What is the ‘native’ in Native Advertising?

Few days back, I was browsing Instagram and among the numerous posts which had been posted, I came across this particular post.

I knew that this was an advertisement. I gave this a glance and then scrolled down.

These posts occur quite frequently in our feeds. We often wonder how have they come up over here.

But then, we remember that we may have just spoken about this product/service. And you know the rest.

Do the bells ring?

The next day, I was again procrastinating on Instagram, going through the various stories of my friends, when I came across another one.

This time also I gave it a glance & studied it for a bit. But this time, I didn’t move ahead. I decided to know more about this.

Have seen these sorts of posts/stories on your Instagram?

Have you ever noticed how skillfully these have propped up in your social media feeds and looked like “normal” content of the platform?

Are you able to remember seeing these ads and posts whenever you open your Instagram or LinkedIn?

Go on. Try some more…


Well then.

These kinds of ads are called native ads, and this form of advertising is known as Native Advertising.

Why the name “native”?

Because these ads match the visual essence and the design of their “native” place – i.e. the platform they reside on. Consider them as symbiotes. Instagram is their body. And these ads are the soul. Both of them have a symbiotic relationship.

Native ads have a grasp of the look and feel of the natural content of that platform.

Notice how seamlessly these advertisements fit into the nature of the platform. In the example which I took, the sponsored ad for ‘Semrush’ was blended into the story view so perfectly that it looked like just another story to me. It was only when I came across the word ‘sponsored’ was when I realized that this is an advertisement. 

To sum it all, native ads should have:

Now let’s come to the fact as to why are brands moving from typical ads to native ads.


Also. Native ads have the habit of blending in with the ‘organic’ content real well, letting the user feel that they are never even watching an ad. CTR’s (Click Through  Rates) of native ads are much higher than typical ads – meaning a native ad has a higher chance of getting clicked than a typical ad.

You know why? Because of a thing called ad fatigue – they don’t tire out the audiences by forcing ads upon them. Native ads know about something called ad blockers – and they very well stay safe of it because of their form. It’s basically a brand exposure cloaked in editorial content.

So how will you distinguish a native ad from actual content?

Look out for words like ‘Sponsored’, ‘Recommended for You’, ‘Suggested Posts’, ‘Promoted Stories’, ‘Things You May Like’, ‘Recommended By’ and BAM! You are in front of a native ad.

This brings me to the last point. The different types of native ads.

  1. In-feed Ads:

Has it ever happened that you are reading an article and you grasp a glimpse of a link related to the same content but taking you to another web page? That is an in-feed ad.

2. Promoted Listings:

Known as in-feed product ads, they basically are the sponsored product listings you get in your feed when accessing an e-commerce site mostly.

3. In-feed Social Media Ads:

Take a look at the picture.

I am pretty sure all of us come across these types of ‘promoted’ content either in our Facebook or LinkedIn feeds.

These are the native ads which come on our feeds on social media. This snapshot is taken from my LinkedIn feed.

Also. The first example which I took in the beginning is also an example of this.

4. Search Listings:

Ads on the Search Engine Results Pages. No need to say more.

5. Content Recommendations:

These are the recommendations which we receive after we have read an article. This may include related content, or a sub-content.

  • Custom – Content:

Almost daily, we make use of Snapchat & Instagram filters. Well. They are custom generated native ads. While it is a form of paid media, its ‘form’ fits completely well within the app interface.

That’s it from this article. Keep in mind the future trends in native advertising like Programmatic Native Advertising and Real Time Bidding. Don’t worry. We’ll have them covered going ahead. Till then, do a bit of search on these and stay content.

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