How You Can Use Native Advertising in a Startup

Zhanna Kolesnik

Advertising is as old as mankind. Or even older, if we look at the animals’ mating dances as at advertising of their advantages. We know about commercial messages and politician companies in ancient Egypt and Pompeii. Many famous writers mentioned advertising in their novels as a part of a plot, which sometimes has own role and influence on novels characters’ destiny and behavior.

9.5 min read

In everyday life, we consume and produce advertisement. Just imagine a mother who tries to make her baby eat one more spoon of boiled broccoli: she pretends a spoon is a plane and does many other things and tricks to make her baby swallow it.

Individuals and companies are working on making goods or services more attractive for potential customers. All of the means are good in the war for the customers' attention. Road billboards, TV-shows, and movies tell us how much we need a new soap or how important it is to take part in elections. Yes, social advertising also is a part of life and a powerful tool to shape public opinion.

Is it possible to create something new to make Advertising more attractive? Let's figure it out:

Read on:

Traditional Advertising Online is Getting Irritating

Blinking banners and screen pop-ups are turning into irritation source for the end user. He/she does not want the Youtube video to be interrupted with the promotion of yogurt or shampoo or new movie trailer.

Besides, because of the so-called ad and click frauds, traditional advertising is becoming less productive. Click fraud happens when a web page code contains a script that automatically imitates a click as if it was made by a real user. Click fraud helps to increase CTR (click-through-rate), but does not cause real increase in purchases.

Anyway, the majority of users are not ready to see a number of ad banners on the screen or to fight ad pop-ups watching Youtube videos. Where there’s demand, there’s supply, and today any user has a wide choice of extensions like AdBlock that help to avoid online advertising no matter the operating system or device.

Because of AdBlock users, the advertising companies are losing their revenue. According to Informa Group research, the revenue losses caused by ad-blocking up to 2020 will be about $10.5 billion in USA, subject to countermeasures to the ad-blocking thread, and up to $78 billion if nothing changes. The most optimistic prediction, in case of active countermeasures, is about $16 billion of revenues losing globally.

The reason website visitors use ad-block - they want to improve their browsing user experience (UX). They do not think about revenue at all. Too many ad banners and pop-ups on a website page are real trouble for those who have low internet speed, besides interrupting ads also worsen the UX.

The problem of slow internet could be partially resolved by websites optimization and decreasing the number of interrupting ads. It helps to improve user experience, but not to avoid ad-blockers. There is no way, however, to somehow tame informational fatigue and attention shattering brought about by too aggressive ads.

The easiest, though not the most successful way to make website visitors abandon ad-blockers is to close a website for Adblock users and to ask them to disabled ad-blockers to be let in. Many website owners and publishers use this way, but it is not the best one since users’ aim isn’t to make to lose but to improve their user experience.

Native Advertising as a part of content

The more successful way to make people pay attention to the ad is to make it less intrusive, to present advertisement as a part of the content - to make it “native”. According to the Wiki definition, native is the type of advertising “that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears. In other words, it is a part of the content of a website (since native advertising is the most online type of advertising).

This idea is not new, in 1915 Cadillac posted an ad in The Saturday Evening Post, without mentioning the brand name, but telling about a powerful car and its owner. Elvis Presley kept a framed copy of this ad in his office. No need to say, he was a big fan of Cadillac.

First Native Ad Example

Back to nowadays, online media are getting very popular as a platform for native advertising articles, blog posts, etc. They provide an opportunity for their users to integrate into their content their content: advertising articles, blog posts, etc . Social networks also make native advertising a part of their content, and it works.

In numbers:

Native Advertising Infographics

One of the most important features of native advertising is its valuable content. It could be entertaining, educational or the mix of both, but no matter what, it should be attractive.

A nice example of such a mix of educational and entertainment features is the Waze’s paid post at “The New York Times”.

The post shares some interesting facts, like the increase in driving time and speed in Austin during SXSW (South By Southwest - the annual conglomerate of music, film festivals, conferences, etc), and it is based on the data given by GPS-navigation software Waze. The post does not advertise Waze product, but shows how useful it is.

Some of the good examples of native advertising invite users to take part in a game, to answer test or survey questions, e.g. to find out if you are ready for the coming hypothetical apocalypse and to propose you a good heater to survive, using the product it is advertising.

Types of Native Advertising

  • In-Feed Units - the type of the native advertising you can see scrolling your Facebook or Twitter or any other newsfeed. It is a part of the timeline, it looks like a part of the content, according to the native advertising definition, and it satisfies the requirements of both advertisers and publishers and does not look intrusive as banners or pop-ups.

Native Ad in Social Net Timeline

  • Paid Search Ads - is the kind of advertising you can see every time you use any of the search engines, like Google, Yahoo, Bing. etc. Paid Search Ads appear on the top of the search result. Usually, it has a special mark “Ad” and depends not only on the search keywords but also on your location, food or other preferences you have shown before.

Native Ad Search Engine result

  • Promoted Listings - this kind of native advertising is like eBay sponsored items. This ad type does not have editorial content, but it is designed to fit seamlessly with the browsing experience. It is typically used by e-commerce sites to feature sponsored products, and it looks native to the products already listed on the given site.

Sponsored Native Ad

  • Recommendation Widgets - when you see something like: “recommended for you” or “you may like it”, at the end of an article, it is the recommendation widget. Recommendations are usually based on the content of the article or your previous search keywords. Publishers who want to increase their audience use this kind of advertising, they distribute the content by recommending it on the site with like-minded readers.

Medium Recommendation Widget as Native Ad

  • In-Ad with Native Element Units - is the kind of ads published in the perfect context, e.g., a company that produces car tires promotes its product on the blog about cars, like Cartalk and “Original Prius Tires”

Blog post as Native Ad

  • Custom Ads - this term defines all other kinds of native advertising that do not have any specific format, at least for now.

A Chair or a Hat as a Native Advertising Item. Any Chances?

Well, as we have already found out, social networks timeline could be used for native advertising needs and promoting a chair or any other interior items. In this case, the ad is a part of the content, but it is not interactive. What if we try to make “CatDog” or rather “PinterestFittingRoom” and make the chair a part of the Pinterest-like platform using the possibilities of a fitting room functionality?


We have written about a Pinterest like application in one of our previous articles. Pinterest is a web platform where users may collect pictures, gifs, videos and arrange them in boards. Pinterest also suggests to its users-business owners to use the platform for promoting. It is mostly Recommendation Widgets type of native advertising.For example, if you are looking for knitting inspiring pictures, you will be recommended knitting tools or schemas pictures.

Online fitting room

Fitting room for an online shop is not advertising essentially, but the idea the customer gets about the clothing or furniture item is very important for his/her final decision whether to buy it or not. We wrote about the types and possibilities of online fitting rooms in our recent article “What Does It Cost to Build-in a Fitting Room in an Online Store?”

Pinterest + Fitting room

So, if we give functionality of an online fitting room to a pinterest like app, the result will be the advertising “that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears.'' Website visitors will be able not only to surf across Pinterest like platform filled with pictures, but also to try pictures of items provided by the sellers in their pictures. So, business owners will get the possibility to promote their product interactively, which means no irritation for customers and no ad blockers.

Since, sight is the main information source for the majority of people, the target audience of the Pinterest like platform that provides fitting room functionality is really wide. Let’s try to figure out some of them.

The most obvious group of businesses is on-line or/and brick-and-mortar clothes shops owners. It is a great possibility to advertise t-shirts, hats, etc.on a platform that provides a shopper an opportunity to try a new hat on-line. Moreover, the platform also recommends the hat if a user is looking for something like hat. Knitted hat would be recommended for those who are looking for winter mountain vacation pictures, destinations and felt hat for those who are interested in a business meeting dress-code.

Another group is furniture or interior items sellers. If a user is looking for Persian Style room, the platform could recommend Percian Style sofa picture to try it in the searcher’s room interior and to increase the possibility of the purchase of the sofa. The same is about decoration items, like vase or picture, or domestic plant.

Landscape design items, cell phone accessories, or jewellery - the list is really long. As to less obvious suggestions, a rent apartment owner could suggest the clients to order some new items or to move others to make a room more suitable and cozy for the client.

E.g.Airbnb users would be happier if they had the possibility to move the furniture and to get necessary items, like baby feeding chair, in the right place, before settling.

We have shared some of our ideas, but there are no doubts, you have more of them, and we are here to help you to realize them.

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