Search Engine Marketing

Are Native Ads Becoming Threat to Traditional Display Advertising?

Display advertising is been in the market since Search Engines were invented. Display networks are still popular in the digital world as they have huge reach across the globe. Google display network is world’s number one ad network and advertisers are daily spending million dollars every day to promote their product or services. Search network of search engines have limited reach as ads are shown by search queries. Display network is huge as thousands of sites are associated with display network so advertisers have better chance to show ads to millions of users worldwide.

Traditional Display Networks:

  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • Chitika
  • Infolinks
  • Epom Market
  • Revcontent

Types of Ads offered by Display Networks:

  • Text
  • Image
  • Video
  • Contextual
  • Animated

What are Native Ads:

native article ads

Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form (like news article) and function of the user experience in which it is placed. Native ads are promoted like news article so users click on ads and think that they are clicking on news article. The landing pages used in native ads do look like news article where we can’t talk only about product or services we are offering. The article is written in such a way that it looks like news article and enquiry form is placed at the end of article or it is hyperlinked somewhere in the article.


Let’s take an example here:

Yahoo Native Ads


Native ads are getting more popular these days and advertisers are spending more money on native ads to get more relevant users on the website. Native ads are different than traditional display ads where ads are shown to irrelevant audience sometimes. Advertisers have to tackle bidding in order to get higher position on managed placements (a list of websites where we want our ads to be shown). You can manipulate the ad ranking on Native Ad network.

Why Native Ads are becoming threat to traditional display advertising?

Native ads are cost effective than display ads and are shown to users like news article. Users prefer to read news article rather than display banner ads. You can’t control websites if you are not promoting campaign through managed placements in display ads. More than 50% of ads impressions are shown to irrelevant audience as display network are huge where millions of sites are affiliated. So it is difficult to target audience using keywords, website, web categories etc. I have run ads on display network by using managed placement but I hardly got good visibility and clicks. The quality of leads generated through display network is bad most of the times.

Native ads are best option to traditional display advertising as native ads network target users based on following criteria:

Behavioral Targeting: Users are exposed to ads based on their behavior. Users are categories based on which news content they consume. A user may be interested in finance, real estate, business, politics, sports, entertainment etc. In this way user buckets are created.

Cookies: Browser cookies are tracked based on users browsing history. If user is interested to frequently see ads related to entertainment section then user is more exposed to entertainment related ads. Native ad networks review the users’ behavior every week as most of the users delete history and cookies every day or every week.

Device Targeting: Some native ad networks are offering device targeting because advertisers are getting good number of clicks and leads from mobile devices. They are running ads specifically on Android, iOS, WAP devices. They are still working on specific device targeting e.g. expensive android and iOS devices.

How native ads are helping Real Estate Developers?

I recently promoted real estate project through Colombia Ad Network which is owned by Times Internet Limited. I specifically target news sites of Times’ network by geo targeting and result was outstanding. We wanted ads to be shown to users interested in Real Estate, Finance and Business section of Mumbai location. We got descent number of leads at best cost and quality of leads was better than display network. Now, we are spending more money on Native Ads than traditional display ads to show ads to limited number of news sites by behavioral targeting. Native ads can be a threat to traditional display ads in future.


Display ads network need to work very hard to show ads to more relevant audience which they are lacking right now. Native ad network identified these issues we always tackle while running display ads. Native ads help us to reach right audience at right time. The targeting of native ads is much better than display ad network. Display advertisers like Google, Yahoo, Infolinks, Chitika etc. should work very hard in terms of user targeting and it will help them to win advertisers’ trust.

Anurag, with more than 7 years experience in the field of Digital Marketing, is a B.E (IT) from Mumbai University. Currently pursuing an MBA, he has over the years mastered the art and science of targeting the online customer, be it through SEO, SEM, SMM or other online media. A certified professional in Google Adwords & Analytics and Hubspot, he brings tremendous value and thinking to brands that want to optimize the use of the online medium.

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