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Native Advertising

The Official Definition

na·tive ad·ver·tis·ing

n. Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.


Native ads match the visual design of the experience they live within, and look and feel like natural content.



Native ads must behave consistently with the native user experience, and function just like natural content.

Leading Media Companies Monetize Their Content Feeds with Native Ads

The largest social platforms in the world monetize with native, in-feed ads, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. The publishing industry is quickly following suit, as companies such as Time Inc, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today, continue to introduce new advertising integrations on desktop and mobile that match both the form & function of their editorial feeds.


The IAB Native Advertising Task Force (co-chaired by Sharethrough CEO Dan Greenberg) established six core native ad formats.

The Role of Sponsored Content

Sometimes referred to as advertorials or even native ads, leading publishers have launched sponsored content studios to create content on behalf of brands. Publishers include venerable media brands such as Time Inc, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and The Guardian, as well as new media companies like Buzzfeed, Thought Catalog, Slate and many others. Check out the Sponsored Content Leaderboard to keep up with the best performing sponsored content.

Why Go Native?

People See Them 25% more consumers were measured to look at in-feed, native ad placements more than standard banners.

Viewed as Editorial Consumers looked at native ads 2% more than editorial content and spent the same number of seconds viewing.

Mobile Branding 97% of mobile media buyers report that native ads were very or somewhat effective at achieving branding goals.

Purchase Drivers Native ads registered 18% higher lift in purchase intent than banner ads.


Sharethrough’s proprietary research examines monetization and content marketing effectiveness and the digital advertising trends of the future.

A Neuroscience Perspective

Using neuroscience and eyetracking technology, Sharethrough and Nielsen studied how consumers visually process mobile ads. This first-of-its-kind research delivers new insights on visual attention in mobile feeds and how to maximize the impression value from mobile native ads.

In-Feed vs Banners

Native Video Ads vs Preroll

Native Advertising for Brand Content


Making Sense of Programmatic Native

An Industry Guide to OpenRTB 2.3

OpenRTB 2.3, a collection of advertising recommendations from the International Advertising Bureau, sets a standard for how native ads can be bought and sold through a real-time auction. With new support for native advertising, the OpenRTB 2.3 API and OpenRTB Dynamic Native Ads API provide a common language so developers can support the scaling of native ads.

OpenRTB 2.4 And Native 1.1, The New IAB Standards Fueling Programmatic Native

An update to the IAB standard for buying and selling native ads at scale was recently released for public comment. The spec, known as Native 1.1, is an extension of a larger update to the OpenRTB 2.3 protocol, soon to be 2.4, that in 2015 ushered in an era of standardization for native advertising: programmatic native.


A good infographic is worth a thousand words. Check out these data visualizations using data from our platform and our research.

The Science Behind Native Advertising

Native Ads vs Display Ads

The Rise of the Feed

Native Video Ads vs Preroll Video Ads


Native Ad Generator

The Native Ad Generator is an interactive tool that transforms any content url into a native ad.

Mobile Native Ad Examples

Desktop Native Ad Examples

Tablet Native Ad Examples

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