a marketing message or ads with the content, format, and style of an online website or service. It’s presented as sponsored content or in-feed promotion that’s more informative, entertaining and shareable compared to traditional advertising.

Native ads are not hard to spot as they are clearly marked as “sponsored” or “paid”. You’ll find them across social media, content portals, news properties, video-sharing sites and streaming services.

Social networking platforms call them “in-feed ads”. Examples of which are Promoted Tweets and Sponsored articles/wp-content. Whilst in well-known media companies such as Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Time and New York Times, they’re called “Paid Posts”.

Other forms of native ads include: Paid search – e.g. Google search

Promoted listings –e.g.


Recommendation widgets – e.g. “From Around the Network”

Standard ads with native elements (banner or box with text or placed at beginning of post)


A bright future ahead for publishers and brands


Recent report released by the International Advertising Bureau (IAB) highlighted a promising future for this new marketing tactic. IAB revealed the estimated worth of the native ad industry reached $US331 million in 2014, and could become a billion-dollar industry in the not-so-distant future.

Just so you have an idea: US-based internet news media company BuzzFeed is believed to have earned more than $US120 million in native advertising fees last year. Whilst New York Times disclosed that around 10% of their digital ad revenue in 2014, which is approximately $US182.2 million, came from paid posts.  

Locally, we’re also seeing growth in the same category. Frost and Sullivan confirmed in November that the native advertising industry in Australia has enjoyed growth thanks to the increased range of offerings from publishers.

So far some of the brands/advertisers we’ve seen utilising native ads are the NSW Government, Telstra, Zurich, Commonwealth Bank, and Nissan. When Yahoo7 launched its native ad in-feed advertising platform last month, over 200 Australian brands were reported to have come on board and more are expected to follow suit.


Content marketing done wisely


Native advertising is not exactly a new concept. Infomercials and advertorials are both considered as early versions of native advertising. But the format has since evolved to something new and useful. Now native ads are designed to be creative, ‘subtle’, and less-in-your-face advertising, making them more appealing to the target audience.


Here are the benefits of native advertising:

  • Allows you to cast a wider net to reach more would-be customers. Native ads are relevant, useful and less intrusive. That’s why they’re shareable and have a good chance of going viral, which will certainly attract new followers. Moreover, by allowing your brand to be seen in other channels, you’re reaching unique users.
  • Distributes your message to the right audience. Native advertising provides better customer targeting. You can target by age, location, gender, job – people who fit into your brand’s target audience.
  • Delivers your message on every device. You will be seen by anyone, whatever device (desktop, tablet, and phone) they’re using.
  • Gets you the most impact out of your budget. With native advertising, you are charged based on clicks through to your content. This means you are able to set a budget per click or impressions, and a daily cap depending on your overall budget and the length of your campaign.

Native advertising is no doubt an exciting new medium for brands to explore. For your campaign to be effective, you should have a clear idea of your content objectives. Are you pushing for brand awareness? Are you changing the audience perception of your brand? You must also ensure your content is relevant to your brand and its tone consistent with that of the publication.

Since starting her outsourced national marketing consultancy Marketing Angels in 2000, Michelle Gamble has helped hundreds of SMEs get smarter marketing. Michelle helps businesses find more effective ways to grow their brands and businesses.



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