Native advertising is a term applied to many different types of media. The umbrella definition for native advertising as laid out by the IAB 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.
The IAB established six core native ad formats:
- In-feed (e.g. Facebook and Twitter)
- Paid search (e.g. Google AdWords)
- Recommendation widgets (e.g. Outbrain and Taboola)
- Promoted Listings (e.g. Amazon and Etsy)
- In-Ad (e.g. Appssavvy)
- Custom Content
The in-feed style was originally pioneered by social platforms like Facebook and Twitter and was first brought to content publishers by Sharethrough. These units, as the name suggests, appear directly within a feed of content and contain the same atomic elements as the content around it (headlines, thumbnails and descriptions):
On the Sharethrough Exchange (STX), every placement has the same elements and only shows one ad per impression:
The inclusion of these elements directly in content feeds where users are discovering stories make in-feed ads perfect for marketers to influence brand perception. For more examples of in-feed placements, please see Sharethrough's Native Ad Generator.