Book Masterclass

How does native advertising affect user experience?

By Adam Villaume, Journalist and Copywriter at Brand Movers
Jun 7, 2019

In a time when capturing and converting customers on the web is harder than ever, user experience is critical. Discover why native is a great option for user experience and what you should be doing to ensure best results.

The effectiveness of any website can largely be determined by its ability to retain people's attention. Our online attention spans usually aren't very impressive to begin with, but by focusing on usability, user experience, and of course great content, a website can retain people's presence for a long time and secure their return.

This makes a website interesting to marketers as a means to reach an audience and get their products and services in front of the right people.

The user experience is vital to a website’s ability to retain its users’ attention. As such, anything that jeopardizes this experience potentially jeopardizes the website’s future.

Traditional ads demand attention


If you visit a website and browse its content, you are often exposed to ads. They might be banners, large images or even video with sound, but the common trait is that they all seek to gain your attention.

You could say that their entire purpose is to get you to notice them instead of the content on the actual site.

This makes traditional marketing efforts obtrusive and disruptive to your user experience.

RELATED: Google: Publishers Need To Improve the User Experience

Native advertising blends in

Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 12.34.45

The whole idea with native advertising is for the native content to blend in with the rest of the content on that particular platform. The content is presented in the same style and format as the other content on the site.

Native ads are delivered inside the user's experience which makes native content non-disruptive. Your attention flows seamlessly between editorial and native content, with focus on the value you gain from the content.

Unobtrusive advertising gets your message out in front of people without sparking their resentment for you being there. When native advertising is done right, you aren’t interrupting the user's flow. In fact, you are contributing to it.

When do native ads hurt the user experience?


Nobody’s perfect, and it is possible to break people's flow of content consumption with native advertising.

Overall this happens when your native ads don’t line up with the style of the platform. It happens when your content fails to hit the same nerve as the rest of the content. It happens when your content isn’t relevant to the user.

In short, your native content interrupts the user experience when it doesn't live up to the ideals of native advertising.

RELATED: Why Web Design Is Crucial To Deliver Good Customer Experience

Labels never hurt anyone

Screen Shot 2019-04-25 at 10.59.43

Most native content is clearly labelled as advertising to the user, but some companies and marketers are reluctant to put the label on their content out of concerns that it will hurt their CTR and overall engagement.

However, imagine clicking on a piece of content that piqued your interest only to find out it is actually a piece of paid content – advertising in disguise. You feel hoodwinked, your user experience is disrupted and now it feels less safe to navigate the publishing website. At the same time, your regard for the advertising company has taken a hit.

Studies show that labels don’t hurt user experience; quite the contrary. That's because the user experience is guided by expectations. As long as the user gets what they expect, it doesn’t matter whether the content is editorial or paid, the experience is continued.

When you label your content, the user doesn't feel misled, their experience is improved and your company's credibility increases. 

The 5 best practices to increase user experience

To help you steer clear of interrupting the user experience, we have collected five best practices for your native advertising efforts. These practices are general in nature and will help you focus your content across in-feed, content recommendations and branded content.

  1. Improve relevancy with better targeting and by distributing the content in the right section of a website.
  2. Focus on the long run to build credibility. Don’t use click bait to drive traffic now and risk decreasing people's trust in the company.
  3. Label everything and preferably add a byline to show that editorial staff has created the content.
  4. Be aware of the differences in what works on different platforms, with different formats and content types.
  5. Give people an opportunity to respond to your native ads. You can learn a lot about your audience’s intentions and preferences, which will help you optimize the content as well as adjust the relevancy.

With these five guidelines, you should be able to not only secure but increase the user experience and through that your results down the line.

Nudge, measure and analyze


Native advertising is in many ways a virtual gentle prod or nudge to get people to take a certain action, usually clicking on and reading a piece of content. So how many responded to that nudge? How many read the content? How long did they stay on the site?

If you can't answer these questions, you won’t be able to know whether your content and your distribution of the content have been effective. Moreover, you won’t know how well your content fit into the users’ experience.

Measuring click-through rates, pageviews and time spent on site are important to determine the effectiveness of your native content. Low CTRs can mean anything from bad headlines, poor images or poor location on the site as well to low relevance for the users.

You might have to change several things to make the content work better, but the point here is that all the aforementioned possibilities point to a poor user experience. Creating great content that blends into the user experience, sometimes even lifting it, is the ultimate nudge in native advertising.

Measuring, analyzing and then optimizing your native ads helps you give people just that: The right nudge.

Get even more insights into native formats and platforms at this year's Native Advertising DAYS.

Learn about the latest industry trends and practices from the leading players in the industry. Don't risk missing out! Get your tickets today, right here.

Story by Adam Villaume

Adam Villaume is a journalist and copywriter at Brand Movers – a leading content marketing agency based in Copenhagen, Denmark. A journalist at heart, Adam intends to make the reader a little smarter through trustworthy and authentic writing, and like a chameleon, his writings seek to blend into the context of each clients media platform. Adam has a background in both journalism and marketing and saw a chance to combine his former experiences into one professional direction through content marketing. Earlier in his career, Adam Villaume developed his writing skills as a journalist for a regional newspaper. He dived deep into the marketing pool, working with a wine imports company and an award-winning wine bar in Copenhagen. Adam got his social media-badge as a digital and social media reporter at TV 2 Business, writing and distributing business news and transforming long interviews into short, engaging videos.

New call-to-action

Be a Native Advertising Hero - Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Join +10,000 peers and become part of the growing native advertising community.

No Comments Yet

Let us know what you think