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Native Ads vs. Display Ads: What Is The Difference

kokou adzo



ecommerce, online, marketing

In today’s fiercely competitive landscape, where businesses jockey for the ever-fleeting gaze of consumers, nailing the choice of ad format can be the linchpin in the triumph of marketing crusades. Amid the vast arsenal of advertising, two behemoths cut a distinct presence: Native Ads and Display Ads.

Visualize yourself in the midst of surfing your top-choice site, totally immersed in an insightful piece on groundbreaking tech marvels or perhaps a riveting chronicle of travel adventures, when—bam—you bump into a recommendation that melds into your reading experience, tickling your interest. Is it merely another chunk of the narrative you’re hungrily consuming, or is it playing in a different league? That, esteemed reader, is native advertising at its most artful and crafty execution.

Yet, don’t rush to cast aside the more blatant invitations for your eyeballs – the snazzy banners, the vibrant animations, the kind of pop-ups that have become part of the web’s wallpaper. Display ads, in their brazen quest for your alertness, flaunt their graphical charm unabashedly.

March forth into this exposition as we demystify the charisma that Native Ads and Display Ads exude profusely. By piercing through the heart of their stratagems, the muscle of their allure, and the nitty-gritty of their dissimilarity, you’re poised to unearth an enriched comprehension of these ad juggernauts – a revelation that has the power to propel your marketing initiatives into the stratosphere.

What Are Native Ads?

Visualize Native Ads as the chameleons of the ad universe, morphing to mirror the form and fashion of the site they call home. With an uncanny resemblance to the native content of the page, they sidestep the appearance of a traditional advertisement.

This brand of advertising weaves itself so deftly into the site’s editorial fabric that it might as well be considered part of the organic content tapestry.

The three foremost incarnations of native advertising are as follows:

  • Infeed/In Content ads: melding masterfully with articles or social feeds, these are the master impersonators.
  • Content recommendation ads: you’ll find these masquerading as natural extensions of the written word, perching cozily at an article’s conclusion or along the sidelines.
  • Branded Ads: these may emerge as sponsored narratives in the social media realm or as curated entries within search engines.

Native advertising——excel at amplifying brand presence. They can be honed to target particular slices of your audience demographic. In a head-to-head with other ad genres, native ads bolster engagement rates by 23% more than their display counterparts, while also notching up superior click-through performance.

What Are Display Ads?

Let’s shift gears to Display Ads, the quintessential “digital ads” known to the masses. Picture the scene—banner ads unfurling across screens, video clips seizing moments, interactive elements beckoning engagement, and pop-ups springing forth unexpectedly. While their click-through track record might not boast the same luster as other ad breeds, it’s a mere sliver of the success saga. Display ads wield their own clout in fortifying brand recognition and heightening purchase intent.

Native Ads vs. Display Ads

Key Differences

1. Format and integration

Diving into Native Ads, you’d see they snuggle right up to existing content, taking on its look and feel like a chameleon—that’s their forte. They’re the undercover agents of advertising, often popping up as that “suggested read” or the sponsor shout-out within your scrolling experience. They keep things smooth, without tossing a wrench into your online stroll.

On the flip side, Display Ads are the flashy billboards of the web. Unapologetically individual, they stand apart with a visual pop, showing up in all sorts of forms—think splashy banners or eye-catching sidebars. Their main gig is to nab your glances with bright and bold designs that shout, “Hey, look over here!”

2. User experience

With Native Ads, the vibe is chill. They’re those good guests at a party who mingle without causing a fuss. The intent here is to slide value and info your way as you bop along your usual digital pathway. It’s no wonder users often hit it off with these ads; they’re part and parcel of the whole scene.

However, when it comes to Display Ads, they’re jumping into the fray, hoping to turn some heads. Visual pizzazz is their game, but this approach can be a double-edged sword—it’s a hop, skip, and a jump from attention-grabbing to annoyance, especially if they’re too pushy or end up being ignored entirely (ad blindness is real!).

3. Audience targeting

Peek at Native Ads, and you’ll notice they’re crafty, getting cozy with content that speaks the same lingo as their intended audience. This knack for matching the ad’s context with the content around it makes all the difference—it’s like finding a needle in a haystack that actually wants to be found.

Display Ads cast a wider net. They tap into demographics and behaviors, shooting for a shotgun strategy of sorts. While they can also do a bit of context play, they’re more like the generalists to Native Ads’ specialist approach.

4. Campaign goals

Native Ads? Think of them as the storytellers—the narrative ninjas that draw you into a tale, urging you to read on, sign up, or browse a bit longer. They’re all about deepening the conversation and getting you engaged, not just with the ad, but with the content that pulls you deeper into their world.

Display Ads are the ones suited up for the bigger, flashier missions—boosting brand visibility, dropping the mic on product intros, or getting you to act, pronto. They’re the “act now” folks, all about the immediate wiggle of the click-through tally.

5. Ad creative

For Native Ads, the creative needs to slip into the existing content wardrobe seamlessly. This means well-thought-out headlines and visuals that blend in, with calls to action that jive without jarring the audience.

Display Ads let the creative juices flow wild. There’s room for drama in the visuals and sound, and the calls to action are clear, direct, and designed to make you stop in your digital tracks.

Benefits of Native Advertising

1. It snags audience attention like a charm

You know, native ads just sneak up on you without that typical in-your-face vibe. They come across as something genuinely worth your time, perfectly tailored to whatever device you’re using, which is likely why folks tend to welcome them with open arms, perhaps even with a smile. While traditional, more aggressive ads tend to get the cold shoulder, native ads just slide right into your field of vision and coax you into engaging with them, almost like they’re part of the conversation you were already having.

2. They knock it out of the park performance-wise

Boy oh boy, do they get results! The engagement levels with native ads are off the charts, which translates to a heck of a lot more eyeballs on them, more mouse clicks, and ultimately, more folks taking action.

There’s research by big names like Outbrain and CMI pointing to the fact that these ads are lapping traditional ones on the track with click-through rates that leave the old-school methods in the dust by about five to tenfold, betting on trust rather than a hard-sell approach.

3. They’re as credible as they come

Gaining trust in ad-land is no cakewalk, right? Audiences today are super savvy; they can smell a sales pitch a mile away and usually turn their noses up at it. But, here’s the kicker: native ads align with what you’re already hunting for online, which kind of bestows upon them a badge of credibility. People dig information that feels like it’s been hand-picked for them, empowering them to make good choices. Once that trust is secured, you’re not just winning the battle; you’re winning the war, with loyalty as the prize.

4. They turbocharge your targeting game

Imagine you’re a maestro, and the native ad is your baton – it helps you orchestrate targeting with precision. These ads find their way to the folks who’re most likely to give a hoot about them. Take a cosmetics brand, for example; their stuff will pop up on a beauty blog where beauty buffs are already soaking in similar content. Or, picture a sports brand – they’d dish out their content on a fitness site where fitness nuts are hanging out. It’s like throwing a party and already knowing everyone’s gonna love the playlist.

Benefits of Display Advertising

1. Visually Appealing

One of the primary perks of display advertising lies in the fact that these ads are visually structured and crafted with precision. While standard PPC ads are confined to plain text and rigorous character counts, display ads break free from those constraints, offering you the latitude to snag attention and relay your message instantaneously and with visual flair.

2. Brand Awareness & Visibility

To land a new client, that individual must first recognize your company’s presence. Localogy reports an uptick in the frequency of brand encounters needed before a consumer considers engagement—from seven to a notable ten interactions. Establishing brand visibility is, therefore, far more pivotal now than ever before.

3. Targeted

Strategically focusing your digital marketing endeavors is vital. Similar to the targeting capabilities of both PPC and Facebook ads, digital display advertising allows you to meticulously specify who sees your ads, such as determining the websites they’re featured on, pinpointing geographical locations, and homing in on specific demographic groups or market niches.

4. Retargeting Interested Consumers

Retargeting with display ads involves crafting opportunities for further engagement by serving up ads to users based on their previous online activity. This includes reaching out to those who’ve explored your website but haven’t yet crossed the threshold into becoming a paying customer.

5. Reach Consumers on the Go

Adopting geofencing in your display advertising efforts is a cunning move. Targeting mobile devices according to the user’s precise location primes your advertising to impact those actively out and about, shopping with a keen purchase intent.

6. Block the Competition

Employ display advertising as a strategic maneuver to divert consumers at the cusp of choosing a competitor. Engage in search retargeting; capture those who’ve perused a rival’s products and present them with an irresistible offer on your own platform. It’s a potent method for securing new clientele.

7. Easily Tracked to Measure Effectiveness

Monitoring the pulse of your marketing achievements is non-negotiable. Display advertising brings to the table the ability to quantify the scale of your ad impressions and click-throughs. As display ads are primarily tools for amplifying brand awareness, keeping tabs on the number of impressions is instrumental in gauging the triumph of your campaigns.

Budget Considerations

Native Ads budget

Your financial strategy for native ads should conscientiously incorporate the undertaking of crafting top-notch, enlightening content. This may encompass the production of articles, videos, or even interactive components. Account for the expense tied to churning out such rich content—it’s an integral line item on your budget sheet.

Platform-specific fees are another element that could nibble at your budget. Whether you’re embedding your native ads within social platforms, news portals, or content discovery ecosystems, each platform potentially levies its own unique usage tariffs or distribution overheads.

Promotion and distribution mustn’t be overlooked, either. To ensure your native content seamlessly reaches its intended demographic, you might find yourself funneling funds into sponsored content promotions or ponying up for paid placements.

Yet, it’s also imperative to cast an eye toward the future—native ads are acclaimed for sewing seeds of brand trust and authority that often germinate into long-term gains. Sure, your initial outlay might elicit a gulp, but the prospective, enduring returns in engagement and conversion could very well reconcile those upfront investments over time.

Display Ads budget

Switching gears to display ads, the financial anatomy here presents a different set of variables.

The real estate for your display ads—a slot on a website or space within an app—comes at a cost variable by dimensions, visibility, and the clout of the platform in question. Remember, securing a spot in these digital corridors isn’t gratis.

Aesthetics are key with display ads, necessitating the engagement of design prowess. Nestled within your budget should be an allowance for design endeavors, embracing everything from the creation of striking graphics to the composition of compelling copy.

The intricacy of your targeting preference and the vying demand for the ad spaces you eye will toggle the price tag on ad inventory. Prime spots often command hefty sums.

When we talk about ad frequency, we’re really discussing optimization of exposure versus purse strings—display ads might bill you per impression or click. So, a vigilant approach to harmonizing ad frequency with your budget could be your golden ticket to keeping expenses in check.

In sum, while native ads and display ads dip their toes into different streams—native ads with their upfront content costs but crafty and covert user engagement, and display ads with their striking visuals and potential for widespread reach—both streams converge into the ocean of digital marketing efficacy. It’s prudent to dive into each, with a clear fiscal plan buoyed by strategic thoughtfulness.

Case Studies

Dive into an exploration of real-world scenarios where native and display advertisements truly strut their stuff, shall we? Our highlight reel of case studies is chock-full of insights from trailblazing campaigns:

Native Ads Showcase: Airbnb’s ‘Experiences’

Zoom in on Airbnb’s ‘Experiences’ initiative, and what do you see? A sterling instance of native advertising wizardry. To trumpet their travel experience offerings, Airbnb didn’t just throw ads hither and yon; they struck up collaborations with publishers, meticulously crafting content that’s so smooth and snug with those platforms, it’s like it grew there.

Picture travel guides, articles, even videos – they didn’t just appear in reader feeds, they belonged there, engaging potential travelers while flaunting Airbnb’s distinctive experiences.

Let’s tally the wins:

  • User engagement went through the roof, so did the time they spent on partner sites.
  • Brand awareness didn’t just rise; it soared, trust in tow.
  • Users started looking at Airbnb’s ‘Experiences’ with newfound admiration.
  • Conversion rates? Those spiked too, as users didn’t just browse, they booked.

Display Ads Spotlight: Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’

Now, cast your eyes on Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ stint, an archetypal victory in the display ads arena. What’s the gimmick? Personalization – Coke cans and bottles wore individual names like badges. The effect was more than cosmetic: they were splashed across stores, hoardings, digital banners, screaming for attention. This wasn’t just advertising; it was an invitation to weave bonds over a fizzy drink because nothing says ‘cheers’ like a Coke can with your name on it, right?

Result roundup:

  • Brand visibility? It didn’t soar; it skyrocketed.
  • Social media went ablaze. Selfies with named Coke products became the digital wildfire.
  • A surge in sales? Take it to the bank. Consumers turned seekers, hunting those cans and bottles like treasures.

Each case study is a testament: native and display ads have the chops to impress when they’re in their element, aligned with crisp campaign vision. Native ads are your go-to for narratives that resonate and wrap the user up, while display ads are your power players in getting the eyeballs and sparking instant moves.

Choosing between native and display advertising? It’s about locking in on your targets, being savvy to who’s receiving your message, and leveraging the inherent might of each ad genre. Marry your ad strategies to your endgames, keeping a finger on the pulse of media trends, and you’re set to navigate the bustling highways of digital advertising with poise.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at

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