What are native ads?

Native ads mimic the look and feel of the sites and apps where they are placed. When consumers scroll through content searching for information, they are 25% more likely to read a site-similar native ad than a site-divergent standard ad.

examples of native ads

Although it takes twice as much visual focus for consumers to process a native ad than a banner ad, that focus results in a 9% increase in brand affinity and an 18% increase in purchase intent over banner ads.

Why do native ads work?

Native ads provide information to consumers when they are in a heightened state of discovery, and that information is displayed in the easiest manner for consumers to absorb.

Through a recent study of neural brain activity, we now know that consumers associate certain types of words and concepts with brands, and those associations become stronger over time. In the following blog post we’ll teach you how to improve your ad writing and increase the chances of growing your brand affinity.

How native ad writing is different from standard ad writing

Great standard ad copy usually features a short headline and subhead, with a straightforward tone that puts the emphasis on the product. But to increase consumer engagement we need to activate more brain activity, especially in the distracted world of mobile.

Great native ad copy requires significantly more words with a vivid tone that puts the emphasis on the consumer. More vivid words = more consumer attention. Consumers spend over 300% more time reading a native ad than a banner ad.

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Writing rules for increased engagement

Maximize your character count

Longer headlines and descriptions directly lead to higher engagement. AdRoll’s Native Ads provide space for 90 characters in the Title and 140 characters in the Description.


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Use Context Words to stimulate brain activity

Access and use this neuroscience-approved dictionary of over 1000 Context Words that trigger pleasant interest in the minds of consumers. Context Words are about:

  • Time (begin, modern, now, soon)
  • Insight (choose, explore, feel, reveal)
  • Relativity (arrive, beyond, constant, huge)


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Make it personal

The consumer’s brain is wired for survival, so ad copy that directly references solving their problems will have a strong connection. Even adding the word “you” or “feel” will help increase engagement.

This may be a challenge for B2B brands since the general B2B writing aesthetic tends to lean away from the existence of people altogether. Yet the actual B2B purchaser is still a person, and will react positively just like any other person when presented with a personable native ad.


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Always use the brand name

Consumers continue to make associations with a brand over time, so using the brand name is both the headline and description is key to context, product benefit, and ultimately higher interactions.


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Write as you speak

Ad copy that sounds natural is the most persuasive. You can still enhance it with metaphors and flourishes but it needs to read as if it’s being spoken.


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Use power words

Words that are vivid, intriguing, or emotional can grab and hold a consumer’s attention. Conversely, flat and lifeless words without proper context can be easily dismissed by consumers. Even if the description is meaningful, the title has to be able to stand by itself if it has a chance for the consumer to ever read it.


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Use Title Case in Headlines

Studies Have Shown That Native Ads That Capitalize Each Word Receive Higher Engagement. This is equivalent to the AP style of headline writing, where every word over four letters is capitalized.


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Things to Avoid

There are a handful of native ad best practices that work for articles but could be problematic for brands:

Negative or shock words have been shown to increase engagement, but many brands choose not to place themselves in or near a negative connotation.

Using questions in a headline can engage consumers, but could also shut down further exploration if the consumer’s initial answer is “no”.

Name dropping famous people in your native ads can spark interest, but if that person’s public persona changes for the worse, your brand’s equity could take a hit.



Whether on desktop or mobile, with content personalized or generalized, your customers are primed to read and react to native ads in a measurably stronger fashion than traditional ads. The above insights will allow you to craft stronger brand messages with deeper brand connections. Learn how you can get your brand started with native ads today.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to create effective ads, you can download our Performance Guide to Instagram below.