What Is A Native Ad?

August 29, 2023
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To put it simply, native ads are paid adverts that match the visual appearance and function of the media platform in which they appear. They are ads that ‘fit in’ seamlessly and unlike display ads, they don’t really look like ads. Instead, they just look like part of the page. 

You will typically find native ads in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page, for example, mobile native ads would be paid video content on the TikTok app. This content is designed to match the design and form of natural content, appearing in your feed of recommended videos. The key to native advertising is that it is non-disruptive - it exposes the reader to advertising content without sticking out like a sore thumb.

Native Vs Display Ads

Simply put, display ads (also known as banner ads) are visual graphic ads that appear in the online space in different formats, shapes and sizes. This type of ad is great for showcasing your brand and products, and reach people wherever they browse online due to the wide inventory on different websites. 

The first display ads were banner ads, hyperlinked, image-based ads shaped like a strip, and usually located at the top of a web page. As design evolved and became more creative, display ads now include videos, interactive elements, and pop-up functions.

On the other hand, native ads appear as part of the design and flow of the website or app they are located on. These ads are less obtrusive and more of a soft-sell than display ads and are commonly used to go into more detail when promoting a product, cause, or brand.

Another key difference between the two types of ads is the click-through-rate (CTR), with native ads averaging a 0.3% CTR and display ads seeing a much smaller average of 0.05%. 

The Different Types Of Native Ads

There are different types of native ads that are commonly categorised into three main groups: In-feed ads, recommendation ads and promoted listings

In-Feed Ads

This type of native ad is integrated into social feeds, platforms or content pieces and blends in with the publisher’s content to create a non-disruptive user experience.

Recommendation Ads 

Recommendation ads are recommended articles that appear below the article you just read.

Search And Promoted Listing Ads

Paid search ads are another type of native ad and are paid text ads shown at the top or in the sidebar of your search engine such as Google or Bing. These promoted listings are based on keywords that a user has searched for. 

Great Examples Of Native Ads

Stranger Things & Spotify

In 2017, Netflix and Spotify partnered up to create a truly original native advertising campaign that captivated a lot of attention. After the premiere of Netflix’s Stranger Things series, Spotify users could enter into “Stranger Things” mode on the platform, and based on their listening habits they were assigned a Spotify playlist based on a character from the show. This content had a design that was adapted to Spotify’s platform and aesthetic. 

Nickelodeon & Instagram

Not all native ads on social media have to be in-feed posts. Nickelodeon showed this with their fun “Which SpongeBob Character Are You?” Instagram filter for their ‘story’ feature. On the app it is indicated as being sponsored by Nickelodeon and placed where all of the other filters are, working just the same as any other organic filter.

The New York Times & Allbirds

A typical native advertising format you see often is sponsored posts on news websites. A great example is this New York Times article, sponsored by the shoe company Allbirds. This in-feed ad was promoted on the platform’s regular newsfeed with a sponsored tag. When users clicked on the article, they were taken to a unique page on the NYT’s website with beautiful graphics and supporting sound effects.

Our Native Ad Service

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, native advertising is a valuable marketing tool to connect your target audience, boost brand awareness and ultimately increase conversions. 

At Aura Ads, we understand that authenticity is key to success on TikTok, which is why we create ads that align with the community and the native TikTok experience. As well as TikTok, we also create native ads that work across Facebook, Instagram and other platforms too. 

what is a native ad?

So, if you want to benefit from higher click-through and conversion rates across all paid social campaigns, get in touch and see how we can help you utilise your ad creative for the best results. 


We are Aura Ads, a unique performance creative agency designed for D2C eCommerce brands. We help clients sell more online and grow at scale with our bespoke video and static creative delivered on a monthly basis. For more tips and tricks from our experts, head over to our blog page.

Written by Kate, for Aura Ads.

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