GTM Dictionary

The Go-to-Market Dictionary: Native Advertising

Learn all about native advertising and how it can help your business succeed with our comprehensive Go-to-Market Dictionary.

Advertising is a cornerstone of any successful business, and in today's digital age, there are many ways to reach potential customers. One of the most popular and effective methods is native advertising. In this article, we'll explore what it is, the types of native ads available, the benefits of using them, and some of the challenges and considerations involved.

Understanding Native Advertising

Native advertising is a form of paid media that is designed to look and feel like the editorial content of the platform on which it appears. The goal is to provide a seamless experience for the user rather than jarring them out of their content consumption.

Definition and Key Concepts

Native advertising offers a way to promote a product or service without interrupting the user experience. Instead of traditional banners or pop-ups, native ads are integrated into the platform's content.

One of the key concepts of native advertising is that it is designed to match the look and tone of the hosting platform. The content will mimic the style and format of the website or app, whether it's a news article, social media post, or a blog post.

Another important concept of native advertising is that it is often created by the platform's own editorial team, rather than the advertiser. This ensures that the content is high-quality and relevant to the platform's audience, while still promoting the advertiser's product or service.

The Evolution of Native Advertising

Native advertising has been around for longer than you might think. In the earliest days of newspapers, ads were placed alongside editorial content in a similar way, designed to look and feel like part of the paper. This approach continued through the emergence of digital media, and over time, it has become a popular way for advertisers to reach audiences who are becoming increasingly resistant to traditional advertising formats.

As the internet has evolved, so too has native advertising. Today, native ads can be found on a wide range of platforms, from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to news websites and mobile apps. They can take many forms, including sponsored posts, recommended content, and in-feed ads.

One of the reasons for the rise of native advertising is the increasing use of ad-blockers by consumers. Traditional banner ads and pop-ups are often blocked by these tools, making it difficult for advertisers to reach their target audience. Native ads, on the other hand, are less likely to be blocked, as they are integrated into the platform's content and are often less intrusive.

Overall, native advertising offers advertisers a way to reach their target audience in a way that is less disruptive and more engaging than traditional advertising formats. As the internet continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see even more innovative forms of native advertising emerge.

Types of Native Advertising

Native advertising is a form of advertising that blends seamlessly with the content of the platform it appears on, making it less intrusive and more engaging for users. It covers a broad range of formats, from social media posts to sponsored content videos. Below are some of the most common forms of native ads:

In-Feed Ads

In-feed ads are a popular form of native advertising that appear within a stream of content, such as a news feed on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. They are often labeled as "Promoted" or "Sponsored" content so users can identify them as being different from organic content. In-feed ads can take the form of images, videos, or text, and are designed to blend in with the other content in the feed.

One advantage of in-feed ads is that they are highly targeted, based on factors such as user demographics, interests, and behaviors. This means that advertisers can reach their desired audience with precision, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored content is another popular form of native advertising that appears on a website's main editorial content. While the site retains editorial control, the sponsored content mimics the style and format of the editorial content. This allows the advertiser to reach the site's audience in a more subtle and engaging way than traditional display ads.

One advantage of sponsored content is that it can be highly engaging and informative, providing value to the user beyond just promoting a product or service. For example, a sponsored article on a travel website might provide tips and insights on a particular destination, while also promoting a hotel or airline.

Branded Content

Branded content is a form of sponsored content that goes a step further. Rather than simply being related to the host site's content, branded content is created specifically for the advertiser. This can include articles, videos, podcasts, or other types of content, designed to promote a product or service in a subtle way.

One advantage of branded content is that it allows advertisers to tell a story and connect with users on a deeper level. By creating content that is both informative and entertaining, advertisers can build brand awareness and loyalty, while also promoting their products or services.

Product Placement

Product placement is an old approach that has been revived in a new format. This method involves promoting a product or service within content, such as a movie or TV show. The idea is that the audience sees the product being used or worn on-screen and, as a result, becomes more likely to purchase it themselves.

Product placement can be a highly effective form of native advertising, as it allows advertisers to reach a captive audience in a non-intrusive way. However, it can also be controversial, as some viewers may feel that it compromises the integrity of the content.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a form of native advertising that involves partnering with individuals who have a large following on social media. The influencer can then promote the advertiser's product or service in their content, presenting it to their followers in a more organic way.

One advantage of influencer marketing is that it allows advertisers to tap into the trust and credibility that influencers have built with their followers. By partnering with an influencer who is relevant to their brand, advertisers can reach a highly engaged and targeted audience, increasing the chances of conversion.

However, influencer marketing can also be risky, as the authenticity of the endorsement can be called into question if it is not done in a transparent and ethical way.

Benefits of Native Advertising

Native advertising is a type of paid advertising that blends in seamlessly with the content of the hosting platform. It has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its numerous benefits for both advertisers and users. Here are some of the main advantages:

Increased Engagement

One of the primary benefits of native advertising is that it can significantly increase engagement. Since native ads are designed to match the look and feel of the platform's content, users are more likely to engage with them. They may be more inclined to read an article or watch a video if it appears to be an organic part of the platform's content. This can lead to higher click-through rates and more meaningful interactions between users and advertisers.

For example, a native ad for a new skincare product may be presented as an article about the benefits of using natural ingredients in skincare. Users who are interested in skincare may be more likely to read the article and engage with the brand, leading to increased awareness and potential sales.

Better Brand Awareness

Native advertising is also an effective way to increase brand awareness. Since many users engage more readily with native ads than traditional forms of advertising, the brand is more likely to stick in their minds. This can lead to greater recall and recognition of the brand, even after the user has left the platform.

For example, a native ad for a new line of athletic wear may be presented as a video featuring athletes wearing the clothing while performing impressive feats. Users who are interested in fitness and sports may be more likely to remember the brand and consider purchasing the clothing in the future.

Improved User Experience

Another advantage of native advertising is that it offers a better user experience than traditional banners or pop-ups that interrupt the user experience. By providing content that is useful and engaging, advertisers are more likely to create positive associations with their brand.

For example, a native ad for a new travel app may be presented as a list of the top travel destinations for the summer. Users who are interested in travel may find the content useful and engaging, leading to a more positive perception of the brand.

Higher Conversion Rates

Native advertising has been shown to have higher conversion rates than traditional forms of advertising. Since users are more engaged with the content, they are more likely to click through to the advertiser's website and potentially make a purchase or sign up for a service.

For example, a native ad for a new meal delivery service may be presented as a recipe for a healthy and delicious meal. Users who are interested in healthy eating may be more likely to click through to the website and sign up for the service, leading to increased sales and revenue for the advertiser.

In conclusion, native advertising offers numerous benefits for both advertisers and users. By providing content that is useful, engaging, and seamlessly integrated with the hosting platform, advertisers can increase engagement, improve brand awareness, enhance the user experience, and achieve higher conversion rates.

Challenges and Considerations

While native advertising offers many benefits, there are some challenges and considerations to keep in mind.

Transparency and Disclosure

A key consideration with native advertising is the need for transparency. Advertisers must label their content clearly so that users can identify it as an ad. This is not only an ethical consideration but also is now a legal requirement in some countries due to new laws around transparency and disclosure.

Ad Blockers

Increasingly, users are using ad blockers to avoid seeing ads online, which could reduce the effectiveness of native advertising. Advertisers must keep in mind that they need to maintain consumers' trust and deliver content that users want to see, rather than spammy or irrelevant ads that fuel the trend of ad-blocking software.

Balancing Content Quality and Promotion

Advertisers need to balance the need to promote their brand with the need to provide high-quality content. Native ads should be useful, entertaining, or informative and should not rely solely on selling products or services. The more engaging the content, the more likely users are to engage with it.


Native advertising is a rapidly growing form of paid media, and for good reason. With its ability to blend into platforms seamlessly and offer users a better experience, it offers many advantages for advertisers. However, there are also key considerations to keep in mind, such as transparency and balancing content quality and promotion. By being aware of these challenges and taking steps to address them, businesses can leverage the power of native advertising to reach new audiences and create positive brand associations.