Native Advertising – Definition

Cite this article as:"Native Advertising – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated December 14, 2018, last accessed October 28, 2020,


Native Advertising Definition

Native Advertising is a type of advertising that is not distinct from the other contents on the platform. Native advertising promotes a product or service, but the promotional message is crafted in a way that it blends with the main content. This type of advertising often appears online, and the advertisement follows the style and form of the editorial content of the site.

A Little More on What Is Native Advertising

Native advertisements often manifest as an article or video that appears similar to the original content of the platform.

Although native advertising gained popularity on the internet, it predates the internet. These advertisements are generally differentiated from the main content of the website by using sponsored, promoted, partner or other such titles.

Native advertisements do not necessarily have a clear call for action or reference to the advertiser company, it may intend to raise the demand for the product or service. The editorial policy of the platform decides to what extent a native advertisement is identified as paid content.

Native advertising is opposite of the concept of interrupt marketing. Although the consumption of online content has risen radically during the last two decades the users often tend to ignore the banner and box ads published online. They do not like to click on the advertisements and ignores it altogether. The banner blindness or ad blindness is a challenge for the advertisers who want to use online platforms for promoting their products.

Publishing advertorials is a common practice in print media for long, which is adopted by online advertisers as native advertising. As the whole content promotes the advertisement message, the advertiser doesn’t need to worry about the clicks. The user reads or views the advertisement content if it interests them.

There are three different models of native advertising as classified by the American Press Institute (API). Those are the underwriting model, the agency model, and the platform model. In the underwriting model, independently crafted content is matched to the advertiser’s message. The content is created by the editorial team, the publisher may offer an advertiser to sponsor it with complementary marketing messages. In the underwriting model, the publisher has full control over the content. Sometimes, a publisher may use an old content to fit it to the advertiser’s message.

In the agency model, a team of editorial staffs helps the advertiser to create a content that promotes the advertising message. The team develops the content in a way that looks like the other contents published on the platform. Generally, this is a separate team from the main editorial content creators. This team is specialized in creating native advertising content.

In the platform model, the advertiser is allowed to publish content on the platform like any other content contributor. The advertisers put forward their message under their own name. The publisher makes sure that the advertising content is identified as coming from the company.
Native advertising has been successful to draw the attention of the consumers to the intended message without coercing them. Many companies use native advertisements quite effectively to attract customers.

References for Native Advertising

Academic Research on Native Advertising

When news sites go native: Redefining the advertising–editorial divide in response to native advertising, Carlson, M. (2015). Journalism, 16(7), 849-865. This paper studies the reaction to a controversial church of Scientology native advertisement to access how the competing process of boundary-work and norms making defines the normative understanding of online juror/journalism. However, this paper believes the developing practice of the native online advertising which complicates this division thereby resulting in conflicting missions of how authority by top journalists should be stated for digital news.

Going native: Effects of disclosure position and language on the recognition and evaluation of online native advertising, Wojdynski, B. W., & Evans, N. J. (2016). Journal of Advertising, 45(2), 157-168. This paper takes into account the recent attention drawn to the industry, well, several questions about how native advertising is processed and perceived by consumers was also explained in this paper. According to this study, two experiments were used to examine the effect of positioning and language in the native advertising disclosure as regards the recognition of the content of advertising, whether the disclosure position affects the attention visuals and the effect of recognition of publishers and brands evaluation. The result of this experiment was recorded and the regulatory effects for the disclosure in native advertising were also explained.

Good native advertising isn’t secret, Campbell, C., & Marks, L. J. (2015). Business Horizons, 58(6), 599-606. According to this research paper, an understanding of native advertising was developed as well as a new growing form of advertising which is otherwise known as the desired marketing communications that appear in-stream. This paper studies the most recent form of advertising which can be studied even in secrecy. The main aim of this paper is to explain that the native advertising cannot be done in secrecy and by this illustration, a very important and detailed consideration was drawn for marketers looking forward to capitalizing on native advertising.

Native advertising and digital natives: The effects of age and advertisement format on news website credibility judgments, Howe, P., & Teufel, B. (2014). ISOJ Journal, 4(1), 78-90. This paper studies the effect of both the presence of native advertising and age on the credibility judgement as regards a news platform. The result from this study shows that the presence of the native advertising had no tangible negative impact on the viewer’s perception as regards credibility. However, participants who were exposed to traditional banner-type of ads were more prone to report the effect of advertising on the websites as opposed by those who were exposed to the native advertisement. In a nutshell, this paper basically studies the effect of age on the native advertisement.

Native advertising, or how to stretch editorial to sponsored content within a transmedia branding era, Matteo, S., & Dal Zotto, C. (2015). In Handbook of media branding (pp. 169-185). Springer, Cham. This paper studies the paradigm change that has led to the native advertising scheme to a revenue model used for publishing business. Although, the main aim for the development of the native advertising is problemed as an appearance of the blurring and intertwined lines between information and communication which means the lines found between the journalism and marketing practices. This paper also explained the potential effect of this type of content and other managerial recommendations.

The deceptiveness of sponsored news articles: How readers recognize and perceive native advertising, Wojdynski, B. W. (2016). American Behavioral Scientist, 60(12), 1475-1491. According to this research analysis, sponsored news is defined as a form of native advertising that has produced hope as a panacea for digital publishing revenue problems. This study however contributes to the pending knowledge to the areas where it is termed valuable (telecommunications) by presenting the result gotten from a between-subject experiment which examined the effect of four different disclosure properties (visual prominence, proximity, logo presence and wording clarity) on the process of recognizing sponsored content as advertising and by also explaining the psychological processes involved. Such recognition is said to influence the perception of this study. The result, however, suggests that while visual prominence and logo presence increases the probability of recognition, logo presence also increases the rate at which the disclosure label as a stand-alone display advertisement fails.

Camouflaging church as a state: An exploratory study of journalism’s native advertising, Ferrer Conill, R. (2016). Journalism Studies, 17(7), 904-914. According to this research paper, an increase in the trend by which individuals adopt native advertising in the digital edition of most traditional news media outlet was explored. According to this study, native advertising is defined as a form of paid media where the commercial content (news) is submitted within the form and design of the editorial content as a means of recreating the user experience of news reading instead of advertising the content. Nonetheless, several tests were carried out and they were analyzed in terms of their forms, functions, disclosure, types, authorships and measurements. The result obtained from these tests shows that while the rate at which implementation is achieved is still mild, the ways in which this implementation is carried out remains uneven across countries.

Why and how to regulate native advertising in online news publications, Bakshi, A. C. (2014). U. Balt. J. Media L. & Ethics, 4, 4. This paper studies how and why native advertising should be regulated as far as online news publications are concerned. The processes by which this can be achieved was well explained in this paper. Several methods and steps to take were also given and discussed.

Native advertising as a new public relations tactic, Sweetser, K. D., Ahn, S. J., Golan, G. J., & Hochman, A. (2016). American Behavioral Scientist, 60(12), 1442-1457. This study empirically used the impact of native advertising sponsorship disclosure on organization-public relationships (OPR), brand attitude, credibility and the attitude as regards advertisement. However, this paper assumes that the credibility and brand attitude are the main factors that predict the two OPR factors, although, the organization-public relationship was not affected by participants’ perception of advertisement disclosure/sponsorship. This study also helps to explain the perceived information utility.

A double-edged sword? Predicting consumers’ attitudes toward and sharing the intention of native advertising on social media, Lee, J., Kim, S., & Ham, C. D. (2016). American Behavioral Scientist, 60(12), 1425-1441. This paper aims at addressing the concern of native advertising by comparing the role of prediction on the native advertising non-intrusiveness in customer’s attitude with the sole aim of sharing the intention of native advertising. Results of tests carried out in this study from an online survey of 550 United States adults shows that native advertising non-intrusiveness is positively related to attitude towards the sharing of intention of native advertising. This paper expresses the knowledge of native advertising by studying the possibility of it being in two ways, however, both practical and theoretical assumptions were given in this paper.

Native advertising and the future of mass communication, Wojdynski, B. W., & Golan, G. J. (2016).  This paper explains the future of mass communication as a study, course and also a panacea to the native advertising problems. Also, this paper discusses the correlation between these two entities in this research thesis.

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