By 2021, 74% of online advertisements will be native (source: Business Insider). What form will native advertising take then? What impending changes are to be expected? You can find detailed answers in this article.

A key pillar for mobile marketing performance

According to a SmartInsights study, in the last three years, 51% of Internet users have spent more time surfing from their smartphones than from their computers (42%). However, traditional display advertising (and large unsightly banners) is very poorly adapted to the mobile format. Native advertising, on the other hand, is a normal part of the mobile user’s experience.

Moreover, one of the first platforms to have inaugurated native advertising formats is a mobile social network par excellence: since 2010, Twitter has been marketing its sponsored tweets that integrate seamlessly with the user’s feed.

If we omit paid search results, sponsored tweets are the first form of native advertising. Having first appeared in 2010, their success hasn’t wavered since. (Photo credit: Marten Bjork, Unsplash)

Another precursor of native advertising is of course Google with its paid search results at the top of the page (via Adwords). But the trend towards mobile is turning out to be more complicated than expected for the giant. Indeed, if on desktop most of the research is done on, the reality of is very different on smartphones, where apps are mainly used. Indeed, it’s on those apps that a lot of searching is done, whether it’s a restaurant on Yelp, a product on Amazon or a trip on Expedia. This vertical searching, which is beyond its control, is a challenge for Google, but an opportunity for advertisers to diversify the media, with more advantageous costs (Google’s monopoly is by definition not conducive to a price war).

Towards standardization of formats

The web hardly had time to finally agree on standards for display advertising (such as sizes and predefined formats of banners) when native advertising came along to shake up everything! Is it back to scratch?

Standardization may seem unnatural to the very essence of native advertising, which is supposed to fit exactly with the site on which it’s published. Still, advertisers cannot predict the multiple formats for each campaign on each media. So, there’s a massive demand for standardization: it’s then up to publishers to adapt their content to allow the harmonious integration of standardized native advertisements!

To continue its expansion, native advertising will have to go through a rationalization and standardization, far from the current complexity (Photo credit: Mustafa ezz, Pexels)

In short, in the near future, we should expect the emergence of standards on performance measurement, distribution, formats, so that online publishers may generalize the distribution of unique campaigns.

The only form of standardization to date consists of this official typology of native advertising:

  • In-feed ads: promote sponsored content in the native content feed,
  • Recommendation widget: section appearing at the end of articles, often with a “Recommended for you” or “This might interest you” heading,
  • Sponsored indexing (sponsored listing): a product appears sponsored in a list (e.g. a product in a price comparison);
  • Search: a paid ad appears at the top of the search results.

A transparent separation between informative content and advertising content?

A distorted conception of native advertising is the concealment of its true nature in the midst of native or editorial content. The user could be fooled, assimilating promotional content with standard editorial content, giving it more credit.

It can work. But is it worth it? Millennials – the primary target for native advertising – are savvy about marketing techniques. So, they’ll probably unmask any hidden promotion attempt. The damage to your brand is so huge in that millennials might permanently lose their trust in a brand. Not to mention their propensity to share the discovery of the scam with their friends and network. Watch out for the backlash.

Attempting to dissimulate ads is illegal and may turn against you. In native advertising, it’s better to clearly state your identity, and therefore the true nature of the published content. (Photo credit: Mustafa ezz, Pexels)

People want to know who is talking to them and what is the purpose of the content that is presented to them. They value authentic conversations, which isn’t necessarily incompatible with the promotional aspect of the exchange. If you’re honest and transparent, the people you attract to your website will be there for a good reason, and more likely to convert.

Towards niche native ads

You and your competitors are fighting for the attention of your consumers in your market niche. You have several more or less powerful tools at your disposal to do this. Social networks, on which advertising is primarily native, offer ultra-precise targeting criteria to enable you to target your audience surgically.

With social media advertising platforms like Facebook, you have a high precision weapon to exactly reach your niche. (Photo credit: Andre Hunter, Unsplash)

In addition, the other big side of native advertising is sponsored articles. In this regard, bloggers, aware of the ineffectiveness of banners, especially with the advent of ad blockers, are turning more and more to this mode of remuneration. This allows advertisers to target a particular audience more and more accurately based on their interests. A platform like has more than 3,000 influential publishers. This range of offers made available to advertisers ensures you target the desired audience ever more precisely, especially millennials.

Augmented reality, the next frontier?

The next evolution of native advertising may well be in augmented reality and its 360-degree functionality. Here’s an almost limitless space – reality – in which to place new promotional formats.

This first ad by Starbucks on an Apple Augmented Reality Kit shows the beginnings of virtual native advertising.

Some argue that it’s simply a return to display advertising, with traditional product placements, just superimposed on reality. It would be forgetting that this harmonious integration of an advertisement in the user experience corresponds exactly to the definition of native advertising. In addition, we need to give a little time to the advertisers to experiment all the potential of this new medium in order to propose ever more subtle integration.

If advertisers are transparent, native advertising will continue to prevail to monopolize the bulk of advertising investments. It’s not too late to get on the bandwagon and target your niche market effectively!