Native ads work because they blend in. Photo Credit: Beezy

Native ads rose to popularity on social media, where ad products are shown as sponsored posts or as a feed of small ads that flow through the sidebar.

On the tails of the success of native social ads, publishers are going native with their premium ad products in display and video advertising. In fact, according to a recent study by Solve Media, 20% of publishers are expected to offer native ad products this year.

These native ad products have some common characteristics:

  • The design of native ads is unified with the site. Since native ads don’t look like ads, they aren’t as easily ignored. 
  • Native ads don’t interrupt the visitor flow.
  • Native ads are content-rich, integrating video, social media, or even a site’s own content right into the ad.
  • Native ads are entertaining and informative. They offer a high-quality brand experience that is organic to the site they are on.

As traditional banners continue to struggle with performance, native ads are showing numbers that indicate that they are a real opportunity to bolster revenue for publishers. Their focus on content makes them an excellent channel for brands who take a content publishing approach, and are looking to expand distribution of their content.

Native advertising is crucial In the mobile arena, where users tend to be even less forgiving than on the web.

The rise of popularity in native advertising for publishers comes in response to dollars shifting toward native ads on social media platforms. Spending on paid social advertising will outpace display over the next 4 years according to a new report from BIA/Kelsey. In response, publishers are rallying to offer formats that are as audience-friendly and engaging as social media ads.

That’s why so many major sites already offer native advertising: WordPress, Tumblr, Reddit, Time, Pinterest, AOL, NBC, USA Today, People, Forbes -- not to mention countless others.