Native advertising is growing in popularity, in part due to growing concerns around the effectiveness of some other forms of digital advertising. It can help to circumnavigate the rise of ad blocking software, and marketers and publishers are investing in models that prioritise high quality and valuable content.


Like an old-fashioned ‘advertorial’, native ads are often presented as content. They are placed in a way that is consistent in form and function (i.e. design, context and behaviour) with the online media platforms or publishers they appear in. In-stream ads, branded content, and paid search can be considered variations of native ads, though the term is increasingly used to specify brand-funded content published by third-party publishers. 

Key insights

1. Best practices for branded content add value to native advertising

An understanding of branded content alongside native advertising is needed for a content marketing strategy. Research by the Financial Times shows that 64% of readers believe the quality of branded content is more important than the brand sponsoring it. Partnering with a publisher on branded content can offer a much broader audience than the brand’s own site, potentially helping new people change perceptions that they might have of the brand. Four things were regarded by the respondents as vital “building blocks” of branded content: it must be informative and useful, it should not try to sell the brand’s products or services, it needs to be well-written, and lastly, it should come from a reliant and trustworthy source.