So we’re back on the trendy topic of native advertising. But this time, we’ll discuss some of the basic facts about native advertising and how it plays into the affiliate marketing space of today.

Native Advertising – The Definition

Defining native advertising is turning out to be surprisingly difficult. Many agencies like to put the label “native” on virtually anything.

But the best way to look at it is probably this:

Native ads is all advertising that is so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong (source).

Types of Units

There are 5 main types of native ads units:

1. In-feed units.

The best example comes from Facebook:

2. Paid search units.

Yes, AdWords is a type of native advertising for

3. Recommendation widgets.

Widely used on sites like Outbrain:

4. Promoted listings.

E.g. Etsy.

5. Custom.

Ads that don’t fall under any of the above. E.g. complete advertorial articles.

Deciding If an Ad is Native and Worth Your Investment

Here are the questions worth asking:

  • How does the ad fit with the overall page design?
  • Does the ad functions like the other elements on the page in which it is placed? Does it deliver the same type of content experience?
  • How well do the ad unit’s behaviors match those of the surrounding content?
  • Is the ad placement guaranteed on a specific page, section, or site, or will it be served broadly?
  • What metrics are used to judge success?


Like all advertising, native ads should be disclosed.

Some terms that are popular: “Advertisement,” “Ad,” “Promoted,” “Sponsored,” “Suggested.” Usually, one word is enough (double check with your local regulations).

Using Whole Advertorials

Using just small native ads units is pretty much very similar to the traditional model of online advertising. The only difference is that those units fit better with the design and the overall experience.

However, advertorials are somewhat new in this space and have an entirely different presentation.

An advertorial is a piece of content that has been created to promote a given offer, while at the same time looking like any other piece of content published on the site.

In other words, if you manage to publish a sponsored post promoting your offer on a popular blog then this will be a native ad.

This is often the most effective type of native ads and something you should certainly try out in your marketing.

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