Native Advertising

Native advertising: Why does it work?

, 15 March 2018

Native advertising is a format in which the advertising experience is in harmony with the medium on which it appears. It’s basically promotional content designed to integrate naturally with the rest of the content distributed by the media, both in form and substance (editorial line). A concrete example is the sponsored article, which we’ve already spoken a lot about on this blog.

This form of advertising is so popular that it might account for three-quarters of the online advertising market by 2021, according to a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. What can explain such a phenomenal success? You’ll find the answers in this post.

1- Contextual targeting

Of course online advertising didn’t wait for native advertising to target users accurately. Yet the targeting criteria for native advertising are less restrictive and more pragmatic. Consequently, a sponsored article on an angling site targets all the followers of this sport, whatever their gender, their age, or the social networks they have signed up to.

The example of angling is obvious, but the use of native advertising may require brands to ask the following question: which sites are regularly checked out by my target of choice? This is an increasingly important aspect to include in the definition of your Personas.

2- A pleasant user experience

Banner ads and similar pop-ups interfere with the user experience. Besides, nobody clicks any more on traditional banner ads. A recurring fun fact is this unreliable but symbolic statistic: you are more likely to die in an air crash than to click on a banner. By the way, when’s the last time you clicked on one? Ages ago, probably.


Native advertising fits into the content feed in a user-friendly way, and is better received by the user. (Photo credit : Brooke Cagle, Unsplash)

3- A format that is difficult to ignore

Eye-tracking studies have demonstrated it: in mature markets like Europe, Internet users’ eyes are no longer even directed to banner ads, wherever they are on the page. It is not even a conscious attempt at avoidance, but an automatic reaction, the brain having been trained for years to avoid them.


The user’s gaze doesn’t avoid native advertising because the brain does not equate it with an intrusive element. (Photo credit : Victor Freitas, Pexels)

Native ads, on the other hand, are hard to ignore, as they naturally blend in with the rest of the content. In any case, the format is too recent and sophisticated for the brain to already know how to avoid it automatically.

4- Beats the ad blockers

11% of internet users have installed an ad blocker. In France, according to Reuters, this proportion is 31% of Internet users! And that’s only going to increase. Google is currently rolling out a new version of Chrome, the most popular internet browser, including a native ad blocker.


Chrome will now block pop-ups, interstitials, auto-play videos, and bulky banners. (Source: Coalition for Better Ads )

Adblock and similar add-ons have so far been unable to identify and censor native advertising. And that’s not expected to change soon, as native advertising is considered as a non-intrusive format.

5- A flourishing offer

Most major media now propose native advertising. Other more specialized sites are registered on dedicated platforms like, through which they are put in contact with advertisers.


Even Le Monde has started native advertising, here for IBM.. (Source : Take Part Media)

Similarly, there’s no reason why you can’t contact a blogger operating on a specific niche to propose a sponsored article, even if they have never done one before: you could simply be their first client!

Native advertising is set to progressively become the norm on the internet, both on PC and mobile. This is fortunate for both usersfor their browsing comfortand for brands, who benefit from a renewed interest in their promotional content.


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