Ads that are formatted to match the look and feel of the sites they appear on are called native ads. Because native ads are built with components — different pieces of creative that the advertiser provides — they take many forms depending on the content they are designed to match. Studies have shown that users find them less distracting than banners because they present a more cohesive experience overall.1
Find out how you can use Google Ad Manager to create native ads that deliver a better user experience and help grow revenue.
Building a better ad
Ad Manager takes components or information provided by the advertisers and adapts it to the format of the ad as defined by the publisher, which can range from a highly customized sponsored post to a standard programmatic native ad. Another way to think about it is having one group of creative assets, but many possible layouts. The layouts will change depending on the type of device where the ad will appear, how the content on the page appears, the amount of space available, and more.
With Google Ad Manager, native ads can run both in traditional banner slots and a new, responsive flexible ad slot in the Google Publisher Tag and the Google Mobile Ads SDK. ActiveView and third-party measurement are fully supported.
When it comes to creating the best native ad experience for your apps or sites, you should focus on three things: placement, design, and optimization.
Developing an approach to placement — where your ads will go — means thinking carefully about user journeys. Remember what your users are doing before, during, and after they interact with your ad. Make sure that users see your ad when they’re considering the content on your screen, not when they’re trying to go somewhere else. Always ask, “Where is the best place for a user to see the ad so that it enhances — and doesn’t detract from — the user experience?”
Don’t surprise your users: Fit the ad within the website or app’s content, but don’t surprise users with your ad. It’s essential native ads are clearly marked as advertising. Ads that trick users into clicking or are indistinguishable from content are bad for the whole ecosystem, including users, advertisers, and publishers.
Don’t add friction: Make sure your ads don't get in the way of what users are doing on the site or in the app.
Get inspired: If you’re not sure where to put your native ads, check out examples here. To get started quickly, consider trying one of these implementations, either on your own or with a native template.
The look and feel of the native ad should follow the aesthetic and functionality of your website or app.
- Seamless visual integration: Match the look and feel of your content. Align elements and use similar fonts, colors, and styles. Avoid stretching or cropping advertiser assets.
- Visibility and actionability: Where it fits your content, aim for larger sizes. Always include a call-to-action button.
- Clearly indicate that ads are ads: Ads should match the look and feel of your content, but they shouldn’t confuse your users. Always include the Ad badge and AdChoices icon and follow the native ads policies. Consider subtle visual cues like elevation or drop shadows to distinguish your native ad.
- Test different ideas: Great ad design is all about optimization. Try multiple designs and use A/B testing to choose the best one.
Ad Manager is designed to make optimization easy. No single design is perfect, and different designs will perform better in different types of websites or apps, content categories, or regions. Think of testing as the opportunity to get the ad as close to perfect as you can.
- Test different ideas: Great ad design is all about optimization. Try multiple designs — from copy to visuals to functionality and use A/B testing to choose the best one.
- Test different placements: Try different ads in different locations to make sure you’re giving users the best experience.
See native ads in action
Every site and app can have great native ads. It’s important to remember that native ad performance is highly dependent on the property itself — where ads are placed and what users are trying to do when these ads show can have a strong impact on performance.
Overall, it’s not a question of where you can insert ads, but of what parts of your content can become ads. Got a news website or content app? Try a native ad as one of the feed items. Building a shopping site? A post-checkout page could be the best place for an ad. Whatever the purpose of your site or app, native can help you deliver the best ad experience to your users.
Visit our native ads gallery to see examples of native ads in action.
Get started with native ads on desktop, web and app using native templates
Ready to create a native ad? Setting up native ads for apps on Ad Manager allows publishers to access two of the most popular mobile formats — app install ads or content ads — or create fully custom native ads by including additional fields for Ad Manager to send to the app.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get started, check out our guided design editor, which has all of the code for a simple native ad. You can use this code as-is or modify it to better match the look and feel of your app.
You can also style a native ad directly in Android or iOS app code. This is a good choice for sophisticated app developers who want full control of their rendering in apps. Ad Manager also supports mediation via this method, allowing you to add additional demand.
If you want to learn more about native ads in Ad Manager, reach out to your account manager today. Also, visit the apps solutions section of our website to see how Ad Manager can help you engage your audience on every screen.