Native advertising converts better than you'd imagine, for less than you'd believe
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Direct marketing, the marketing revolution

Ten years ago a direct marketing agency would put physical marketing material in front of unsuspecting consumers, such as newspapers and billboards. Now though, direct marketing is different, the internet has provided a game-changing platform for communicating with your potential customers.

dapa not only use and excel using the marketing methods you'll hear about from every direct marketing agency in the UK, they use, build and deliver business-changing lead generation from their own too.

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Improve the cost per acquisition consistently

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Track and change the website & materials to increase conversions.

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Introduce new marketing channels to the mix to spread risk.

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Any industry will do.

We can target specific industries, locations, interests, job titles, age groups, relationship status and even eye colour (if you happen to sell single-coloured contact lenses).

This has opened the door for everyone from one-man-bands to global conglomerates to pin-point only those customers they actually want or need.

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Through the blog, PR and news releases we built a web of content that was shared around the internet.

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Working with press outlets, bloggers and forums we create cross-platform relationships to grow our rankings.

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The foundations of SEO are all on the website itself, ensuring all the basic, but important, elements are perfect.

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We build valuable relationships.

We build valuable relationships between customers and brands through direct communications and marketing campaigns.

These come in a number of forms, from simple banner advertising to incredible content targeted at a single person you want to work with. We’ll help guide you on the solutions that fit your product best.

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How will dapa revolutionise my business?

Working with platforms like Taboola, Twitter, Outbrain, Facebook and many others we deliver industry-leading levels of traffic, leads and customers.

Each day we deliver thousands of leads for customers in dozens of different markets. If you want to generate more customers online, in any niche, we’ll find a solution that suits.

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Native Advertising

Native Advertising Specialists

Native Advertising is any form of marketing material placed in a high traffic position online.

Think of it like passing a billboard on a motorway, you’re not looking for advertising, just passing through but it catches your eye.

Other examples of these are sponsored stories on news websites like Sky (theses are actually one of our routes).

We only use Native Advertising to drive leads, customers, business.

We’re not in to branding and content distribution.

Get in touch to talk about what your goal is and we’ll see if it fits with ours.

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Everybody has their own interpretation of how important Native advertising is.

For sports fanatics, Ads are that annoying sideshow you have to go through before the real action starts or resumes.

For people who have to bear through a boring game just because they are with sports fanatics, Ads are a welcome, relatable relief from the boring game.

Digital ads are annoying on a whole another level for users around the world.

Everybody has gone through the process of navigating an annoying series of ads before reaching their desired destination on a site.

Its annoying yes, but site owners are helpless in that they need ads for revenue.

Along with the ‘annoyance’ quotient, there is another important factor that digital marketers across the world have come to realise  and that is click through rates for digital banners are woeful.

Advertisements may be perceived as an intrusion or disturbance in any medium it is used, be it television, print, outdoor or digital.

However, a fairly new trend in digital media sought to bridge this hurdle. The name is Native, Native Advertising.

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Through Native Advertising, ads are placed in the concerned media in such a way that they merge with the content and style of the media.

An advertiser puts their ads in the host or publishing site and makes a lot of efforts to make the ad blend into the nature of the content posted on that site.

At times, the native ads are so well and smartly made that it is difficult for viewers to make out the difference between the ad and the normal content of the site.

This makes sure that users do not experience a forced disturbance while using a particular media.

For example, while viewing a video on an online video portal, instead of inserting an ad in the middle of the video which gives a jerk to the viewer’s experience, native ads are placed smartly within the video, so smoothly that the viewers are encouraged to buy the product without being disturbed by an ad.

However, the readers, users or customers should be informed about the nature of such advertising messages, or else it is termed as deception of customers.

The Rise of Native Advertising

Native advertising is a considerably new practice. It came into being hardly a few years ago, but is rapidly becoming a favourite in the world of digital marketing.

Due to its subtle and smooth nature, native advertising has experienced substantial growth in the market since its establishment.

The increasing popularity of native advertising also gave a boost to content marketing.

More and more advertisers have started giving importance to the content part of the ads instead of concentrating only on the looks and the product to be sold.

Native advertising has given an impetus to producing value-adding content and coming up with non-interruptive ways of promoting products.

Like all other forms of digital marketing it is targeted and it gives an advertiser a set target audience to pitch to through various media forms.

Perhaps one of the great benefits of native advertising is that you can post your ads on platforms that are already used on a daily basis and well liked by many people, which makes the reach even more effective.

It helps you promote greater brand awareness without appearing like an unnecessary nuisance.

That’s why native advertising is emerging as an effective channel to accomplish this as the basic principle of such advertising is to seamlessly integrate the ads and promotional messages into the sites, leaving the user experience unaffected.

Difference Between Native Advertising and Content Marketing

Google algorithm updates have ensured that spammy SEO techniques are now a thing of the past and the focus is now diverted towards providing greater user experience through the creation of engaging content.

Engaging and unique content is very important to attract more buyers.

However, the advent of native advertising, has led to a comparison between the two.

Some claim that the two are same.

The confusion is understandable considering that both deal with the utilisation of effective content for promotional purposes and use content as the primary tool for marketing.

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Still there is a thin line that differentiates between the two.

Content marketing deals with the sale of a product and is often published on the site of the advertiser itself.

No efforts are made to smartly disguise the content in other media to generate leads. All the efforts are put into the content created and not on the site where it is published.

In content marketing the content remains the same regardless of where it is posted. On the other hand, native marketing deals with promotion and advertising of a product by moulding the content according to the publisher’s site where it will be posted.

Also, the native ads of an advertiser are often posted on a different publisher’s website. Here, the emphasis is not just given to the content, but also to the nature and style of the website where it will be published.

Also, content marketing is a sales tool, unlike native advertising.

When you encounter a content marketing piece, you will often see a call to action and various other details and visible encouragements directly asking you to buy the product.

A native ad on the other hand if smartly created will not even look like an ad.

It is a very clever and indirect way of encouraging the customers to buy the product. Native advertising is never about hard selling.

Content marketing always gives price details of the product to be sold.

It places considerable importance in letting the reader know the price of the promoted product, as it is a more desperate means of advertising.

On the other hand, native advertising is concerned more about spreading information about the product to be marketed. it never directly asks the customer to make purchases. Instead, it teases them in the right place, which would make them want to buy the product.

Native advertising is not clickbait

These days, there is an immense growth in the number of click-baits being circulated on the internet.

A click-bait is a sight with attractive headings, that make the readers want to click the link to its article. “10 tips to get the best haircut,” “5 ways of fighting depression” etc are all examples of such click-baits.

These sites are usually made viral on  social media.

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However, native advertising should not be associated with click-baits.

It does include the use of a catchy and effective heading, but it leads to  better content as compared to click-baits.

Click-baits usually have very catchy headings and the content that follows after visiting the site is extremely disappointing.

The viewers often feel duped after opening a click-bait link.

Hence, native advertising has suitable headlines which link to even more suitable, reliable and well-written content.

It is not at all similar to click-baits, though both of them deal with the posting of external links on digital media.

How native advertising fits into your content marketing strategy?

Native advertising can be best described as a paid content distribution channel. It is a medium often leveraged by advertisers to market their content.

Native advertising plays a very important part in content distribution.

Any content distribution plan mainly consists of owned, earned and paid media strategies, and all of them serve their own specific purpose.

The following is a bird’s eye view of these channels of distribution:

Owned Media

Owned media, as the name suggests, are the channels which are owned by you as the organisation. these channels are fully under your control.

Hence, the message that you want to convey can be easily moulded and tailored according to your convenience, whenever you feel necessary.

Earned Media

The reach and credibility of your site is likely to increase if a third party validates your content.

Earned media is the channel which deals with any sort of publicity you haven’t paid for, and the source of which is owned and created by a third party.

It may vary from something as small as a tweet from a celebrity to something as big as a fully sponsored article in a popular website.

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This sort of exposure is extremely valuable no matter which form it comes in.

According to various reports, earned media is the most trusted form of information when it comes to content distribution.

In order to understand the concept more clearly, you can compare earned media as a digital equivalent to word-of-mouth publicity.

Just like the latter, earned media is not really under your control, and can also spread unfavourable information about you.

Usually, it is shown in the form of shares, likes, comments, follows, reposts, reviews, recommendations or the placement of your content on third party sites.

Paid Media

Paid media is the channel which gives a guarantee of placing your ad or promotional content on various digital media platforms.

As the name suggests, the advertiser pays money in order to promote their products.

Paying for media is an effective way to jumpstart engagement right after your campaign begins and before your content received enough traction.

It can also prove to be a way of resurrecting an existing piece of content which performed well with your audience earlier.

The Science Behind Native Ads

Over the past few decades numerous researches have been undertaken to understand customer psychology and the effect advertisements have on it.

This has resulted in a number of theories being developed seeking to provide the most appropriate explanation.

However, native advertising, being a fairly new discovery, has not been researched upon much.

Recently, Sharethrough teamed up with Nielson to research how mobile phones process ads visually.

For the research, they used eye-tracking device and applied neuroscience (study of the sub-conscious brain).

This is because the sub-conscious is the main motivating factor behind majority of our actions, including the purchase of a product after viewing its ad.

In order to fully understand the responses of the users, the study compared in-feed native ads and in-feed banners.

Nielson worked with five prime advertisers, including Boeing and came up with mock ads from similar creative elements optimised for each format.

The study participants were shown a video simulating the experience of scrolling through an editorial feed.

Later, the feed was paused and the participants were shown either an in-feed native ad or an in-feed banner.

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Ultimately, using a combination of EEG data (measurement of the brain’s neural activity) and advanced eye tracking, Neilson was able to determine where and how the participant’s attention and focus was directed when they were exposed to the phone.

Following are some of the findings they recorded:

Native ads capture twice the amount of attention as compared to banner ads

This study confirms the ubiquitous “banner blindness” theory and proves that it holds true for mobile devices as well.

The study concluded that the native ads that appeared on mobile sites received two times more focus than banner ads on the same device, even though both ads were in-feed.

Native ads stimulate both sides of the brain

One of the advantages of native ads is that they can tap into the sub-conscious of the customers.

As they infiltrate the sub-conscious, they can affect both the hemispheres of the brain.

This increases the focus of the readers and according to the theory, it makes them spend more time absorbing the brand’s message on a conscious level.

Thus, it leads to higher levels of engagement, influence and brain recall.

Forms of Native Advertising

Native advertising is a broad term and it keeps evolving continuously.

It was called the advertorial of the digital age when it came into being. Following are the major forms of native advertising:

In-Feed Advertising

In-feed advertising is the most common form of native advertising, pioneered by giants like Facebook and Twitter.

The primary reason for its massive adoption is the “mobile-first” approach that it followed, coupled with its ability to drive users to the owned media property of the advertisers. In-feed native ads includes promoted listings and paid search results.

Custom Content

Brands often take the help of website publishers to help them in creating engaging, high-quality content.

This kind of customised content is also known as the sponsor’s content and it is hosted on the publisher’s website in order to promote the advertiser’s product.

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Also, brands often leverage in-feed native ads to source readers from across the internet for the purpose of audience extension.

The reality is that there is still widespread confusion in the market regarding custom content and branded content.

Content Recommendation Widgets

Content Recommendation Widgets are often found below the articles.

These widgets are generally used as a means of driving traffic, in spite of some advertisers seeing value in reaching a wide range of audience at minimum costs through content recommendations.

Types of In-Feed Native Ads

There are several categories of in-feed native ads which are designed in ways to make it appear smartly in the natural activity stream of the user.

It is important to know the characteristics of these ads.

It not only guides you when making creative decisions, but also gives the buyers a proper understanding of the ads shown to them on the concerned feed.

What may work at one place may prove ineffective in another.

Following are the major types of in-feed ads:

In-Feed Content Ads

As the name suggests, in-feed content ads are those native ads  that appear in a website’s standard content stream.

The ads are generally also found on publisher content and news aggregation sites.

In-Feed Social Ads

These ads are designed in order to increase the following, boost social engagement and drive high-quality, targeted customers to the advertiser’s content.

The primary purpose of these ads is to deliver content which has the look and style of the publisher website.

Facebook calls these ads “suggested posts” and Twitter calls them “promoted tweets,” but no matter what names they’re given, they all operate in the same way. 

In-Feed Product Ads

In-feed product ads are those native ads that appear on the sites and apps which consist of various product listings for retail sites such as ebay, Amazon etc.

These units are generally presented as product ads or prompts for installing the apps. Mostly, these ads have a clear and prominent call-to-action.

How To Create An Effective Native Ad?

To help you create the perfect native ad to boost your brand, here we provide you with some of our best tips:

Know What You Want

As with any advertising endeavour it is important to be clear about your goals, before you go about creating your native ads.

In most scenarios, you would be looking to divert potential customers into consuming some form of content.

While getting potential customers to your content is important, it is also important to know beforehand why you want them there.

Are you doing it to raise brand awareness? Or is it to build thought leadership?

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Maybe all you want to do is generate more leads for your business. Only if you are aware of your goals will you be able to accurately track whether or not you were successful with your native ads.

Put Out The Right Message To Prospective Customers

The customers you are trying to reach out to should fall in line with the goals of your marketing campaign.

Once you have identified the niche you want to target, it is important to do thorough analysis of their preferences and behaviours.

This way you can tailor your ad to attract the right kind of audience towards your business.

It would be hard or almost impossible to create an ad that has compelling content, if you do not do due diligence beforehand.

By creating content that centres around your target audience’s biggest questions and interests, you stand a great chance of being successful.

How can you decide on an effective content strategy that works?

Consider what your audience wants or desires and the range of topics you can cover with absolute authority and look to create your content strategy where the two overlap.

Marketers can now also benefit from demographic data obtained from social networks, which help them to deliver targeted native advertising that gives maximum impact to a business or brand.

Decide On The Platform For Your Native Ad And Your Ad Format

Of course there are multiple platforms through which you can start your native advertising campaign, but it is important to find the right one for your target audience, as each online or social channel reaches out to different types of audiences.

For example, Facebook’s audience differs from twitter’s, which in turn differs from Pinterest’s.

Another important factor that needs to be taken into consideration is that, each channel offers a different type of advertising format depending on which fits best with their format.

For example, LinkedIn offers three types of native advertising formats-LinkedIn sponsored InMail, LinkedIn Sponsored Content and LinkedIn dynamic ads.

Choosing the right platform and ad format will help you in your quest of creating an effective native advertising ad.

Creating The Ads And Its Content

Ideally you should not create an ad that is so blatantly advertorial and at the same time does not provide any value to a user. It would be more beneficial to adopt a ‘earned media’ mentality with respect to your content.

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The content you create should be so good and relevant that the publisher would pay you to run it.

That being said it is equally important to not forget about your target audience when developing the content.

Look to create good content but at the same time focus on what your target audience reads, hears or is interested in, while you include a CTA that helps you with your objectives.

Post Content Organically

Gaining feedback is important.

It helps you understand if your native ad is working. If your ad is not having the desired reach the right feedback can help you fine-tune it and get it on the right track.

To gain positive feedback it is important to post your content organically, so that:

  • You can gain more followers.
  • You can evaluate the best performer and the platform/s that’s delivering maximum impact.

Ensure that you run a minimum of two posts for a three week period.

Invest in What Works

Find out the best performers amongst all your organic content and look to convert them into paid ad placements. Use data to make sure that the ads are targeting your desired audience pool.

Determine The Impact Of Your AD

It is important to know whether your ad is having the desired impact or not.

Conversion engagement, referrals, time on page, page views, links out and impressions are important metrics that will help you gauge whether or not your ad is successful.

A/B Testing

Ensure that the content you offer (for example, infographic, e-book etc.) and your advertising elements are optimised to the hilt.

This is one more way by which you can ensure that the ad you have placed is engaging your target audience.

Retarget

Just because your target audience did not convert the first time it does not mean that they are never going to convert.

By analysing customer behaviour you can create more relevant and specific content that boosts user engagement and interaction.

Retargeting can be a great way of boosting your overall conversion rate.

Top Platforms For Native Advertising

Lately, the traditional advertising eco-system has been badly affected by systems like adblockers and many more similar softwares.

This has led to more and more advertisers/publishers turning to native advertising on their sites and blogs to add to their advertising revenues.

The biggest advantage of native ads is that they can seep into the sites and blogs seamlessly, so much that at times it is difficult to differentiate between a native ad and the normal site/blog content.

Also, native advertising makes the click-rates more feasible by making the content more relatable and engaging.

It is believed that if you experience an increase in the number and frequency of effective native advertising, you are here in to stay in the market.

There are various digital media platforms which can be extremely useful for your business. Some of the major platforms are listed below:


Redirect.com is on top of the list of the most effective platforms for native advertising, and there is good reason for it too. This portal allows the users to buy and sell traffic through a real-time bidding system. Through redirect.com, you can buy displays, email addresses, domains, pops and RON traffic.

The site has an intuitive geo-targeting system which monetises all the international traffic of their clients. It also ensures that the clients benefit from a decent RPM. The site provides a single redirect link which is required to be entered into the system as a broad-based geo-redirect link.

For example, if you buy an offer which currently accommodates only US traffic, the traffic from other countries will be redirected to the link which geo-targets the foregone traffic to a page that helps you monetise international traffic effectively.

If you talk about the quality and visibility of advertising, Outbrain still remains one of the best native ad networks across the market. Established in 2006, Outbrain monitors the quality of ads with the help of various carefully operated intelligent filters that incorporate the site content from various product-oriented ads.

Outbrain does not work on a standalone basis. It has teamed up with various niches, markets and publishers for the promotion of native ads.

Currently, it is available only for the top publishers, such as Sky News, which gets over 10 million page views every month! .


Nativo is a platform which is difficult to beat when it comes to exemplifying branded content in the language of the publishing streams. It functions in the pure realm of native advertising. Despite being just 5 years old, the efficient Nativo network is highly integrated on the site of the publishers and offers a great deal of screens and devices.

Nativo makes sure that every ad matches to the individual feel of every medium and publisher site. It constantly makes an effort to make the entire process of native advertising and promotion simple. It is so committed towards its policy that it enjoys the support of a lot of top-notch publishers.


Gravity is another brilliant platform for native advertising, which enjoys the patronage of AOL. It features some of the best publishers on the market.

It is such a niche platform, that if you are a publisher, you need to have at least 1 million page views to join its ad network.

In order to prevent users from getting overwhelmed with a lot of information, Gravity sorts out relative content for them and keeps them engaged.


Triplelift was founded in 2013, which makes it a fresh platform for native advertising. Triplelift is an  ad network that exemplifies the transition of displays. They are rapidly gaining more prominence in the eyes of a number of big publishers.

They believe that their clients should find native advertising convenient and that the process should be absolutely transparent. This encourages publishers to gain further insights into the smartness of the native advertising network and its performance.


NativeAds is one of the more recent ad networks that can be operated with a combination of other such platforms, like AdSense. If you send an approval request to NativeAds, the request is moderated and is further addressed within 12 months of the complaint being filed. Thus, it is an excellent choice for the modern publisher in spite of its lower per-click rate.

The most interesting fact about NativeAds is that one native ad can leverage other native ad networks which expands the reach of the concerned campaign.


Taboola is known as one of the biggest content discovery platforms in the world. Currently, Taboola caters to more than a billion unique visitors every month on some of the most engaging and creative publishers across the globe. These sites include Tribune, NBC, Fox Sports etc. along with various other niche blogs.

Taboola facilitates the advertisers and publishers to extract money from their content in the most effective way. It makes a great choice for the Asian amongst the others which accounts for .01-.03 cents per click as opposed to .10 cents per click in the US.

The CPC rates on this native ad network amount to an attractive .02-.04 cents. This platform allows advertisers and publishers to get access to analytic reports by logging into their accounts and creating individualised ad campaigns.


Adsnative is a native advertising platform based in San Francisco.. It is strategically placed in the realm of technology and publishing. Adsnative has decided to take on the big start-ups and it has been successful in acting as a strong support for many prospering businesses. It was founded in the year 2013 and is still going strong with its vision and mission.

Why Clear Disclosure of A Native AD is Essential

Clear disclosure of a Native ad is essential for two reasons:

  • Firstly and perhaps most importantly any publisher that looks to deceive a reader or customer by hiding native ads runs the risk of losing trust.
  • If disclosures are not made, the native ad can possibly have a negative effect on the brand, which is completely opposite of what the ad seeks to do in the first place. It is possible that customers start developing negative feelings towards a brand because they were decieved into clicking an ad.

To clearly understand the scenarios wherien you might be intrepreted as a deciever lets consider the following examples:

16 Examples of times when businesses should have disclosed that the content is native advertising

Native ads often resemble the design, functionality and style of the medium in which they are propagated. These ads may appear next to a page which is next to non-advertising content. Such examples include news or content aggregator sites, social media platforms of various messaging apps.

In other cases, the ads are adding to the entertainment programming, like videos on social media which are user generated or professionally produced.

Other examples include native advertising on emails, images, infographics, animations and video games.

Generally, when a native ad appears on the publisher’s main page, it consists of a headline which is often combined with a thumbnail image along with a brief description.

This leads to additional advertising content when clicked.

However, according to  FTC laws, an advertiser cannot induce the consumers to view an advertising content using “deceptive door openers.” Hence, it is the advertisers’ responsibility to make sure that the content they view is for the purpose of advertising, before they go to the main page.

It is also important to note that no matter how the consumers arrive at the main advertising page, it is considered a deceptive practice if they are misled about the commercial nature of the ad and the message.

In order to see if the ad appearing on the main advertising page is recognisable as advertising, the advertiser is supposed to consider the ad as a whole and not consider individual aspects like phrases, statements, visual effects etc.

The factors that need to be weighed include the ad’s overall appearance, its aesthetic appeal, the similarity of its content to any non-advertising one and to what extent it is similar to the content on any other publisher’s website. The same method of assessment is used in case of any click-or tap-into page- the page onto which the complete ad is showcased.


The Winged Mercury Company is a firm that sells running shoes. An ad featuring one of their shoes appears on a financial website. The ad contains an image of the shoe along with a headline saying, “Run Fast. Run Fast. Run Winged Mercury.” The ad also has a hyperlink to the site wherein the viewers can learn more about the shoes’ unique shock absorption technology.

However, the colour font and graphics look as if it was a financial news item featuring on the website.

This slogan along with the message to learn more about the shock absorption of the Winged Mercury shoes is likely to convey to the consumers that the matter is of a more commercial nature.

Also, the content of the ad highly differed from the financial content featured on the site. Hence, there is no need of a specific disclosure that the content published is an ad and not financial news, even though it appears to be.


Fitness Life is an online health and fitness magazine which features articles about exercising, training advice and various product reviews. An article featuring on the Fitness Life magazine’s main page is titled, “The 20 most beautiful places to vacation.” This article contains images of exotic places to visit for fitness enthusiasts.

It was reported that the Winged Mercury company paid Fitness Life to publish this article on their site.

Also, the article says that is ‘presented by’ Winged Mercury company and it includes the company’s logo.

Though the sponsorship of this article is a form of advertising undertaken by Winged Mercury, the article in itself is not an ad, as it does not talk about Winged Mercury at all.

It doesn’t promote any of its products in the article.

All it contains are the beautiful images of places where the readers (which may include customers of Winged Mercury as well) can choose to go for a vacation. Hence, an article is not to be considered as an ad before or after the readers click on it to read it.


An online lifestyle magazine named Styling Home was paid by a kitchen cabinet company to create and publish an article titled “10 must haves for a great kitchen.” The article was mainly composed images of wonderful looking kitchens.

This article was designed in the same way as other articles on the website of Styling Home. Majority of the images in the article seemed to be promoting the sponsoring company’s products. Hence, this article can be tagged as an advertisement.

However, the article’s format may mislead the viewers to believe that it is not an ad but a normal article published by Styling Home and reflects the views of a Styling Home writer. Hence, in this case, a clear disclosure is necessary, stressing on the commercial nature of the article.

It is important to note that the more an article on a site is similar to the style of the publisher, the more important it is for the company to give disclosure about the nature of the article. This is considered necessary to prevent deception.

Also, as consumers can navigate the ad without visiting the publisher’s site, it is not sufficient if a disclosure is put only on the publisher’s site. Disclosures are needed on both the publisher’s site as well as the click-or-tap-into page where the complete ad appears, unless the click-into page itself is an advertisement.

The Winged Mercury propagates an ad on Fitness Life, the online fitness magazine. This ad is similar to the usual format of the site in terms of content and format. This ad consists of a picture of a runner along with the headline, “Running Gear Up: Mistakes To Avoid.” Along with other training suggestions, the article also recommends the use of Winged Mercury shoes to prevent injuries.

Consumers have an option of viewing the page from Fitness Life magazine  with or without referring to the page. Here, the consumers can conclude that the article was written by a journalist working for Fitness Life and reflects their individual views.

Also, in order to ensure that there is no deception, a clear disclosure is needed on the main page of the publisher’s website.

As the consumers can access the article without visiting Fitness Life’s main page, the ad featuring on the click-into page should be clearly identified as being solely commercial in nature.


Fitness Life publishes an article which is titled “The 20 most beautiful places to vacation.” Apparently, there is no advertiser that paid Fitness Life to publish the article.

However, there is a hotel that pays the magazine to feature a picture of their beach resort as the 21st picture in the article. This picture has the same feel and look as the other pictures in the article.

It is hard to make out the difference.

Here, there is no need for the visitors of Fitness Life to be made aware of the fact that the article is accompanied by an advertisement.

However, as the nature of the paid picture is the same as other pictures of the article, it is important to disclose the paid nature of the picture on the click-into page to the visitors.

The digital marketplace often offers different ways for advertisers to propagate content to the consumers which includes aspects like news feeds and content recommendation widgets. Here too, the same principles of transparency and disclosure apply.


Newsby is an online magazine which features articles about health, science, technology and business. The magazine published an article titled “Making Cleaning Fun: How Technology Has Changed Housekeeping” with the sub-head reading “Vacuum cleaners are as popular today as when first introduced in the 1800s.”

The text and accompanying image are formatted like those in the usual articles of Newsby, and if tapped, they lead to an infographic which talks about facts on vacuum cleaners, including a list of the “coolest innovations.”

One of these innovations is called the “Dirt Pulveriser” technology, which not only picks the dirt but also cleans the air.

The appliance company Machine-Clean Vacuums which is the exclusive seller of the Dirt Pulveriser vacuums, paid Newsby to create and publish the article on their site.

When the customers view the article in the feed of Newsby’s site, they are likely to interpret the Machine-Clean Vacuum ad as an independent story which is impartially reporting on information on vacuum cleaners instead of an ad which is developed and published on behalf of the sponsor.

Hence, it is necessary to have effective disclosures about informing customers about the nature of the ad’s commercial nature (in the site’s feed and on the click-into infographic) to prevent users from potentially feeling decieved.


A content recommendation widget which is included on various publisher sites displays links to external pages. One of these sites is Newsby where these third-party links are placed. On Newsby, these links are customised to look like news headlines, and are further grouped together in a box with headings such as “More Content For You” or “From Around The Web.”

Out of these headlines, one headline is for the Winged Mercury ad mentioned in example 4, “Running Gear UP: Mistakes to Avoid.” As there was a similarity between the Winged Mercury’s format of its ad and the style of content published by the Newsby on its site, it is likely to lead the customers into believing that it is an independent news story and not sponsored by any external publisher.

Hence, before the customers click on Winged Mercury’s content on the site of Fitness Life, it is necessary to give a clear disclosure about the commercial nature of the article. The click-into page on the Fitness Life webpage should also have the same disclosure about the commercial nature of the content.


An article is published on Styling Home, an online lifestyle magazine, which reviews various family vehicles, ranks the Nuvo Trek as the best hybrid. The car company which manufactures Nuvo Trek did not pay Styling Home to publish the article.

However, it wanted to promote the article as it showed their car in a favourable manner.

This car company pays a content recommendation widget in order to integrate a link to the article in a car magazine site which is popular.

The article itself cannot be termed as an advertisement.

However, it should be noted that the propagation of the article through a content recommendation widget can be termed as advertising.

Thus, the company is obligated to ensure that all the claims made for the car in the article are truthful, authentic and not misleading.

Also, in the event of the headline of the site misleading the customers due to its presentation in believing that a link to the content is included or featured on the basis of the car magazine’s editors and their judgement (and not based on any payment made by another publisher), is considered deceptive if the paid nature of the article is not disclosed.

Native ads can also be integrated in content, such as video games and entertainment programming.

In some cases, the customers may believe that the product integration is paid by an external publisher. In other cases, a disclosure may be needed in order to avoid a case of  consumers feeling deceived.

Playing a video game transports a player into a virtual world.

However, while being active in the virtual world, he sees billboards advertising actual products. Here, the brands that are advertised in the game pays the game developers to add them into the game.

It is apparent to the consumers that those billboards are advertisements.

As far as the billboards show advertisements for actual products, consumers are likely to believe that the ads were sponsored by sponsors.

Here, no disclosure is required. In the case of any deceptive product claims, the advertiser is held liable for the same.


A game application tests the players’ skills to survive in the wilderness and offers a choice of supplies equipment in each phase of the game. As players tap to make a choice, a box appears with multiple options to choose from, such as a rope, a flashlight and a hatchet.

Every item is accompanied by a a short message – such as “light your path” with flashlight.

Amongst these items there is also a bar of soap identified by the brand name, along with the text “Clean Up.” If the player chooses the soap, it takes the player out of the game and into the soap manufacturer’s branded game application.

According to the consumer’s customary use of the game and due to the similarity of the soap to other items in the list, he or she might not recognise the presence of soap as an ad before tapping and leaving the game.

As this in-app format used in the game misleads the customers, there is a strong need of clear and prominent disclosure informing the customers that the icon’s commercial nature is necessary before they tap on it while playing.


A home improvement TV show features “do it yourself” videos on their official website that are hosted by an actual builder who provides advice on home projects.

ZYX Paints, a stain manufacturer, pays the show to make and post a video about building a wooden deck.

The look and concept of this paid video is similar to other videos on the site which are apparently unpaid.

In this situation, the consumers are likely to perceive the video as independent content, reflecting the unbiased opinion of the expert builder host or the show’s writers, and they are not likely to attribute it to the sponsoring advertiser.

To prevent consumer deception, it is important to have a disclosure informing the customers about the commercial nature of the video.


The home improvement show mentioned in the previous example is paid by ZYX Paints to create and publish a video about the expert builder host dealing with a ZYX Paint stain on the deck on their site.

However, instead of the expert builder expressly recommending the use of the product to protect and maintain the deck, the camera zooms in showing the label of the product.

Whether a disclosure about the commercial nature of the video is required or not depends on reasonable consumer expectations.

In this case, consumers are likely to interpret the branded stain product to be an expert recommendation and the opinion of the expert builder host, or the show’s writers instead of a paid inclusion.

In this case, there is a need for clear disclosure before the consumers play it.

The consumers can also encounter a number of native ads in a variety of settings when it comes to digital media, including social media and email.

In certain cases, advertisers also allow sharing or republication of some ads by others, such as by using media plugins.

In order to ascertain whether the customers are understanding the native ads, the advertisers should consider particular circumstances under which the native ads are presented to the customers. These circumstances include the experience the customers have had with the medium in which the ad appears. They also include the way customers perceive the content of that medium.


The same video by ZYX Paints mentioned in the previous examples is inserted into users’ content streams on a social media website. The format of the video is same as any other video appearing on the users’ stream, the content of which consists of posts by the people or entities that the users have chosen to follow.

Every post is attributed to a source by name. For e.g. “ZYX Paints” or “Laura N. Michaels.” The consumers will eventually realise that they did not subscribe to any post by ZYX Paints based on their use of these social media sites.

They are thus unlikely to perceive the ad as regular content on their stream. Instead, they end up attributing it to the sponsoring advertiser.

Hence, in this situation, it is not necessary to give a clear disclosure about the video’s commercial nature before the users view it.

However, looking at the format of the video, the customers are likely to believe that an independent home improvement show produced the video and that ii shows the unbiased views of the show’s writers and/or hosts and not that of the advertiser.

To avoid this deception, it is necessary to have a clear disclosure informing about the commercial nature of the business in the video itself.


The article by The Winged Mercury, “Running Gear Up: Mistakes to Avoid” published in Fitness Life described in the previous examples included a button in the article where the users can post a link to the article from their individual social media streams.

When it is posted, the link looks exactly like the ones posted for Fitness Life articles posted on the social media.

Hence, the link may make the users believe that it is any other normal article of Fitness Life posted on social media.

The advertisers should always keep in mind that the link they post should not mislead the users in any way. It would be considered as deception of the customers.


Gormella dedicatedly makes humorous videos on her channel on an online video-sharing platform. She has also gained a significant social media following.

Among her videos, she created a video for a snack food company in order to promote its new cracker, Salt-Zs. The video was called “Crackering Up in My Local Supermarket” and it includes a thumbnail image of Gormella laughing in the aisle of a grocery store.

The video starts with her in the store and she is later showed at various locales where she talks to people about Salt-Zs.

Once the customers view the video, it is easy for them to make out that the video is a form of advertisement and that Gormella has been paid by a sponsored advertiser to promote their product.

However, before they view the video, the consumers are not likely to ascertain its commercial nature, given their experience with Gormella’s other normal videos.

Thus, the commercial nature of the video should be clearly disclosed before the customers view the video.

Another area where the consumers may come across a native ad is the non-paid search engine result pages.

The advertisers should ensure that when native ads appear on such non-paid search engine results, the consumers don’t perceive them as anything other than the ads itself.


A text link and thumbnail of ZYX Paints video mentioned in the previous examples appears on the non-paid search engine results page when the users search their respective queries on the same.

The textual link to the video titled “Building a Deck: 5 steps for success.” It includes the name of the home improvement show, but it does not mention ZYX Paints.

According to the customers’ usual experience with the search engines, they would associate a video posted in this fashion with the home improvement program instead of a sponsoring advertiser.

The advertiser should make sure that any link or various visual elements (webpage snippets, images, graphics etc) which are supposed to appear on the non-paid search engine result pages disclose the commercial nature of the post.

How To Make Clear And Prominent Disclosures In Native Advertising

The disclosures made to ensure that customers are not decieved by native ad should be done in a clear and prominent manner.

Whether the disclosure of the native ad’s commercial nature meet’s this standard or not, will be measured by the ad’s performance.

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This means that it depends on whether the customers recognise the ad as an ad or they fail to do so.

Only those disclosures that the consumers can notice, process and report are termed as effective.

If your disclosure is inadequate and fails to convey the meaning to the consumers, they will keep being deceived and the disclosure would lose its meaning.

You should make sure that the ads and promotional messages are perceived in their very nature by the customers.

The FTC Staff Business Guidance Document explains what an advertiser should do to make clear and prominent disclosures in digital advertising. Generally, the disclosures should be:

  • In a clear and simple language (with no ambiguity)
  • As close and related to the native ad they are catering to
  • In a font and colour which is easy for the customers to read
  • In a shade that makes the ad stand out in the background
  • On the screen for enough time for the customer to see and understand the ad (in the case of video ads)
  • In a voice, tone and language which is simple and easy to understand by the listeners (in case of audio ads)

The disclosures should be precise and clear in all the devices and platforms that may be used by the customers to view the native ads.

In order to make assessments on the disclosure, an average consumer’s point of view for the concerned ad should be taken into consideration.

If the ad is targeted to a specific group, the perspective of any reasonable individual belonging to the group should be considered.

If a certain number of people from the targeted customers fail to understand and notice the native ads, the advertiser should make proper changes to the showcased ad.

As far as the customers are able to recognise the ads and process them in the intended way, the advertisers have a flexibility in ascertaining the nature of native ads.

Certain native ads use text labels or company logos combined with visual cues like background shading, outlines or borders.

Multimedia ads such as videos may include graphics, video or audio disclosures, or a combination of these.

In order to make clean and prominent disclosures about the native ads on the main page of the publisher’s website as well as on the click-or-tap-into page where the ad appears advertisers should keep the following in mind.


Proximity and Placement

Always place the disclosure on the main page of the publisher’s site, in a way that makes it easy for visitors to read and understand the nature of the content to which the disclosure applies.

As an advertiser, you should always assume that a visitor would never look everywhere on the site. In order to choose what content to read and what items to see on the site, there are certain focal points where a visitor is most likely to look.

The disclosure about the fact that the posted ad is for commercial purposes should be placed near the ad’s focal point.

Usually, the visitors focus more on the headline of any article. Hence, it would be advantageous for the advertiser to put the disclosure near the content’s headline.

Place disclosures in front of or above the headline of the native ad

The structure of the website also affects the placing of disclosures.

If the site content is read from left to right, the readers are less likely to view the disclosure compared to if it is placed on the right half of the screen.

Also, if the disclosure is added into a vertical stream of content, it should never be placed right below the native ad.

This may make the viewers click on the ad without reading the disclosure.

They are most likely to read the disclosure if it is placed above the native ad.

If the focal point of an ad is an image or a graphic, you may need to put the disclosure right on the focal point itself

There may be cases where the focal point of the ad is not a headline or any written content, but an image or a graphic.

In these cases, if you put the disclosure near these focal points which are strong visual elements, there are very less chances of your viewers noticing them.

Hence, it should be placed at the focal point.

For example, while browsing an online video portal, viewers pay little attention to the content written below the videos.

They usually notice the thumbnails more.

Here, the disclosure should be placed on the thumbnail itself.

If a disclosure is put for more than one ad, there should be sufficient visual cues to inform the visitors that the disclosure applies to more than one native ads of the group

There may be disclosures which relate to more than one native ad, like with content recommendation widgets included on a publisher’s site.

If there is a group of content which contains advertised as well as non-advertised matter, you should never put out just one single disclosure.

This is because the customers would not be able to ascertain which content the disclosure belongs to.

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Here, native ads should be labelled individually to inform the viewers which items are ads and which are not.

However, even if one single disclosure is used for more than one native ad in the group, there should be sufficient visual cues which informs the viewers that the disclosure applies to more than one ad in the group.

A good example of the same would be background shading which would have a clear outline or a border that differentiates the native ads from other content on the site.

The disclosures should stay intact when the native ads are reproduced by others

Advertisers should retain the disclosures when their native ads are reproduced by other parties on portals like non-paid search engine results, social media or email.

In the case of non-paid search engine results, the viewers are more likely to notice a disclosure if it is placed in the beginning of the title tag for a native ad’s search listing.

In a similar way, the URL links for posting or sharing in social media or email should contain a disclosure in the beginning of the native ad’s URL.

In some cases, republishing native ads in other media may include distracting elements like webpage snippets, images or graphics.

Also, while placing these disclosures, the advertisers should understand how these distractions will affect the viewing of disclosures by the visitors.

On arriving on the tap-or-click-into page where the complete native ad is shown, disclosures should be kept at the point where customers will look first.

As customers can navigate anywhere after seeing the native ad, the click-or-tap-into page should also have a proper disclosure, where the entire native ad appears.

There are more chances of the customers noticing a disclosure if it is placed on the spot where the visitors see the first after opening the page.

In the case of articles, the viewers see the headline first and then the content that follows. Hence, the disclosures should be placed as close to the headline as possible.

Also, the advertisers should avoid putting the disclosures far above or to the extreme right to the headlines.

In multimedia ads, the disclosure should be delivered to the viewers before they receive the advertised message.

In the case of multimedia ads, the disclosures should be put in the ad itself, and before the viewers receive the advertising message.

There are chances of the viewers forgetting or not noticing the disclosure if it is placed along with or after the advertising message to be conveyed.

Also, putting the disclosures much in advance is not advisable for advertisers.

Some native ads can be a small part of a large programming – like in the case of a video vignette or a video game.

In these cases, the disclosure that comes much earlier fails to convey the message which is designed for a message coming later.

Thus, the disclosures should be kept a little before the advertising message.

Prominence

Advertisers should make sure that their disclosures stands out so that it is easier for customers to read them

Advertising disclosures should be noticeable.

They should be large and visible enough to stand out so that the viewers can easily see and understand them.

Therefore, the advertisers should take into consideration the size of the screen on which the customers are likely to view the native ad.

The text label should be of the font size and colour which is easy for the viewers to read.

The text colour should be at a contrast with the background to make the text clearly readable.

However, if you use a light font colour against a darker background, the customers are less likely to read the disclosure.

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Also, any background shading done in order to differentiate the native ads from the non-advertising content should be saturated enough for customers to notice.

Advertisers should also use various visual cues along with background shading, such as having thick prominent borders that separates the native ad from the surrounding content if the fonts are not contrasting enough.

Multimedia ads which are in an audio format need an audio disclosure.

These disclosures should be at a fairly audible volume, speed and a clear language for the listeners to understand and comprehend it effectively.

Also, if the ad is visual, the visual disclosures should be displayed in the ad long enough for the viewers to see and understand the message clearly.

Clarity of Meaning

Disclosures must be easy to understand

Disclosures are of no use if your customers are not able to understand the message that the native ads are a part of commercial advertising.

They should be made in  plain language which is easy to understand. It should be very precise and specific ,not ambiguous.

The advertiser should also make the disclosure in the predominant language in which the ad is presented.

In order to make an effective disclosure, advertisers should avoid the following:

  • Technical or industry jargon
  • Different terminology used to mean the same thing at different places on the publisher’s site
  • The same terminology used to mean different things on the publisher’s site
  • Using terms which have different meaning for the customers at different instances
  • Icons or abbreviations which are unfamiliar
  • Use of company names or brand logos which are not accompanied by a clear disclosure

The terms which are likely to be understood include “Ad”, “Advertisement”, “Paid Advertisement”, “Sponsored Advertising Content” or any similar variation.

Advertisers should never use terms such as “Promoted” or “Promoted Stories” which are very ambiguous in this context and could mislead the consumers to a great extent, making them believe that the advertising content was put up by the publisher site.

Depending on the context of the ad, the customers may also interpret various terms like “Presented by [X]”, “Brought to you by [X]”, “Promoted by [X]” or “Sponsored by [X]” that the sponsoring advertiser funded or underwrote, but did not create the content therein.

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The terms may also not be sufficiently clear to the customers if they are used on a site which uses different terms to label ads.

Using a steady terminology to identify ads on the same publisher site decreases the likelihood of the consumers misunderstanding the disclosure of a native ad.

Also, an advertiser should note that just the use of a company name or a logo does not convey that the message is for a commercial purpose.

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