What is an ad, and what isn’t? Can we trust this website? “Oh! This story looks great - let me check it out!”

Have you ever said this online?

Probably - odds are you have seen headlines such as “90s Actors.. See What They Look Like Now” or “Rob Gronkowski Wears These Shoes Everyday, Buy Them Now!”.

If so - you can say thank you to native advertisers. Do you know those little sections under news articles? Yup, that’s them!

Most of the time making outrageous claims - but it is also one of the most profitable models online if done correctly.

In this article, we will take a look at native advertising, what makes them what they are and how you can harness their power to grow your business online.

What Is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is a paid form of online advertising where catchy ads are embedded underneath articles or premium and/or highly trafficked domains.

Inherently observing the user pathway so they examine part of the site, instead of having any superficial element added.

Meaning that all native ad offers are plainly tagged with branded messages. The goal here is to create a cohesive environment for users - don’t switch it up too much on them.

How Are Native Ads Different From Other Ad Types?

Native advertising itself is such an expansive concept - most say too general - within this marketing channel you can learn endless techniques on where and how to attain targeted users the cheapest.

You can categorize native ads into PPC containers on Yahoo, Google, Bing, and more. 

An in-feed ad standard native element unit is most common. This essentially means running a content class ad within a specific placement.

Content recommendation units are those related content units found at the bottom of articles. 

Again - these native ads could include headlines such as

  • Top 90s Actors… See What They Look Like Now
  • Top 50 States Ranked In Order Of Intelligence
  • [City] Residents Are Losing It Over This Mobile Hack
  • Colleges Don’t Want You To Know This Tip When Applying

Catchy Headlines

When it comes to writing headlines for native advertising your main starting KPI should be your click-through rate (CTR). Your CTR is simply the percentage of impressions shown versus the clicks your ad receives.

Another thing to consider when running native ads is most of the time you will be targeting cold or barely warm traffic - so you need to get their attention. 

These users DID NOT search for you in any way, so your job is to suck them into your funnel with the catchy headline. 

Here are some of the top headline angles you can take to better grab eyeballs.

  • Funny - making users laugh creates interest, and interest creates clicks.
  • Thought Provoking - making users think means you got their attention, capitalize on this which is the perfect offer
  • Shocking - headlines so dramatic or crazy that users cannot help but click on them.

Native advertising is a double-edged sword in the sense that users are on websites absorbing content but why should they leave, CNN for example, to check out your mini AC offer?

Thought Provoking Creatives

What gets eyeballs? Weird that we’re asking, right? I know, but the name of the game here is attention-grabbing.

As previously mentioned, your CTR is your initial indicator of whether or not your ad is a “winner” for lack of better terms.

Here are some tips you can use when making your own creatives

  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here - see what your competitors are doing and make it better (us marketers always know one thing that can improve an ad right?!)
  • Eyeballs get eyeballs - using close-ups with attractive individuals where users can essentially “make eye contact” with your ad has evergreen effects across most verticals.
  • Minimize the use of text. 
  • Remember that native ad containers are small, plus most users will most likely be on a mobile device so cramming text into an already small ad is hard to read.
  • Use an image that is close to (or is) the first photo users see on your landing page - cohesiveness between your ad and splash page is imperative because users don’t want to feel deceived.

Who Should Use Native Advertising?

The short answer - is anyone. Companies that have or do not have online revenue attribution models can always benefit from native advertising as long as they have something valuable to offer a broad audience.

Those who benefit from native advertising the most are eCommerce companies, affiliate networks, as well as lead generation (i.e. financial, real estate, etc).

How To Spot Native Advertising In The Wild

Native advertisers does a good job of blending in. What do we mean by this?

Well, simply put, our job as marketers that run native ads is that have our content blend is but also stand out enough to grab users.

For example, if we want to use Outbrain or Taboola to run native ads on a premium network of publishers such as CNN, ABC Today, ESPN, and hundreds more, we want our creatives and headlines to match the exact of the publisher but also interesting enough to read.

This takes us back to “not reinventing the wheel” - when you are creating your campaign, browse popular publishers on desktop and mobile to see what others are doing in the industry.

What Are Some Top Publishers

These are a plethora of platforms that offer native advertising - however if you are new to the game our recommendation is to check out Outbrain and Taboola.

Outbrain, which positioned itself as a platform for content marketing and discovery. Turned into one of the largest (if not the largest) native platforms to date. 

Just like Outbrain - its competitor Taboola was initially formed in Israel (now located in NYC) and has seen double-digit growth for nearly 10 quarters. 

This rapid growth is a key factor fueling the newly-found growth in the realm of native advertising. 

Today, Taboola has raised roughly $200 million stemming from multifarious private equity sources.

Popular Industry Verticals That Excel With Native Ads

All the major global news & media companies run either Outbrain or Taboola widgets or both. 

It’s no surprise where you should start - both platforms make it extremely simple to learn the dashboard.

This is where the majority of the traffic is coming from - if you start noticing, above the ads you will see “Smartfeed” or “Taboola” which indicates a sponsored placement (shown below in mobile format).

When it comes to native advertising, even though you are mostly targeting a cold audience, you can use some insights from Google Analytics to improve the rate of optimization (expedite the learning phase).

Just like Facebook, both Outbrain and Taboola have their own audience “interest” targeting you can select from - this helps get more granular while pushing ads to millions.

As an advertiser your conversion rate optimization efforts are simplified thanks to this., you are able to target audience segments based on their interest. 

Believe it or not, Outbrain/Taboola will help your campaigns with smart machine-learning to emphasize your ads on the placements matching your affinity targets.

Below are 10 common verticals found on both platforms:



Home & Lifestyle




Technology & Internet

Business & Finance



Examples Of Native Advertising In 2022

So - what do these things look like?! We’ve been talking about native ads for the past 5 minutes within showing you.

Below are a few examples of how native advertising can and should be used. Notice how the content within each ad is cohesive to the content of each publisher. 

Knowing your audience is only one step of this process - gaining their eyeballs is another battle in itself.

Outbrain & Taboola Ad Container (Mobile Device)

Free Native Advertising Demo

Interested in learning more about native advertising? 

Let’s chat and see how we can help the growth of your online business via native advertising with the machine-learning AI power of Cortex.

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Tyler Torcivia
Meet Tyler Torcivia - Born In Allentown, PA and resident of Sarasota has been a member of the AdRizer team since the start of 2021.