Native or Display? Which Ad type is Right For You

Native or Display? Which Ad type is Right For You

Nowadays advertising space offers a vast variety of ad formats to suit different business needs. We will look at one of the most popular types of ads in programmatic advertising and try to decide which will suit your needs best and help achieve your marketing goals. 

Display ads have been dominating the advertising space for more than 20 years and only recently got a real competitor. Native ads have unseated display ads from the online advertising throne within just a few years. As a term, native advertising was formed only in 2011, but the pace with which it conquered the digital advertising industry is impressive. 

By the end of 2019, US advertisers have spent almost $44 billion on native ads – $8.66 billion more than they did last year and it’s estimated that in 2020 native formats will account for almost two-thirds of the advertising market share globally.

So should you abandon display ads altogether and allocate all your budget to native ads or is there still potential in the veteran of the advertising world? Let’s find it out.

What are Display Ads?

Display ads are typically colourful sometimes animated banners found in different places across the webpage. Latest versions of display ads can be of various sizes and shapes and include video, interactive elements, pop-ups etc. 

The main problem with display ads is that they produce very low CTRs which usually account for around 0.05%. It’s related to every marketer’s nightmare – an increasing banner blindness of the audience. Another common problem is the usage of adblock software that limits the reach of display ads. 

And let’s face it, display ads are one of the most hated types of advertising mainly because they are perceived as intrusive. Once you check an offer on some website this offer will follow you till the rest of your life (or until you clear your cookies which we do once in a lifetime anyway).

However, Display Ads are Still a Good Idea If:

  • Your main goal is brand awareness. Display ads can increase the purchase intent as the research made by Dynamic Logic and Millward Brown suggests. Those tests showed that display ads actually can encourage site visits and searches even when people don’t click on the ads themselves;
  • You don’t want to invest too much money, as banner ads are less expensive as compared to other ad formats; 
  • You don’t want to dedicate too much time and effort to the process of creating the ads themselves;
  • Your campaign’s goal is retargeting
  • You want to test your ads first for further optimization later.

What are Native Ads?

Native ads don’t look like traditional ads but rather they try to blend in with the website they appear on. These ads are not invasive, are pretty subtle, and create an impression of being native to the content of the website, hence the name. They are usually labeled as “Sponsored”, “Suggested” or “Promoted” to still give the visitors a heads up about their advertising nature. 

The best selling point for native ads is that they create a positive user experience without distracting the audience from their flow and allow people to choose if they want to view this content or not. Besides, native ads are highly likely to bring more engaged audience, since such ads are relevant to the content visitors are already checking on the website. 

One more point to consider is that native ads are relatively new, so visitors haven’t developed immunity against them yet. In fact, native ads get 53% more views than display ads. CTR for mobile is 0.38%, for desktop it’s a bit lower (0.16%), yet it still makes this type of ads one of the most engaging. 

With programmatic native advertising, marketers can make native ads work even more effectively: by automating the process of buying ad placements. As a result, the ads will appear on even more relevant websites thus showing an 18% increase in purchase rate

But, let’s mention the negative aspects of running native ads.

The most obvious one is actually also connected with the ability of native ads to blend in: some visitors might feel deceived because they could take it for the original content of the website. That may bring negative brand awareness to the original website and increase the bounce rate. 

Also, consider the fact that native ads require much more work in terms of creating content and adjusting it. 

Finally, native advertising is more expensive than display ads and requires considerably more  testing and optimization. 

However, Native Ads are Definitely a Good Idea If:

  • You want to increase ad viewability and thus the CTR of your campaigns;
  • You want the content to be shareable to increase the reach further;
  • Your goal is to drive traffic to the brand and product landing page;
  • You want less competition on the market.

Let’s Summarize 

So what does the market face now? 

With the  development and the growing popularity of programmatic media buying, native advertising has attracted more and more attention. I even heard a phrase that currently “display advertising is simply native”. But I personally wouldn’t rush to such conclusions, since as you can see both types of ads have their pros and cons. 

The best marketing strategy would be to incorporate both native and display ads into your campaigns.  This way, you’ll be able to maximise their potential depending on your goals. Be flexible, leverage the advantages of both types, keep up with trends and innovations, but don’t forget to utilize the strategies that have proven to bring good results. 

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