Master the native advertising process with Adkomo

This Native Ads guide aims to educate lead generation advertisers to the world of native advertising platforms, and help them leverage the latter to generate highly qualified leads. Without further ado, let’s cut to the chase and dive right in!

In 2022, advertisers spent roughly 88 billion dollars on Native advertising, a 14.9% YoY increase from 2021. Ad spend is projected to grow another 13.9% this year to 99.75 billion dollars (source : Insider Intelligence).

An interesting parallel emerges with classic display advertising, as both forms of advertising are “visual” in nature. While display aims to be straightforward and more sales aggressive, native tends to come in the shape of informative articles aimed at solving a user problem.

Native advertising is a form of online advertising that matches the form and function of the content on the website where it appears. Native ads are less intrusive than traditional banner ads, and they can provide a better user experience because they are more relevant to the surrounding content.

When crafting a native ad, it is important to keep in mind the overall tone and style of the website where it will appear. The ad should blend in with the other content on the page, and it should be relevant to the audience that will see it.

There are a few different types of native ads, and each one has its own benefits and
drawbacks. Here are some of the most common types of native ads:

In-feed ads: These are ads that appear in the main feed of content on a website. They are typically scrollable, and they can be customized to match the look and feel of the website where they appear.

Example of native ads in the website feed
Example of native ads in the website feed

In-article ads: These are ads that appear within an article or blog post. They are usually integrated into the text of the article, and they can be customized to match the style of the article.

Example of in-article ads in french news outlet “Le Figaro”
Example of in article ads in french news outlet Le Figaro

Recommendation widgets: These are small boxes that contain recommendations for other articles or products that may be of interest to the reader. Recommendation widgets can be customized to match the look and feel of the website where they appear.

Example of recommendation widgets in French publisher “Le Monde”
Example of recommendation widgets in French publisher Le Monde


Native advertising is an effective way to reach your target audience and drive more customers to your business. It is a form of online advertising that blends into the content on a webpage, making it look like part of the natural content.

This type of advertising has been around for some time, but recently it has become increasingly popular as more businesses are recognizing its vast untapped potential. In this article, we’ll discuss how to run native advertising in order to maximize the impact of your marketing efforts. We’ll cover everything from content selection and creation to targeting and tracking results, so you can get the most out of your native ad campaigns.

Example of native ads in "Le Figaro"
Example of native ads in Le Figaro

One of the caveats of native advertising is the lack of direct control over audience variables such as age and gender. The workaround solution is to make your visuals and headlines as clear as possible in order to get as many qualified clicks as possible. For instance, an insurance product destined for senior citizens needs to clearly show said age group, and possibly state it in the ad headline as well.


Ad creatives and copywriting

Ad creatives and copywriting are two of the most important aspects of any effective native advertising campaign. The ad creative should be eye-catching and relevant to the target audience, while the copywriting should be clear, concise, and persuasive.

Ad creatives should be designed to grab the attention of the target audience and get them interested in your product or service. This can include visually appealing images, vibrant colors, animations, and interactive elements like videos. The creative should also match the tone of the ad copy so that the message is cohesive.

Copywriting should provide readers with a clear call to action and explain why they should take that action. It should also be written with SEO keywords in mind so that it appears more prominently when people search for related topics. Additionally, including customer reviews or testimonials can help increase trustworthiness and credibility in the eyes of potential customers.

There are a variety of different formats that can be used, such as in-feed units, carousels, and lightboxes. It’s important to experiment with different types of creatives to see what works best for your specific campaign goals.

When it comes to ad creatives, native advertising platforms like Taboola offer a wide range of options to choose from. Other platforms such as MGID even offer in-house creative design, and Outbrain offers extensive customer support and analysis to pick the right visuals. Picking the right platform also depends on your “creatives” needs and internal capabilities.


Outbrain campaigns analysis dashboard
Outbrain campaigns analysis dashboard

Copywriting is just as important as the ad creative itself. The headline and description are the first things that potential customers will see, so it’s crucial to make them count. Keep the headlines shorts and concises, and make sure the descriptions are error-free, clear and to the point. Use strong calls to action to encourage clicks through to your landing page or website.

Pro tip: make sure to test different CTAs and even lack of a CTA in order to find what works best to get your CTR (click through rate) at optimal levels!

An ad with both a description and a CTA (“Learn More”). CTAs can be used to increase CTR and overall clicks.
An ad with both a description and a CTA Learn More CTAs can be used to increase CTR and overall clicks
Ad ad without description, nor CTA. The visual does emphasize a summer activity, and can be used during the summer months.
An ad without description nor CTA The visual does emphasize a summer activity and can be used during the summer months

Ads Copies can make or break your ad performance. Make sure you test different approaches and continuously eliminate bad ads.

Overall, native advertising is a powerful tool that can help you reach your target audience in a more efficient and effective way. By paying attention to both the ad creatives and the copywriting, you can ensure that your native advertising campaigns are successful.

Here are some of the top tips that work for us in native ads:

  • Write less than 70 characters so users can see the message is not truncated
  • Use dynamic headlines such as city, and region variables. For example “${city}$ loves this new burger chain”. At Adkomo, we recorded a 27% increase in CTR with the dynamic city variable in certain senior health ads.
  • Test 4-6 ad variations to start
  • Use the ad title to pre-qualify your audience. For example, “Looking to save on groceries? This app allows Texas residents to save 50% at Walmart”
  • Avoid overly gimmicky ads such as “Doctors are astonished with this revolutionary superfood”
  • Avoid using stock pictures in visuals as they are too common and hence probably already used by your competitors.

In the creative process, it is key to look at what your competitors are doing. You can use competitive tools such as Adplexity or Anstrex to spy on your competitors’ creatives, copy, landing pages etc. Here’s a breakdown of the top tools in the market and their main benefits:

Anstrex is a powerful native advertising spy tool that can help you keep tabs on your competition and understand the strategies they are using to succeed. With Anstrex, you can see which ad campaigns are performing well for your competitors and identify new trends in the native advertising landscape.

PowerAdSpy is one of the most popular native advertising spy tools. It provides users with a database of over 50,000 native ads, making it easy to find inspiration for your own campaigns. The platform also offers a range of features to help you research your competition, including an Ad Library and Ad Spy Report.

WhatRunsWhere is a native ads spy tool that allows you to see which ads are running on which websites. You can use WhatRunsWhere to track your competition, find new ad opportunities, and optimize your own campaigns.

SpyOver is a powerful native ads spy tool that allows you to quickly and easily find the best performing native ads on the web. With SpyOver, you can:

      • Search for native ads by keyword, category, or platform

      • See real-time stats on each ad’s performance, including impressions, clicks & conversions

      • Filter & sort native ads by a variety of criteria, such as date range, country, or ad type

      • Get an inside look at how successful native ads are being created and deployed by the top advertisers in your industry


    Using Anstrex, you can easily identify great performing LPs and Ads. A good place to start when you’re testing different approaches!
    Using Anstrex you can easily identify great performing LPs and Ads A good place to start when youre testing different approaches


    Every platform has its advantages and drawbacks. While Taboola excels in the extent and quality of its publisher partnerships (it recently signed a 30-year deal with Yahoo!) and CPC bidding control (bid per publisher), it falls short in the average time it takes for them to respond. Due to their superior response time, Outbrain and MGID can provide better options for beginner native advertisers looking to tread water and leverage the full extent of their account manager’s expertise before scaling and launching in Taboola.


    Landing page creation process

    The process of creating a landing page is not complicated and can be divided into five main steps:

        • Research your audience and target market – This is crucial in order to create a landing page that resonates with your readers. You need to know who you are trying to reach with your message and what needs or pain points they have that you can address.

        • Keep it simple and focused – A landing page should be designed with a single purpose in mind, such as getting the visitor to sign up for your email list or download a white paper. Too much information will just distract and confuse visitors, so keep the design clean and
          the message clear.

        • Use strong calls to action – The point of a landing page is to persuade visitors to take some kind of action, so make sure your call to action (CTA) is effective. Use persuasive language and make the CTA button stand out on the page so it’s impossible to miss.

        • Include social proof – If you can show that others have taken the desired action on your landing page (e.g., testimonials, customer reviews, etc.), it will increase the likelihood that visitors will do the same. This is known as social proof and it can be a powerful motivator.

        • Test, test, test – Always test different versions of your landing page before settling on one design. Try different headlines, images, CTAs, etc., and track the results to determine which version works best.

      With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful landing page that drives conversions and helps you reach your business goals.


      Crafting the form

      Designing the form is an indispensable step to make the customer funnel work. First of all, ask yourself what information is absolutely necessary to collect from the users, and only stick to that info. Note that forms longer than 6 steps see a significant drop in conversions, so keep the form short, ideally at 3-4 steps and under 2 minutes.

      Top tip: Include a % progress bar to set user expectations as to form length. This has been proven to lower form abandonment.

      Pick button colors that strongly contrast with the form text, and add a form header that indicates what the user can expect from filling out the form (e.g. “Fill out this form to compare car insurance prices in your region in under 2 minutes”)

      Whether you use an in-house form technology (like Adkomo’s) or a third party one (such as Heyflow, Jotform or Typeform), do ensure you analyze percentage dropoff data at every screen in order to identify the main friction points, or where your money is leaking!

      Example of a highly-contrasting button form to capture Real Estate Leads in the French GEO
      Example of a highly contrasting button form to capture Real Estate Leads in the French GEO

      Analytics: measurement and optimization

      Getting your analytics is key in the Native Ads game. If you want to get the most out of your advertising campaigns, it’s important to measure and optimize them regularly. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

          • Set up proper conversion tracking either through a pixel integration or through Server-to-Server tracking. Pro tip: S2S tracking is a must for advertisers looking to scale their campaigns as it allows them to pass through important analytics while optimizing the use of code and hence, page performance.

            • Create major custom events that allow you to measure the impact of your actions. Effectively, this could mean tracking individual CTAs, Scrolls, Heatmaps and any other behavioral metric that allows you to monitor user behavior in your LPs

            • Create conversion goals and funnels to identify dropoff points, and optimize further

            • Segment, segment, segment! Create custom segments (Converters, non-converters, all users, Native traffic, High-Interactors, Video players etc…) and compare their performance. Identify your top segments.


          Scaling the campaign 

          As the Native Advertising Institute so rightly points out, “Native advertising is one of the most effective ways to reach new customers and promote your products or services.

          However, as with any form of marketing, there are certain challenges that come with running a native ad campaign – namely, how do you scale it?

          The answer, luckily, is not as difficult as it may seem. Here are a few tips on how to successfully scale your native advertising campaign:

              • Increase Your Budget
                This may seem like an obvious solution, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. If you want to scale your campaign, you need to be willing to invest more money into it.
                Before any significant scaling, make sure your bad ads and bad publishers are already turned off and excluded, so you don’t waste money on ineffective advertising.
                Pro tip: Native platforms support more aggressive scaling than, say, Facebook. 30%-50% budget increases are recommended periodically whenever you see CPA stabilization. Do not
                scale the budget every 2 days or less.

                • Expand Your GEO Targeting
                  Another great way to scale is to open new campaigns in other GEOs (Countries) where your offer might work great. Culturally and economically similar nations are great options to expand to other markets. For example, an American offer can be expanded into Canadian, British, Australian and New Zealand offers. Similarly, a German offer can be expanded into new Swiss and Austrian campaigns.

                • Make Use of Automation
                  Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of automation when it comes to scaling your native advertising campaign. Using an automated platform such as AdEspresso can help you test different ad variations quickly and easily, allowing you to optimize your campaign for maximum results.

                1. Leverage Retargeting
                  Setup retargeting campaigns
                  in Native platforms which make use of audiences already reached in other platforms. This can be done easily by integrating the Native platform’s pixel into campaigns in other channels such as Facebook, Google or even other Native platforms.

                  • Test. Test. Test
                    Finding out the right sequence of Ad -> Landing Page that gets the lowest cost of acquisition can be time (and budget!) consuming. Constantly testing new visuals, headlines and landing pages allows us to identify the highest converting ones. Most landing pages builders do offer A/B testing tools, and it is wise to leverage them in Landing page testing.


                The main conversion in this case would be a “step conversion” or a click on the CTA that leads to the next page in case of a pre-lander. Alternatively, one can use hard conversions, i.e. leads, in A/B tests to identify winning variants. It’s important not to stop an A/B test too soon. The testing tool needs enough sample size (usually above 2K visitors) in order to reach statistical significance and identify the winning variant. Always test one major element at a time (page headline, colors, CTAs messaging) in order to isolate it and come to a clear conclusion on whether the element that was changed provides a conversion uplift or not.


                Heard on Native Advertising street

                Q&A with Mehdi Ouadi, Adkomo’s in-house Media Buying expert & Cayetano Gomez, seasoned Account Manager at Outbrain Europe.

                  What are the benefits of Native Ads?

                  : Native ads aren’t intrusive or interruptive. This content tends to be highly engaging and suited for all devices. Hence, it is better received by site visitors. People are used to seeing and ignoring usual aggressive ads that push their way through the main content. Because native ads aren’t pushy in nature, they attract attention and encourage viewers to consume the content. This high credibility makes them perform better.

                  How do you run your campaign optimization program?

                  : I would define 3 main k-factors:
                  1) Work together with the client on the most suitable approaches for their ads and LP
                  2) Define steps through the funnel, which help our algorithm to optimize or design future actions over the audience
                  3) Finally, find the placements within our inventory with profitable performance and point traffic there.

                  How can native advertisers deal with seasonality and ad fatigue?

                  : According to ComScore data, Outbrain’s reach in France is around 92% of internet-connected users (44 million). We have direct deals with news sites like Le Monde, L’Equipe or 20 minutes among others. Ad fatigue is not a common problem. However, CTR will always be our best ally to identify the behavior of your ads over time.

                  How did your campaigns perform over the last semester, did you notice any seasonality in CPA, conversion rate or any key metric?

                  MEHDI: Over the last semester our campaigns have seen tremendous growth in Native ad platforms, as we scaled more than 10x our daily budget. However, there’s a tradeoff. As you scale, your CPAs increase as well because the algo already picked up the “easiest conversions” early on in the campaigns. Therefore, it’s key to keep optimizing the sites/placements on a daily basis.

                  We did notice seasonality, especially in costs per click, as more players entered the verticals we operate in. CPCs went up 50% in the course of 6 weeks, which drove up our CPAs by the same rate. Obviously, we kept optimizing our LPs, ads and placement to keep up. It’s a rapidly changing landscape to say the least!

                  What do you think about lead quality from Native ad platforms?

                  MEHDI: Lead quality is generally enhanced in Native advertising as the user is exposed to informative content in pre-landers. This pre-qualifies the user and thus strengthens lead quality. The main caveat is that the prelander’s messaging has to be consistent with the ad to ensure a smooth transition. If I were to humbly give a pro tip, it would be to avoid “too good to be true” offers like offering the product for free when it actually comes at a cost for the user. This tends to significantly impact the sales closing rate at the bottom of the funnel. Lead quality will also vary from one client to another due to external factors like whether the lead is called within minutes or the next day, and the overall close rate of the sales team. This means you have to take those numbers with a grain of salt. Do monitor the numbers’ trend though, as it will be meaningful in knowing whether you’re better or worse off than when you started.


                  Case study : Senior Health Insurance in France

                  Senior Health Insurance is a popular lead product in France. It enjoys strong demand year-round from insurance companies and brokers alike, nationwide. At Adkomo, it is our flagship lead product that we initially started with both external and internal email traffic.

                  Fast forward to Q4 2023, we launched our in-house media buying campaigns on various platforms. This case study solely focuses on our native advertising campaigns.

                  We started on Outbrain with a budget of 150 euros a day and 9 ad variations that combined 3 headlines with 3 images. As our Desktop campaign stabilized after 3 weeks, we then rolled out the same ads and Landing page to a new Mobile campaign. We scaled our campaigns by an average of 20% every week, always keeping an eye out on our main KPI, Cost per Lead. On a weekly basis, we take a look at our Landing page and form analytics, and test different CTA colors, texts and sizes to find what converts best.

                  Aside from Cost per Lead, we integrated our client KPIs into our own native campaigns by linking their CRM sales (i.e. Contract signing) into our campaigns. This seamless real time integration with the Adkomo proprietary platform allowed the algorithm to optimize for client sales and it led to a median 97% increase in the Contract signing rates (% sales close rate) from November 2022 to March 2023. Results did vary by insurer/broker as their bottom of funnel strategies differ. Though, they all experienced an increase in their Contract signing rate.

                  Internal reports connected to client CRMs show sites sorted by Insurers/Brokers’ contract signing rate
                  Internal reports connected to client CRMs show sites sorted by InsurersBrokers contract signing rate

                  Our proprietary API technology allows for mapping of Lead variables and is tailor-made for insurance brokers and companies that use their own CRMs. It also allows for leads to be exported in real-time and thus maximizes Lead “freshness” or quality, as the Lead gets called within minutes and is likely to positively respond to a call.

                  In our internal Native reporting, we pass along URL parameters such as ad, campaign and sites and ultimately link them to our insurers/brokers’ signed contracts so that we can push more traffic from highly converting sites. We effectively do that by increasing CPC bids on sites that generate sales for our clients.

                  In a nutshell, leveraging Native Advertising channels with the Adkomo platform allowed us to reduce our CPL, optimize for Leads that are likelier to turn into Contracts, all while maximizing Lead Quality through real-time exports.


                  Conclusion and 2023 outlook for native ads

                  All in all, Native advertising is a booming channel with an ever increasing choice of platforms, from big players like Taboola and Outbrain to rising ones like MGID. While many marketers hesitate to incorporate it into their marketing mix, it remains a must for Lead Gen advertisers as its informational formats make it perfect for users in the top and middle stages of the sales funnel (i.e. leads). Native ads are here to stay for the medium term at least as the industry’s projected turnover is expected to hit 99 billion USD by 2023, about 3 times its current size. This makes 2023 the perfect year to get onboard the Native train!

                  As we venture into Q3 2023 and beyond, there’s never been a more opportune time to embrace Native advertising. With Adkomo by your side, you’re not just getting onboard the Native advertising train, you’re securing a first-class ticket to unprecedented growth and success!

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