Native Advertising. Understand and do it right.

People hate online ads. But brands have to promote their products and services to reach customers and B2C and B2B companies use online marketing as a big part of their promotion. So what do they have to do to get to would-be consumers without getting them irritated by ads? It seems obvious! They have to find ways to naturally integrate ads within websites which are visited by their potential customers. This is what NA is about, and it’s getting more and more popular.

So what is Native Advertising really?

In short words, native advertising refers to paid ads which match the form, feel and format of the contents of the platforms on which they appear. Some people take NA as a synonym for content marketing, but that’s not quite true. NA is just a sub-set of the catch-all content marketing.

NA and CM both provide useful, engaging information intended to offer value and attract the attention of would-be consumers. Brands want to build relationships based on trust and engagement. But what makes NA different is that it is always published on not-owned media, platforms outside the brand’s own media. It takes the form of an advertisement, advertorial or an editorial content — but on a lower level than content marketing, because its main task is to promote products, services or a company in a non-invasive nature to minimize our discomfort. The promotional message has to get smoothly into the consciousness of receiver and be memorized with positive connotations. What is very important: it is always labeled as “sponsored” to stress that it’s not standard content. It’s pay-to-play and can just disappear from the Internet when the advertising contract expires.

If you’re still not sure what the whole idea is about, here are some examples to make it clear.

  • On social media

Sponsored posts are shown on targeted users’ boards. They don’t bother users too much, as they are smoothly positioned between other information and usually perfectly match users’ interests.

Native Advertising example on Facebook
  • AdWords

Sponsored links appear at the top and right side of the search results. They are directly linked with the words typed using Google, so Internet users may be really interested in them.

Native Advertising Example — AdWords
  • Type-in

It’s a form of security to verify whether the user is a human, not a boot. To prove it you have to enter a text from an attached picture. Instead of random letters, it shows the marketing slogan which can be easily remembered.

Ryanair uses Native Advertising Content to perform security check during service booking
  • Sponsored content

An ad appears on the top of outgoing newsletter. Advertiser promotes valuable content to the reader, while attempting to resemble the format of the organic content in the newsletter. It’s very possible that you’re just going to click on some of the articles below but you may also be interested in this one.

Native Advertising content needs to be presented as Sponsored/ Advertising Content

This video is a great source which explains how to make really good native advertising:

The NA content presented in the video is sponsored by Netflix, who launched series about Pablo Escobar — Narcos — and is a great combination of an engaging story, video clips and great visuals. See the full story here:

This NA campaign is a great way to build interest in the new Netflix series.

We could bring more and more examples, because native advertising has many different forms to get to consumers.

IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) defines 6 categories of native advertising:

  • In-feed Ad Units, means a product placement between traditional journal articles. They are made by editors or in consultation with them to fit surrounding contents (e.g. sponsored articles in Buzzfeed)
  • Paid Search Units, promoted search results put on a higher position on the website, signed as “ad”. Used by e.g. Google, Yahoo and Bing.
  • Recommendation widgets, placed next to normal articles or videos as a box saying “see also”, “recommended for you”, “you may also like”, etc.
  • Promoted listings used by e-commerce platforms (such as or to feature sponsored products first, generally on a category page.
  • In-ad (IAB Standard), banner or video connected with a content which it is next to.
  • Custom Ads that don’t fit any specific format.

And how much does Native Advertising cost?

It’s hard to give the exact answer. It depends which media we chose. If we talk about CPM (cost per thousand) it is usually between $5 and $25 but can reach as high as $150 for more premium spots. For example on Facebook CPM is $4,58 but on CNN or The Atlantics about $40. If we talk about full campaign, then it can be $5.000 for one post on Bussiness Insider, $54.000 on top-tier news publisher and $100.000 for 5 posts on BuzzFeed. We have to think how much money we want to spend and what audiences we want to reach so we can choose the right media and form to maximize ROI.

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