What is a Native Ad Anyway?

What is a Native Ad Anyway?

By Andrew Hudson

What are native ads? And why should we care? Well, one fifth of all display in 2014 came from native, in-feed content. And you can bet that share is getting larger. This is the first in a series that examines the growing importance of native ads in the social environment.

But let’s start small. Let’s define what a native ad is:
  •  It’s paid. The very definition of advertising implies a transaction. Money for space. Whether it’s a billboard, a TV spot or a place in your social feed. If you know us, you’ll know that social is our domain – you might even have read our paid social white paper.
  • It fits naturally into the platform’s environment. If it isn’t disruptive to the experience, then it’s native. If an ad interrupts the behaviour or isn’t coherent to the environment (like a banner or takeover ad), it’s not native. It’s that simple. If your ad fits the form and function of the platform and doesn’t look out of place, the user is more likely to welcome you into their feed.
  • You’re not using it to sell something. Well, you probably are. But first and foremost you’re providing value. Something that aids, informs or entertains before there’s even a whiff of a call to action – think videos, articles or even games. Take a look at our paid social work for some examples.

The definition might seem similar to content marketing. But it’s not. Why? Even though we’re providing value and not interrupting the user, we’re leveraging a third party’s platform, and paying to do so.

With anything, there are good and bad examples. There’s an argument that native ads can seem like a camouflaged, industry-breaking bogey-man. Others would call it the new advertising paradigm that will demand higher quality content and transform how we connect with users. In case you’re wondering, we’re the latter.

This is the first in our series of blogs taking a look at the impact of native ads on social. Anything specific you want to know about native ads? Let us know @mycleveragency.

This post was written by Andrew Hudson

Andrew is myclever™ Agency's copywriter. Like all great writers, he's sensitive, deeply introverted and has a diehard penchant for knitwear.