The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Native Advertising

MediaGo Staff | 05/28/2021

If you’ve happened upon this blog post, it’s safe to say you have at least a passing interest in native advertising. Perhaps you’re looking for more insight into what native ads can and cannot accomplish. And more likely than not, you’ve had your own experiences online that have shaped your view of native ads – for better or worse. No matter the situation, our goal is to help you understand the positives and negatives – the good, the bad, and the ugly – of native ads. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to figure out the most effective approach to utilize this unique format and help your business grow.

The Ugly

Just like the film, let’s start off with The Ugly. Because native ads are designed to look like organic content (and are in fact displayed alongside such content), people sometimes associate them with deceptive practices. After all, why would you mimic organic content unless you’re trying to gain a few misplaced clicks, right? This is an unfortunate and undeserved stigma. In reality, deceptive practices don’t go far in the world of native ads.

Native ads work best when they provide interesting, relevant content to users, and when they’re transparent about the fact that they’re advertisements. In fact, prospective customers are often turned off by deceptive ads. Nobody likes the feeling of being tricked. But if your content is useful and interesting, people will gladly read it – even with the knowledge that it’s promotional in nature. And your brand will benefit as people start to associate it with trustworthy content.

The Bad

Native ads are a content-driven form of advertising. The format thus relies on a significant amount of marketing copy – normally written in the form of a news article. This requires an upfront time investment to write the copy and design any associated images. In addition, you’ll want to research search keywords to make sure your product landing page is SEO-optimized. All of this work takes time and energy. But once you have a solid piece of content in hand, it will pay off in spades, as it will drive great engagement and conversion rates time and time again.

The Good

There’s a good reason that native ads have been around for a long time. Simply put, they work! 

For starters, native ads provide a good content experience for users. This is an important distinction from other types of ads, because it means that everyone – from the advertiser to the consumer – is benefiting. And because native ads integrate content in a logical, meaningful way, Google’s algorithm favors them.

Native ads are also quite engaging. This is evidenced by a higher average CTR for native ads in comparison to display ads. They’re simply more interesting to read, because they provide real value to the reader.

Additionally, native ads help build brand affinity and can more effectively nudge people towards making a purchase. Keep in mind that users make a conscious decision to click on native ads and read through them. After they take the time to read your content, it’s that much easier for them to warm up to the idea of purchasing your product. This holds true even when consumers know that your content is promotional.

We hope this high-level rundown of native ads helped you get a better idea of how to best leverage this unique format in your next campaign. Remember to check back in on the MediaGo blog for more guidance on digital advertising.