Why Is Everyone Talking About Native Ads?



If you work in or around technology, then most likely you’ve heard talk of native advertising. There are people rating against it, some arguing for it, and new rules and regulations coming out about it. So, why is everyone talking about native ads and why are the arguments getting so heated?

What are Native Ads?

Native ads are advertisements that match the “native” format of the platform or publication. So maybe you’re reading your daily news and you click on an article you think is written by the publication’s editorial staff, but it’s actually an article written by a brand promoting their product.

This type of ad can be seen on social media in the form of Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, Facebook’s Promoted Stories, and Tumblr’s Promoted Posts.

Why are Native Ads Controversial?

Since native advertisements are meant to blend in, many think this is misleading to the consumer; therefore, the FTC said native ads must be labeled as such. Now you’ll see “Sponsored Content”, “Ad Sponsorship”, “Promoted by (Company)”, etc. The problem is that a study found that about a quarter of readers didn’t realize an editorial staff member didn’t write the content, even though it was labeled in a clear way.

What is the Future of Native Ads?

Native ads are not going anywhere anytime soon:

These numbers are going to rise. And while for now the big companies are taking advantage of this trend, there is opportunity for smaller businesses as well. Inc. Magazine wrote an article on how the smaller companies can get in on this trend. Since native ads depend heavily on strong content, small- to mid-sized companies with talented writers can also have success with native ads.

Native ads are a big source of revenue for media outlets. Forbes for example requires that advertisers spend at least $250,000 on native ads. However, the company claims a money-back guarantee that refunds the advertisers cash if the native ads don’t work. Most likely more publications will offer guarantees such as this one in order to hang onto the big checks coming from big brands.

Is the Future Uniformity?

The FTC continues to give brands regulations on what a native ad entails, but so far there is no uniformity between the publications. So if a reader views an article on one publication called “Ad Content”, they may not realize the label “Sponsored Content” on the next publication means the same thing. It will be interesting to see if the FTC tackles the non-uniformity in order to make native ads more known to their viewers. For now, however, publications are under no obligations to label native ad content like everyone else.

Since we see no movement there, we should then focus the discussion on making relevant content with accurate ads. Native ads should allow the reader to understand that this is promoted content and still engage them to read on or view this promoted content because they are interested in the content itself.


  1. Hi Marcelo,

    Great article on Native Ads. They work really well, but they are definitely in the child phase right now. I wonder when things will get more strict around native ads.

    However, I totally agree on relevant content with relevant ads, because both advertisers and potential customers / readers benefit from this.

    Your quality score improves too, which helps to keep costs down.

    Thanks for sharing your insights on native advertising, Marcelo.

    Hope you have a great weekend.

    – Jasper
    Jasper Oldersom recently posted…How To Avoid Weak Statements That Leave People Cold and Get Readers to Care About Your WritingMy Profile

  2. Hey Marcelo,

    As a prominent Snapchat user (austiniuliano) I encounter native ads all day long. Let me just add as a user, native ads work. This is because I enjoy seeing the adds for the same reason the FTC calls them misleading. They blend in and don’t interrupt the flow of what I am doing.

    Small business need to utilize native ads too! Snapchat for example has a great advertising mechanism that is cost affordable for local establishments.
    Austin Iuliano recently posted…Depth over Width The ONLY Social Media Strategy You Need To Grow Your BrandMy Profile

  3. Hey Marcelo,
    You have raised an important question about native advertising. Its now a smart way of advertising for a product or service taking into consideration the form and function of the platform on which it it published.

    The future of native advertising is promising as long as it is delivering the needed value to the intended audience. In this case, the user experience and visual experience of the content must be natural.

    Nevertheless, despite the “plus” for Native advertising, it must not be misleading. A brand will automatically lose its credibility if it employs native advertising in the wrong way!
    Sunday William recently posted…[LIVE] Kingged.com’s Affiliate Marketing System Pays You Monthly, Whether You Make Sales Or Not.My Profile

  4. Well, with the controversy surrounding Native Ads handled by the FTC I guess it has allayed the fears of many consumers that ‘Native Advertising’ is not misleading as many of the Traditional Advertising we have in the past.

    For me, whenever, I come across a post labelled “sponsored” or “promoted” content, I see it as an advertisement. This applies to even Native advertisement.

    The FTC is doing a good job and marketers should always ensure there is always sincerity in promoting good advert and good editorial.

  5. Hmm! An instructive post Marcelo! Yes, Native ad should not be misleading rather, the reader should be made to understand whether what he is reading a sponsored or promoted ad or not.

    Native ad has come to stay and it is not going anywhere too some. It would only undergo revolution.

    Everyone is talking about Native ad because it not “misleading” or “interuptive” as traditional ads. The non-conformity feature of these contents makes them standout.

    Whether FTC intervenes on non-conformity feature or not, what matters is that user experience is enhanced and the value is provided.

  6. I am not too familiar with native ads, but they sound deceiving into generating revenue for the advertiser.

    I agree that ads should be clearly stated as such, unless the ad is an article itself. I have seen big publications like business insider publish these type of sponsored posts but even so, they are known to be sponsored.

    If people are interested in the content then they can click on the informative article. Ads should not be deceiving, but the bounce rate should truly prove if people are interested in the native ad if they didn’t know it was an ad.
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