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Mark Jones is a freelance writer based in Devon, covering the latest developments in mobile tech, social media and gadgets since 2010.

The rise of native advertising

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Our blog series with local technology writer, Mark Jones, continues with native advertising. As people navigating the internet and visiting websites have become more wary about the traditional display adverts they’re constantly bombarded with, it has become necessary to explore different, less intrusive, methods of delivering effective advertising. That’s where native comes in.

Native advertising in contextAlthough the definition of native advertising varies depending on who you ask, Solve Media recently summed it up pretty well in a fantastic infographic entitled 'Native advertising in context'. Solve describe native advertising as a "specific mode of monetisation that aims to augment user-experience by providing value through relevant content delivered in-stream". 

What this means is that adverts aren’t just a speed bump in the user’s browsing experience, they’re something which potentially adds something of value to the site – and that people want to read and interact with. Or as Wikipedia says: "It’s a method of advertising which seeks to provide content in the context of the user’s experience".

Change in way ads are delivered

Traditional display adverts such as pre-roll, banner and pop-ups are becoming increasingly unpopular. Banner ad click-through rates are said to have fallen from 9% in 2000 to 0.2% in 2012. Of course, the internet was a much different, and smaller, place back in the year 2000 but this statistic is a clear sign that it’s time for a radical change in the way ads are delivered. 

Several big sites have adopted native advertising, notably Twitter, Facebook and Buzzfeed. For example, Twitter introduced promoted tweets and Facebook sponsored stories. 


For Buzzfeed, sponsored content is its only source of revenue and it employs a team of 40 people to create stories in a similar style to the non-sponsored content that is on the site. One of Buzzfeed’s early success stories was a post entitled ’11 things no-one wants to see you Instagram’ which was in fact an ad for Virgin Mobile. The post went viral at the time, attracting 2,000 Facebook likes (now over 7,000) and 3,000 views. 

Pinterest hops on

Pinterest is the latest internet giant to hop on the native advertising bandwagon, following in the footsteps of Twitter and Facebook by introducing promoted pins. Although it’s still in the testing phase at the moment it appears that promoted pins will be hard to distinguish from regular pins, apart from a label that says “promoted”.

It’s still early days for native advertising and while it has proven to be more successful than traditional display adverts there’s a lot of fine tuning to be done, not least by companies who will need to adopt a new approach to marketing.

Further reading


Why you need native advertising by Econsultancy

Solve Media's infographic: Native advertising in context

Tagged in: Native advertising
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