Multiplatform Publishing Strategy

5 Best Native Advertising Examples That’ll Expand Your Ad Sales

Turns out that not only is native old news – it has gone by many other names in the history of media over the centuries – but the legal concerns that come with it are, too.

Is your native advertising crossing the line of “masquer-ads”?

Native advertising is the creation and publication of editorially-based ads that align with a webpage’s content. They can be articles, snippets or simply links that are assimilated into the design and flow with the platform functionality, so viewers feel the ads belong on the page. The best native advertising examples offer fantastic editorial content that doesn’t turn off the reader as being too promotional or non-contextual.

We have called them advertorials traditionally, and have described them as an ad that walks, acts and talks like an editorial. The content is typically provided by the sponsor themselves, although some creative publishers have built native advertising departments that create the copy for the sponsor.

While evaluating the use of native advertisements, there are a few things to consider:

  • Form – Is the ad in the viewer’s activity stream?
  • Function – Does the ad function like other elements on the page?
  • Integration – Do the ad behaviors mirror content behaviors or introduce new ones?
  • Targeting  – Is the ad placement guaranteed on a specific page or section?
  • Measure – What metrics are used to judge success? Brand engagement or direct response?
  • Disclosure – Is disclosure clear and prominent? (we’ll talk about this more next week).

Here is a general evaluation you can use on your native ads:

The best native advertising examples

There are a few core types of native adverting units, including:

In-Feed Units

In-Feed Units are articles that walk, talk and act like an editorial article, and they may be editorial in nature, but the content placement has been paid for. The content of these ads are usually non-promotional but include a snippet before, after or both, promoting the sponsor.

Paid Search Units

Paid search units can be found in search results, in line with organic search results. Advertisers pay to list themselves contextually within results that have similar content.

Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways to Monetize your Portal Audience, and discover how today's top publishers are generating revenue through memberships, events, clubs, sponsorships, and more.

Recommendation Widgets

When reading an article, you may see ads for related articles. On some websites, like, these related articles are paid for by a sponsor.

Promoted Listings

Similar to paid search units, a publisher who sells listings can also sell sponsored listings, like

In-Ad with Native Element Units

A hybrid of a few of the native ad units above, this ad is editorial in nature, but is excerpted and looks more like an ad than an in-feed unit, which blends in seamlessly. Electronic House has since re-launched using different native ad units, but we still like this unique example.

And then there are always your endless opportunities of custom native ads.

Native by any name continues to gain strong momentum as the preferred format for advertisers and publishers, and as the drivers of this trend, there’s no reason why we can’t tap on the brakes along the way to take stock of where we’re at.

By Don Nicholas

Chief Executive Officer

During his decades long career, Don has worked with colleagues, clients and partners to design digital publishing and marketing systems for more than 300 magazines, newsletters, memberships, clubs, and events. Don currently serves as executive publisher for Cabot Wealth Network, Food Gardening Network, Financial Freedom Federation, I Like Crochet Network, I Like Knitting Network, and Recipe Lion Clubs. His team's Haven WordPress CXMS offers publishers the industry’s most flexible and robust online publishing and marketing platform. Don and his strategy team have served as management advisors for virtually every major niche publishing company in North America including Meredith, Hearst, Trusted Media Brands, and hundreds of independent for-profit and nonprofit organizations. He has managed and led educational events for MPA, SIPA, FIPP and Harvard University. He has authored numerous books and hundreds of articles on journalism, publishing, technology and marketing. Before founding Mequoda in 2004, he served as founder and chief executive officer for Blue Dolphin Magazines and Lighthouse Communications Group. He started his media career as a journalist and producer working for the Armed Forces Network aboard the USS Enterprise. Don holds degrees and certifications in organizational management, journalism and electrical engineering from Capella University, Sacramento State University, and the United States Navy.

One reply on “5 Best Native Advertising Examples That’ll Expand Your Ad Sales”

Great item! As for promoted listings that is very effective in eCommerce sites when the sponsored products look similar to the organic ones. There are several ad-tech companies that operates sponsored product ad networks for that matter like or

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