How to spot the difference between native ads and Google display ads
Both advertising types seem super akin. They have a similar look and feel at first glance, when shown to the user who’s browsing through content pages, on articles, videos or websites. But, don’t be fooled by appearance: Although they seem to be similar, they’re only related and not twins – and they serve a completely different purpose in the end.
What’s native advertising?
Native ads are ads that don't feel like ads. They’re found on the bottom of news pages, mixed in between editorial content. Right now, native advertising is gaining traction but hasn’t yet arrived in the mainstream – which is why experts refer to it as a blue ocean market; a market that has still a lot left to discover.
What are display ads?
Google Display Ads are banners. They are usually shown on the left or on the right side of the website. In any shape or form, they can pop up or change position while the user is scrolling. What’s interesting to know: Studies have discovered a phenomenon, called banner blindness – where people are starting to subconsciously ignore banners or automatically blend out information that looks banner alike.
Native ads allow for more independency
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that Native advertising is a general term. Meaning, it isn’t bound to any particular platform, such as Google Ads & Co.
When using Google Ads, you’re dependent on Google. When using Facebook Ads, you’re dependent on Facebook – you get the gist. But native advertising is simply a broad term like online marketing or PPC (pay-per-click) traffic etc. Besides that, there’s a lot of traffic sources within Native advertising, which companies get from native advertising platforms. For example, the most famous traffic sources in Native are native advertising platforms like Taboola, Outbrain or Revcontent. But, there are a lot more, smaller and bigger traffic sources, for native advertising.
This makes it possible to reach people who have no Instagram, no Facebook and no Google Account. As a result, people above the age of 25 are drawn to native ads. Companies use that benefit, since grown people are more likely to spend money on their services, whereas someone without a stable stream of income isn’t.
In short, there’s a contrast in dependency – or in advertising freedom, if you will. With platforms like Facebook or Instagram, you’re dependent on their settings. You have to use their type of business manager, their Google Ad Spec, etc. This could be a potential issue – if, for example, Google blocks you, or you don’t want to work with Google – you can’t continue with your advertising campaign.
Facebook especially is known for changing ad guidelines quickly and often. Volatility is something many advertisers struggle with when advertising. It makes planning more difficult and measurable results can’t be foreseen.
With native ads, on the other hand, it’s a different picture. They aren’t your standard ads – and it’s possible that it requires out-of-the-box thinking. Native ads just don’t have the same restrictions as display ads, they’re simply more flexible and adjustable.
You can choose from a number of native advertising platforms, and it is possible to scale your campaigns throughout different traffic sources, etc. For example, you could be starting a campaign with a native advertising platform such as Taboola and scale it later with Outbrain.
How are native and display ads different in looks? Native Advertising vs. Google Display Ads
On a regular website, you have content and on the right-hand side, display ads. Which are shown usually as animated images, with a button, for example. These are especially helpful for retargeting since they pop up straightforwardly.
Whereas, native ads are found on the end of the website, when scrolling down to the very end. The ads are placed in between normal, organic ads, blending into regular editorials on news pages. And, that’s what makes the disguised ad placements so attractive. For the reader, it’s hardly possible to spot the difference between the ad and the article.
Hence, a lot of people consume the ad, without realizing that this is just an advertisement. The big advantage here is that you have the platform’s credibility on your side. There is the logo on the page – as a visual symbol reminding the viewer that they’re on a trustful source of information – and immediately down below, there’s the advertisement that is now associated with the news page. Hence, trust is subtly built without much effort. And, with the right traffic from Native advertising platforms, this trust can help catalyse action.
When to use what?
Okay, this is an article about Native Advertising vs. Google Display Ads. With the Google display Ad, the user is interrupted – the ad pops up during reading. Therefore, this type of advertisement is recommended for retargeting. If your visitor was already on your website, but hasn’t finished the purchase, then it absolutely makes sense to interrupt – or remind – them to complete the purchase.
For gaining prospective customers, native advertising is much more effective. Because, the user is already on the page, reads until the end of the article, and wants to read more.
They want to continue since they have time to – they’re at lunch, are taking a break – they simply have time on their hands. So, what they want to do now is read more articles. Native advertising is giving them more – more exact, a number of advertorials to choose from. So, they stumble on editorials with potentially interesting products and ads, including the links to the product websites.
And that’s the approach with native advertising. The core benefit of native advertising is that you are able to convert a completely “cold” aka. uninterested audience into a “warm“ audience, in other words, a potential customer who is ready to buy. So, you’re able to generate leads or sales within a few clicks. Native advertising platforms will help you here – to find the right audience in the first place for selling your product or generating your lead.
Summary: Native Advertising vs. Google Display Ads
Native ads are made for prospecting, whereas Google display Ads work well with retargeting. Depending on your campaign, it can make sense to combine the two – as a network or as an intertwined construction, you might be able to get the best out of both worlds.
If you want to know more about native advertising, read our latest articles here “Are native ads clickbait?” and Who is native advertising suitable for?” Or feel free to get our checklist by Marcel about whether native ads could be something for your business (Free to download without strings attached).