11 Need to Know Stats About Native Advertising

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The general swing towards an AdBlock state means more digital marketers are leveraging nuanced advertising by necessity. Whether it means promoted posts, sponsored posts, sponsored content, native ads have become part of the mainstream adscape.  As with other forms of digital ads, the trends suggest spending on native will increase.

Maybe native ads are so appealing to marketers and advertisers because most people can’t tell the difference between content and ads. While this may seem palatable to us momentarily, the impact could be detrimental to all parties involved in the future. Using native, we tread a thin line between education and advertising, while maintaining a trust bond between customer and brand. If a person feels duped, trust is inevitably lost.

As always, I want to remind the reader to conduct their own research. Some of these figures are projections, and some surveys have small sample sizes. Nonetheless, here’s what we know:


  1. This survey finds that people tend to get confused between the difference between content and a native advertisement, “In four of the six groups shown a native advertisement, the majority interpreted the piece as an article.” (Contently)
  2. “The average cost of launching a native advertising programwith a top-tier news publisher was $54,014.29. The highest cost was $200,000.” (MOZ)
  3. “Only 5 percent of websites reviewed by MediaRadar included the word “ad” in with their native ads.” (AdWeek)
  4. “Mobile will be a big driver of growth in native ad spending: Native advertising will account for 63.2% of all global mobile display advertising by 2020, reaching $53.4 billion.” (MediaPost)
  5. “Native advertising spend will be $9.6 billion in Europe by 2020, with $1.3 billion of that third-party in-app ads.” (MediaPost)
  6. “Spending on native ads will reach $7.9 billion this year and grow to $21 billion in 2018, rising from just $4.7 billion in 2013.” (Business Insider)
  7. “Consumers interact with native ads 20% to 60% more than they do with standard banner ads.” (Mediapost)
  8. “Social-native, including Facebook News Feed ads and promoted tweets on Twitter, will draw a majority of native ad revenue between 2013 and 2018.” (Business Insider)
  9. In the US, the native ad market is expected to grow to $53B by 2020. (CMO Innovation)
  10. “Reading a native ad headline yields 308 times more consumer attention than processing an image or banner.” (Hubspot)
  11. “If the Federal Trade Commission decided to audit publishers’ native ads today, around 70 percent of websites wouldn’t be compliant with the FTC’s latest guidelines, according to a new report from MediaRadar.” (AdWeek)



Nuanced persuasion could also be considered deception. Not too long ago the FTC produced a guideline for native ads that I recommend reading. The FTC Act of 1983 prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.”

But commerce, as most things in life, is not even close to transparent. What you see isn’t always what you get. It’s a strange concept to think about considering the volume of ads we encounter on a daily basis. For instance, when we encounter labels and products in movies, we call it product placement. But when we encounter the same products in people’s houses or on their person, we don’t call it brand loyalty, we call it life. It’s the medium of engagement with a product that defines whether or not something is an overt or official advertisement.

Having said this, native advertisers need to step up their game so more people understand that what they’re seeing is an ad, not content. Without customer trust in a medium, native ads will eventually be about as useful as banner ads.

Thanks for reading!

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