Native Advertising Guide for 2021 [Examples, Networks, Best Practices]Pin
Native Advertising Guide for 2021 [Examples, Networks, Best Practices]

Native Advertising Guide [Complete 2021 Version]

In the following native advertising guide, you will find out everything you need to know about Native Advertising, including what it is, how native ads look like, the best native advertising networks, and how to make it work for you by starting and managing campaigns.

Through native advertising, you can offer visitors relevant content at the right times.  Gone are the days of seeking users out and forcing them to witness an ad that may or may not be relevant to them.

Native Advertising Beginners GuidePin
Native Advertising Beginners Guide

You are getting this Native Advertising guide for free, and I am sure it’s much better than those paid products.

When you are highly skilled and experienced, you can make get great results by using native advertising.

Let’s get started!

1. What is native advertising?

Native advertising is an online marketing method that involves using paid ads that match the website’s look and fit seamlessly into the surrounding content.

It lets you target a highly relevant audience and display your content to people who might be interested in your product or service. Both their authenticity and non-intrusive nature make users enjoy quality native ads.

You face native ads whenever you surf the Internet. You might even fail to notice you encounter them. But you do. You find them in your social media feeds, on your favorite blog, or Youtube channel.

In most cases, when we talk about native advertising, we refer to content recommendations widely spread across websites, especially blogs and magazines. However, in-feed ads promoted listings and paid search ads are also considered types of native advertising.

The secret to Native Advertising is that it is non-disruptive, meaning it exposes the user to advertising content without trying so hard.

Before going further with our native advertising guide, let’s look over some native advertising stats.

2. Native Advertising Statistics

According to a survey conducted by Sharethrough, native ads drive more attention and brand lift over the traditional display.

Native Ads Performance StatsPin
Native Ads Performance Stats

2.1 Native Advertising Performance Stats

  • Consumers looked at Native Ads 53% more frequently than display ads.
  • 25% more consumers were measured to look at in-feed Native Ad placements than display ad units.
  • Native Ads registered an 18% higher lift in purchase intent and a 9% lift for brand affinity responses than banner ads.
  • 32% of respondents said a Native Ad “is an ad I would share with a friend or a family member” versus just 19% for display ads.

Now, let’s talk about some not-so-great stats about native advertising. According to Copyblogger, state of native advertising report, there is still room to grow and some issues that publishers and advertisers face:

2.2 Native Advertising Acceptance Stats

  • 49% of consumers don’t know what Native Advertising is.
  • 51% of consumers are skeptical about Native Advertising.
  • 41% of publishers offer Native Advertising as an advertising or service option.
  • Only 19% of publishers said that their work consists of Native Advertising.
Native Advertising Report - CopybloggerPin
Native Advertising Report – Copyblogger

As you can see, these contrasting stats make Native Advertising a little controversial. Advertisers love Native Ads, mainly because the click-through rate (CTR) is much higher than regular ads. Also, engagement is usually much stronger with Native Ads.

Now that you have a basic understanding of native advertising, it’s time to get your hands dirty and learn some technical aspects. You will need them later on when we discuss native ads networks and their best practices.

3. Basic Native Ads Terminology

Here are the terms that you should need to know about native advertising:

  • Native advertising – Native advertising uses paid ads that match the look, feel, and function of the media format in which they appear. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t look like ads. They look like part of the editorial flow of the page. 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.
  • Ad network – An intermediary that connects advertisers with websites that host ads and coordinate ad campaigns.
  • Bid –  The maximum amount of money the advertiser is ready to pay for an ad to be displayed or clicked on (it depends on the bidding model).
  • Content recommendations – Content pieces, such as blog posts, news articles, or landing pages suggested to users on the site they are visiting.
  • Content discovery platform – Content Discovery platforms display sponsored content on widgets placed below or next to editorial content on publisher websites. Using algorithms that help predict what users may like, these platforms deliver personalized recommendations for every reader.
  • CPC bidding –  Cost-per-click bidding model means that an advertiser will pay for each click on their ad. As the final price is set during the auction, CPC may vary, but it won’t exceed the bid set.
  • CPM bidding –  Cost-per-mille, or cost-per-thousand, is the bidding model where an advertiser pays for impressions. The term denotes the price of 1,000 impressions on one webpage.

4. Types of Native advertising & Examples

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the primary organization responsible for developing ad industry standards and conducting business research, published a report in 2013 detailing six different categories for differentiating types of native advertisements.

But there’s no single classification of native ads, as their formats are constantly evolving. We identify several major types of a native ad, which you can see below:

4.1 In-Feed Native Ads

In-Feed Native Ads appear in social media news feeds like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feed, but you can also find them on publisher content sites and news aggregators.

Native Advertising on Facebook ExamplePin
Native Advertising on Facebook Example

Commonly used disclosure language for in-feed ads includes:

  • “Advertisement” or “AD” for Google and YouTube.
  • “Promoted” or “Promoted by [brand]” for Twitter.
  • “Sponsored” or “Sponsored by [brand]” or “Sponsored Content” for LinkedIn and Yahoo.
  • “Presented by [brand]” + “Featured Partner” tag for BuzzFeed and Huffington Post.
  • “Suggested Post” + a “Sponsored” tag for Facebook.

4.2 Search Ads

Appearing in the search results list, these are generally found above or below the organic search results or in a favorable position, having been sold to advertisers to guarantee optimal placement on the search engine page.

They usually possess an identical appearance as other results on the page except for disclosure aspects.

4.3 Promoted listings

Native promoted listings are ads that appear on e-commerce websites on search. Most of the time, these appear at the top of your search but necessarily.

Exemple of Native Advertising on AmazonPin
Example of Native Advertising on Amazon
Commonly used disclosure language for Promoted ad listings are:

  • Sponsored
  • Sponsored listing
  • Promoted

4.4 Content Recommendation Widgets

Recommended content remains a dominant native ad format. Content recommendation widgets are the units you see below or next to articles on the publishers’ websites.

These units are non-intrusive and don’t disrupt the user experience being displayed within the editorial content recommendations.

These recommendation widgets are often placed on premium websites, including The Guardian, HuffPost, NBC News, CNN, Daily Telegraph, and more. Publishers often rely on content discovery networks to promote their content on their websites.

To show the most relevant content recommendations, content discovery platforms, such as Taboola or Outbrain, compare individual audience profiles against the targeting options advertisers set and customize widgets for every user.

Example of Native Advertising on a Content websitePin
Example of Native Advertising on a Content website

Today, content discovery platforms offer advertisers many targeting options, allowing them to reach the right audiences at the right time.

Content Recommendation Widget Ads contains up to three disclosure signals.

  1. The sections will say “You might also like,” “You might like,” “Elsewhere from around the web,” “From around the web,” “You may have missed,” or “Recommended for you.”
  2. The sponsor or landing site’s name shows after the content’s visual and headline. It will also say that the material may contain both local and third-party content in the same overall unit. 
  3. If a third party sponsors the content, you will see the third party’s company name or logo to indicate that the material is not from the publisher.

4.5 Custom Content Units

An advertiser and publisher can work together on custom content ads. There is no limit to the possibilities when an advertiser and publisher work together on custom units.

Custom Content Units involve ad examples that don’t fit into one of the above Native Ad types. Or, as in the case of custom playlists, they are too platform-specific to warrant their own category but need to be on a marketer’s radar as native advertising options.

4.6 Sponsored blog posts

Sponsored articles are a native opportunity offered by large and small media companies through their blogging partnership platform. Check, for instance, Forbes’ BrandVoice. Published on a co-branded site page, these efforts are designed to appear more like collaborative, ongoing thought leadership than one-shot promotional spots.

Sponsored Blog Post ExamplePin
Sponsored Blog Post Example

With sponsored blog posts, you access a new audience, write and present the information in a way they are used to get it, leverage the publisher’s brand and trust, and generate sales and exposure. At the same time, you educate the readers in no intrusive way.

5. Native Ads PROs and CONs

Now that you know what native advertising is, how native ads look, and how they work, let’s talk about the PROs and CONs.

  • Better customer targeting.
  • Less Expensive.
  • Bypasses Ad Blind Customers.
  • Bypass Adblockers.
  • If done right, it can enhance the Content.
  • It Can Seem Deceptive to visitors.
  • Publishers Receive Backlash in traffic figures.
  • Google may Penalize native ads if done wrong.

Before moving forward, let me clear something about Google penalties. As you may know, Google is against deceptive and intrusive ads. Also doesn’t allow sponsored posts without proper markup. This being said, If publishers follow the Google rules regarding sponsored content, and the FTC recommendations (don’t overcharge the website with ads, and clearly mark them) should be safe from a Google penalty regarding ads and sponsored posts.

6. Native advertising Goals

6.1. Build brand awareness

Brand awareness is about establishing a robust online presence for your brand. Many brands leverage native advertising to achieve brand awareness goals. Displaying their articles and videos on the world’s most popular websites, they reach wide but still highly relevant audiences.

6.2. Attract leads

Native advertising has already proved extremely useful for reaching your performance marketing goals and increasing purchase intent.

It allows you to attract leads by driving your readers to complete specific actions, such as downloading your application, signing up for a newsletter, or any other activity connecting your prospect with your brand.

6.3. Drive sales

Advertisers aim at driving direct sales less frequently than building brand awareness or increasing engagements, but it doesn’t mean the contribution of native advertising to the sales process isn’t significant.

Still, it’s unlikely that someone will decide to make a purchase when seeing your sponsored content for the first time. That’s why campaigns aimed at driving sales are more likely to be successful when you’re targeting people who are most interested in buying your products, e.g., retargeting your website visitors.

6.4. Strengthen Customer Loyalty

Besides building brand awareness or driving sales, native advertising is your chance to create a relationship that builds trust and loyalty.

Due to their form, native ads don’t necessarily make a pitch for a product or service. Customers appreciate meaningful content created to provide real value rather than make money.

7. Native advertising Challenges

7.1 Native advertising takes time.

Undoubtedly, native advertising is a powerful online marketing method, but you need to do it right to leverage its full potential. To attract your audience’s attention and convert them into customers, your native ads should truly stand out from the crowd.

Without relevant experience, creating a genuine native ad can be challenging and takes time.

7.2 It isn’t easy to take your pick among multiple options.

When you finally decide to invest in native advertising, you need to choose the right platform to help you achieve your marketing goals. There’s definitely no shortage of native advertising companies, and it hardly makes a choice easier.

When you start with paid search campaigns, you go to Google Ads; when you advertise on social media, you go with Facebook, Instagram, etc. But what are the best native ad networks to go with? How many platforms should you use to expand your reach? Is there a specific network that’s better suited for your industry or business? These are just a few questions advertisers face entering native advertising.

7.3 Measuring native ads’ performance can be troublesome.

Does native advertising work for you? Do you know which metrics you should track? Measuring ROI is still a problem for many brands. Native advertising performance can often be challenging to measure, especially when you run several campaigns at once.

Now that you know the benefits of native advertising, let’s take one step forward and see some of the best native advertising networks you can use to advertise your content.

8. Top 5 Native Advertising Platforms

There are many popular native ad networks that you can use to advertising your business.

This list of the 5 best native ad platforms will be useful when you’re aiming to get your ads out there and generate leads and, ultimately, sales.

1. Taboola

Homepage screenshot of Taboola Native Advertising PlatformPin
Homepage screenshot of Taboola Native Advertising Platform

Taboola Specs:

  • Founded In: 2007
  • Reach: Taboola reaches over 1.4 billion unique users every month.
  • Pricing: For a self-service option, users can start at $10 per day.
  • Taboola ad specs: find them here.
  • Profiles: TwitterLinkedInFacebook, Crunchbase

Taboola is the world’s leading content discovery and native advertising platform that helps marketers reach over 1.4 billion unique users every month. They recommend content across the world’s top websites, such as NBC News, Daily Mail, The Weather Channel, EuroSport, Yahoo! Japan, etc.

The platform also lets you fully control your campaigns – from setting your own goals to editing your campaign’s daily ad delivery when the campaign is live. With Taboola, you can target your audience by Location, Device, Operating system, Connection type.

Taboola PROs

  • Many high-quality publishers like CNN, NBC News, and MSN.
  • Cost-effective, compared to Google and Facebook.
  • Easy to use user interface.
  • Great customer service.

Taboola CONs

  • The lack of performance whitelisting makes it difficult to zero in on the best traffic.
  • Lack of ability to block websites in bulk
  • Creative approval is arbitrary and vague when denied.
  • Creative approval is quite slow.

2. Outbrain

Homepage screenshot of the Outbrain Native Advertising PlatformPin
Homepage screenshot of the Outbrain Native Advertising Platform

Outbrain specs:

Outbrain is another popular content discovery platform that displays boxes of links on publishers’ websites. Their recommended content appears across absolute top-quality placements, including CNN, Fox News, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Mashable, and even more.

The Outbrain’s ads approval team follows rigorous approval terms for advertisers (and publishers). Your ad should be of high quality and well-crafted to meet all the standards and get approved.

Recently, Outbrain has announced that it will merge with Taboola and change its name.

Outbrain PROs

  • Custom targeting.
  • Get access to quality publishers like CNN, Time, ESPN, and more.
  • Cost-effective, compared to Google and Facebook.
  • Easy to use user interface.
  • Great customer service.

Outbrain CONs

  • The lack of performance whitelisting makes it difficult to zero in on the best traffic.
  • Lack of ability to block websites in bulk.
  • Hard to get approved in the beginning.
  • Creative approval is quite slow.


MGID Native Advertising NetworkPin
Join the MGID Native Advertising Network

MGID specs:

The next native ad platform that’s absolutely worth your attention is MGID.The company partners with 31650+ publishers worldwide, allowing advertisers to drive high volumes of diverse traffic. MGID ads are served to audiences in Europe, the USA, Asia-Pacific, Canada, and other countries.

Dynamic retargeting is also available on the platform. Although there’s no such option as interest-based targeting, MGID ensures your ads are displayed to the most relevant audiences by requiring advertisers to select the category of every offer you promote.


  • You can start advertising for only $100.
  • Users have a lot of control over campaign management.
  • It is one of the oldest native ad networks.
  • You can use dynamic retargeting.
  • You get great customer service, including an account manager (from $500).


  • The admin control panel for MGID might seem daunting for beginners.
  • You may see a quite high bounce rate on their ads compared to other networks.
  • Creative approval is quite slow.

4. Revcontent

Homepage screenshot of the RevContent Native Advertising NetworkPin
Homepage screenshot of the RevContent Native Advertising Network

RevContent specs:

Revcontent is often called the top growing native advertising platform. They provide strict requirements for both publishers and advertisers. With 250B+ recommendations per month, 97% of U.S Households, 3.0% average CTR their reach will be your chances of reach!

Due to their high-quality standards, the vast majority of traffic generated from Revcontent native ads comes from Tier 1 countries like the USA and UK.

RevContent PROs

  • You can start advertising for only $100.
  • Users have a lot of control over campaign management.
  • Real-time performance metrics based on device type, website section, and content performance.
  • You can use dynamic retargeting.
  • Social algorithms, proprietary to Revcontent, would circulate its clients’ most engaging content based on key metrics, thus enhancing website page views.

RevContent CONs

  • Limited with a minimum daily budget of $100.
  • You can’t add more than one piece of content at a time.
  • Creative approval is quite slow.

Here is a tutorial created by RevContent for advertisers on how to launch and manage a campaign.

5. AdNow

>> Join the Adnow Native Advertising NetworkPin
>> Join the Adnow Native Advertising Network

AdNow Company Stats

AdNow is the fastest-growing ad network and has more than 160,000 partners in 114 different countries. According to their stats, Adnow serves 6 billion impressions per month and shows ads to almost 1 billion unique visitors. The best part about this network is, it’s super beginner-friendly.

This native advertising network was founded in 2014 and is very popular for its native content ads! They provide PPC and CPM and their unique ads that are in the form of widgets, displayed as part of the content related to the content, banners, and hybrid ads!

Adnow PROs

  • You can advertise on non-English sites as well.
  • Get access to smaller, niched publishers that you can’t have on other networks.
  • Offers advanced targeting options.
  • The support department is fast.

Adnow CONs

  • CPC is slightly slow for non-English sites.
  • Some publishers are questionable.

Would you like to know more about the Adnow Native Advertising network? Check the dedicated AdNow review or signup for an account right now.

9. How to Choose a Native Advertising Platform

When looking for the right ad platform for your company or business, you need to ensure that you consider all factors, including your website traffic, company advertising budget, nature of media or content you want to serve, and network type you are looking for.

Native Advertising - How to choose a native advertising networkPin
Native Advertising – How to choose a native advertising network

Here are some of the factors to consider when you choose a native advertising platform:

Setup Procedure

Ensure that the ad network you are going with offers the right setup procedure for you. For example, there are networks like that will require you to set up each website manually. Not to mention, each website will require separate approval from the network, making it a tedious and time-consuming process for advertisers.

Pricing Model

Advertisers also need to make sure that per click pricing is adequate according to your marketing budget. There can be different pricing models, including CPC and CPM. However, not all networks offer all of the pricing options. For instance, Outbrain doesn’t have support for the CPC model.

Quality of Ad

Although advertising networks can acquire ads to meet your native ad impressions, you need to remember that ad quality can vary quite a bit. Some fraudulent advertisers use these networks for traffic arbitrating purposes, which could take your visitors to fake landing pages. That’s why you must review the quality of the ads being served.

Ad Network Requirements

Review your stats and numbers before you make a final decision about choosing an ad network. Ensure that you have enough traffic, budget, and access to features you need before signing up for a big-name ad platform.

10. Native Advertising Best Practices


According to eMarketer, 88% of native ads were served to mobile devices in 2020. If that’s not the case to join in on that trend, we don’t know what is.

Your choice of the targeting options will depend on the goal you set.

If you want to reach more people and build brand awareness, go with the basic targeting options. Exclude irrelevant audiences by configuring audience locations, device types, or interests.

Split your campaigns by different variables to tailor campaign content for different audiences and see which demographics you should focus on. Later, when your campaign is live for some time, you can check out how it performs on different websites and exclude the least productive ones.

If aimed at lead acquisition, advertisers opt for retargeting or creating lookalike audiences – mind that the second option is available for US-based audiences only. If you target audiences from other countries, you’d better go with basic targeting options and optimize those that deliver the best performance.

Are you aiming to drive sales? Customers are 43% more likely to convert when they’re retargeted. It’s exceptionally effective to target users who have previously interacted with your ads or specific web pages.

Ad Creatives

Creatives are essential, but sometimes they are underrated by marketers. First, be careful with using photo-stock images. They are the easiest ones to get, but tons of other companies are using these images simultaneously.

Whether native advertising will be effective for you or not highly depends on the way your ad looks. The image is the first thing users see. Use high-quality and eye-catching thumbnails to get noticed.

We recommend that you test many different combinations of titles and thumbnails in your campaigns for better results.

Account manager

If you’re spending more than $1,000 per day, ask to speak with a managed account rep. They can offer you additional targeting settings on the back end like age ranges, retargeting, and additional audience segments.

11. Native advertising Takeaways

Native advertising is the future and represents a good alternative to display networks. That’s because visitors are sick and tired of seeing intrusive, non-related ads, so they became “ad blind. That’s why adblocker apps are getting more and more popular. In fact, in 2018, Google turned on the adblocker by default in the Chrome browser.

As an advertiser, you should use native advertising to build brand awareness, attract leads, drive sales, and strengthen customer loyalty. However, keep in mind that native advertising takes time to bring quality leads as the advertising networks have to find the best publishers for your ads. Measuring native ads’ performance can be quite troublesome.

There are many native advertising networks, but we selected the top 5 for you: Taboola, Outbrain, MGID, RevContent, AdNow. These networks allow you to access many publishers from niched, smaller ones to big names like CNN, Forbes, and MSN.


There you have it: our complete native advertising guide. You’ve learned what native advertising is, the most common native ads, and the PROs and CONs. We’ve shown you the top 5 native advertising networks and the best practices to start your 1st campaign.

Would you like to have this guide in a nice 27 well-formatted PDF? Also, to have access to our 20+ other premium resources? Then enter your name and your email address to access our premium area for subscribers.

Businesses are gravitating towards native advertising because of its ability to catch consumers’ attention and entice engagement. What’s your opinion? Native advertising is simply a fantastic business opportunity, or unethical and intrusive?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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About Stephan

Stephan J is the founder of and is making a living exclusively online since 2004. He tried and managed to make good profits on everything from Forex trading, options, website flipping, adsense, affiliate websites.His passions are cycling, fitness and he is spending a small fortune on watches and fine cigars

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[Ultimate 2021 Guide]
[Ultimate <span style="background-color: rgb(247, 218, 100);">2021</span> Guide]
[24 pages]
[<span style="background-color: rgb(247, 218, 100);">24 pages</span>]