Book Masterclass

What is the Definition of Native Advertising?

What is native advertising exactly? How can you spot native ads when you see them?

If you take a look around the internet and you will find that the opinions regarding what defines native advertising differs quite a bit. There have been a number of contributors writing about that very subject on this very platform.

Some believe that ads delivered in stream on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are to be considered native advertising. We do not subscribe to that view, because we think that native advertising needs to be valuable content of a non-interruptive nature. That is typically not the case with in stream advertising.

Similarly we don't think that paid search is native advertising, because we don't consider a search engine to be a media.

So what does the Native Advertising Institute's definition of native advertising look like?

In future posts we are going to guide you through the entire scope of native advertising, but right now we'll provide you with a brief definition.

The Native Advertising Institute's definition of Native Advertising

Native advertising is paid advertising where the ad matches the form, feel and function of the content of the media on which it appears.

What Can be Considered Native Advertising

Many formats fit this definition of native advertising. Some of the most common are:

  • Advertorials in newspapers and magazines.
  • Advertiser funded programming on broadcast- or web tv.
  • Promoted or sponsored posts on social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

What is Not be Considered Native Advertising and Why

  • Paid search. We do not consider a search engine a media, in the sense that we do not consider a phone book to be a media either. And so, paid search is not native advertising.
  • Ads delivered in-stream on i.e. Facebook. Native advertising needs to hold relevant, valuable and non-interruptive content that meets the expectations of the audience. Ads in the Facebook-feed is no more native advertising than an ad placed among the articles on a news-site like

Photo credit: The New York Times

Anders Vinderslev is a trained journalist and former editor and key contributor to the NAI blog. He has, according to himself, produced some of the most thought-provoking and impactful reporting on the state of native advertising. Today he works as a content creator and editor at Brand Movers, but from time to time he will deliver spicy takes on native advertising and sponsored content here at the NAI blog.

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.

Comments (1)