What is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is a form of advertising that integrates high-quality content into the organic experience of a given platform. Native ad units conform to the design and feel of the sites on which they display, preserving the immersive user-experience while producing click-through rates like that of editorial content.

We don't think of "Native Advertising" as the currently abused buzzword applied to anything that isn't a banner. We're redefining it as something scalable and superior. It's the intersection of beautifully customized native content delivery and the power of programmatic technology.

What is Programmatic Native Advertising?

Programmatic native advertising serves each ad unit on an impression-by-impression level and leverages real-time data and decision making to ensure that the most relevant ad is placed on each site, creating a unique user-experience.

Forms of Native Advertising

The term native advertising is broad and continues to evolve. When it first emerged, it was seen as a modern version of the advertorial. It's now viewed as a separate channel designed to deliver high-quality, value-adding branded content. In its Native Advertising Playbook, IAB mentions the core six forms of native advertising. We believe most of them can be broken down into three categories.

In-feed Native Advertising

Pioneered by companies like Facebook and Twitter, in-feed native advertising is the most common form of native ad. The primary reason for its wide adoption is its "mobile-first" approach and ability to drive users to advertisers' owned media properties. It includes promoted listings and paid results.

Content Recommendation Widgets

Content discovery widgets are typically found at the bottom of an article. Largely seen as a means for publishers to drive traffic and monetize their content, some advertisers see value in reaching a wide audience in a cost-effective manner through content recommendation.

Custom Content

Often brands seek publishers' expertise in producing high-quality, engaging content. Custom content (or sponsored content) is hosted on a publisher's website. For the purpose of audience extension, brands are often leverage in-feed native ads to source audiences from across the entire web.

How can you leverage Native Ads?

As per a study done by eMarketer, 73% of US media buyers now invest in native advertising - and rightfully so. According to a study done at IPG Media Lab, native advertising beats banner ads on every engagement metric, from increasing brand favourability to lift in purchase intent.

The top objectives for native advertising continue to be brand awareness, brand affinity, and purchase intent.

Leading Marketing Objectives for Mobile and Tablet Native Ads according to US digital Advertising Professional, Aug 2013 (% of respondents)

Source: Sharethrough, *2013 Native Media Survey Results. Sep 16, 2013 www.eMarketer.com





Brand Affinity


Purchase Intent


Customer Acquisition


Thought Leadership


Lead Generation




Leading Marketing Objectives for Mobile and Tablet Native Ads according to US digital Advertising Professional, Aug 2013 (% of respondents)

Source: Sharethrough, *2013 Native Media Survey Results. Sep 16, 2013 www.eMarketer.com















Native Advertising Adoption in Numbers

The market research provider estimated that US native ad spending came in at $1.5 billion in 2012 and expected this to rise drastically through 2018, where it should reach $8.8 billion.

Of the US media buyers polled by TripleLift and Digital Media Review (DMR) in May 2014, 73% employed native advertising. Usage should be even more impressive in the coming years as 67% planned to increase native ad efforts in the future.

US Native ad spending, 2012 - 2018 (billion and % change)

Source: Socintel360 as cited in company blog, Sep 1, 2014

Native ad spending% of change

StackAdapt has been one of the best native ad platforms we have used to date. A+ client service accompanied by an easy to use reporting dashboard that has helped us stay up to date with what our media dollars are actually accomplishing.

Ash Sanh
Digital Media Specialist
I have personally tested multiple Native DSP solutions and none have been able to compete with StackAdapt's suite of tools, tech and performance.

Todd Meadow
Associate Manager
What I like the best is the support I receive from StackAdapt. It may be self-serve, but I know that I still have experts looking in on my campaigns and catching things I may have missed, or tips on optimization.

Cherie Raymond
Group Media Director