Acquiring Traffic

3 FAQs about Native Ads (Including Examples from Franchise Lead Gen)

Eli Robinson
Thursday, March 26 2015

(This is our second post on native advertising. If you’re looking for an introduction to what native advertising is, click here to read part one)

One of our loyal readers recently submitted a comment asking for more articles about native advertising. Ask and ye shall receive!

It’s no surprise as spending on native advertising is predicted to absolutely explode in the next few years.

Business Insider’s research division, BI Intelligence, recently published this chart:

BI Intelligence Native Ad Revenue Projections 2013 - 2018


For those who don’t want to break out their calculator, you’re looking at only $4.7 Billion in native ad spend in 2013 that’s predicted to grow to $10.7 Billion this year. (Not to mention the fact that it may hit $21 Billion in three short years.)

So I’d say this is a topic that deserves at least one more post!

So here are three questions I’ve been asked about native advertising recently.


Question 1: In the last post, you described native advertising as “an ad that looks like the website instead of looking like an ad.” Can you give me some examples so I can get a better idea of what you’re talking about?

Of course. In February, HubSpot published an article entitled “9 Examples of Native Ads People Actually Enjoyed Reading.” You can check it out here.

As you peruse these examples, you’ll see that most of these fall under the category of “advertorial.” In these cases, a publisher (NY Times, SB Nation, Wired, etc.) partner with a brand (Nike, GE, Netflix, etc.) to jointly publish content.

The readers think they’re reading standard editorial content, BUT really it’s designed to either promote a brand or convince the readers to take some sort of action.


Question 2: Man this is confusing. So everything I click on may be an ad? And I don’t even know about it? How do I know if what I’m clicking on is a native ad or just normal content?

This is a fantastic and probably unanswerable question, but I’ll do my best.

The fact of the matter is it all depends how you define ad. If you define an online ad as something that someone paid for you to see or click, then it’s impossible for the user to know if he/she is clicking an ad. This is because it is completely blind to the user whether or not someone is paying for you to do that.

So unless a website goes out of their way to tell you it’s an ad, you are unlikely to know.

The worst part of this is that it’s unlikely to get any better as time goes on. In fact, if that BI Intelligence chart comes true, it’s going to get way worse.

The internet is predominantly free because it’s the next great advertising platform. And marketers, like yours truly, will stop at nothing to reach new users.

So the line between ad and non-ad is only going to get blurrier.


Question 3: Alright already. I get it. But can you give me a good example from the franchising industry?

It turns out that native advertising is quite nascent in the franchising world, so examples aren’t exactly all over the place. But I can give you a couple…

First of all, take a read of this blog post from the FranchiseHelp blog entitled “How the UPS Store Helps First-Timers Transition to Franchise Ownership”

This is an example of where we worked with the UPS Store to educate people on how to transition to franchise ownership. A reader of our blog would certainly be interested in what it’s like, so we’re happy. And ultimately this serves as an advertisement for becoming a franchisee for the UPS Store.

However, readers may not know that this is an ad!

Here’s another one.

If you go to the franchise homepage of Entrepreneur magazine, you’ll see something that looks like this:

Entrepreneur.com Franchises Homepage


Obviously, there are ads everywhere. The FranChoice banner even has the word “advertisement” written above it.

Entrepreneur FranChoice Ad

If you look closely at the links, you’ll see one is for a “Franchise Buying Guide.” Talk about something relevant for these readers. And lo and behold, it’s presented by Guidant Financial. The more you click around the guide, which happens to be rife with good relevant content, the more you’re presented with opportunities to fund your franchise through Guidant. Another excellent example of native advertising. By being associated with a "How To" for franchise ownership, you plant the seed for being a part of someone's process.

And to top it off, there’s even a banner promoting Guidant:

Entrepreneur Guidant Ad

But guess what?

This one doesn’t have the word “advertisement!”

Want to talk about the newest online marketing strategies for your franchise, shoot us a note!