The market of native advertising platforms is thriving at the moment and the trend is here to stay. Americans spend over seven hours looking at the screen and the biggest media consumer, Filipinos, spend around eleven hours. Thus, it makes sense to seek customer attention on the Internet rather than outside of it. 

Consequently, marketers are actively using digital ad formats as the market has reached more than $378 billion in 2020. Digital space is cost-effective, measurable, and flexible. It also allows you to display ads to target users only and easily scale to global rates. 
At the same time, display ads have become a source of annoyance for many and ad blockers are as popular as ever today. That is where native advertising comes in. Let’s discuss this unicorn of advertisement and review different types of native ad networks where you can display ads. Let’s discover the 10 top native ad platforms out there. 

What is native advertising?

The native advertisements were designed to match the feel, format, and look of the platforms where they are displayed. You have probably seen one on Instagram, for example, where an ad looks almost exactly like other posts. 

native ad example

The main benefit of native advertising is how undisruptive it is, compared to banner ads and popups. Ad blockers do not ban this type of ad, users are less annoyed and are actually willing to take a look at native ads (the conversion rates are 40 higher than with banner ads). This is why by the end of 2021 global revenue from native ads will increase by 46% (when compared to 2020).

native advertising trends

When it comes to native advertising CTR - it may vary depending on the niche you advertise in as well as geo and channel (in-app, desktop traffic, mobile web, or CTV). Below are approximate numbers: 

native ads ctr by category

Usually, this format delivers interesting web content so that is partly the reason why it is so clickable and attractive.  

native ads effectiveness

There are different types of native advertising that you can find on the best native advertising platforms: 

  • Content recommendations (content recommendation widgets). At the end of the page or on the side panel, you can see content recommendations that can match what you are reading right now or what you have searched for. Not all content recommendations are ads though - sometimes publishers just create internal links. If it leads you to another website, it will be considered to be an ad. Do internal links and native ads differ in how they look? Not really. Some publishers prefer to add “promo” to the native advertising but otherwise, they look exactly the same. 
  • Promoted listings. Promoted listings are a type of native advertising which is mostly available on eCommerce websites and on Google recommendations. When you search for some products, you may see promoted items at the very beginning of the list. 
  • Native search. You have probably seen it on Google ads: when you search for something, the first two or three results will be promoted. They have a title, link, and description like other results but have a small ad tag within. 
  • In feed social ads. It is probably the most used and well-known native ads format. The ad fully copies the format of the social network - posts and stories on Instagram, tweets on Twitter, or tiktoks on TikTok. Thus, resulting in ads that appear every once in a while. This is the 4th most popular way for users to discover new products and small businesses especially. 

Types of programmatic native advertising platforms

So how do you get your native ads to show up on eCommerce websites, social media, or news outlets? Luckily, there is no need to hit them up individually to ask for promo and negotiate the terms. Programmatic native advertising does everything for you. 
Programmatic native advertising means that the machine handles the connection between advertisers and publishers in real time through bidding. With such programmatic platforms, a publisher defines places where the ad is located and an advertiser uploads creative and defines their target audience. You can learn more about the ad placement process but for now, you should know that there are three types of best native ads platforms to manage this interaction:

  • Demand-side platform. Demand-side platform or DPS for short is the native ad platform for advertisers where they can manage native advertising campaigns. Advertisers upload their creative, define their target audience, capping frequency, whitelist or blacklist of publishers (when needed), etc., and then the software takes care of the rest. The DPS automatically finds a suitable publisher’s website (according to the user characteristics that match ad campaign criteria).
  • The supply-side platform. The supply-side platform or SSP is like DPS but for publishers. Publishers can open native ad space, set minimal prices for it, and connect their website to numerous ad exchanges, DPSs, etc. On SSP a website/app owner specifies which ad format they want to serve on their platform in which sizes, and what is a minimal price they allow per impression (floor price). 
  • Ad exchange. An ad exchange is a place that connects DSPs and SSPs. A native ad exchange is almost similar to native ad network in terms of functions (you can find what are ad networks in the article). If you specifically search for a native ad network, check the list of the best native ad networks and how to choose them. It is an independent ad platform that connects top publishers and advertisers who are interested in native ads. Ad exchanges can also support various native formats and offer different functionalities specifically for native campaigns optimization. 

Top native advertising platforms

Native advertising platforms are a great place for both top publishers and advertisers. Even though there are plenty of choices, users usually go for more renowned platforms like Google AdSense and Facebook. And they miss out a lot! We have found the 10 best native advertising platforms to broaden your choice.

Top native advertising platforms

Native Ad Platform Specifics/proprietary features Reach Ad formats Top websites
SmartyAds Full-stack ecosystem supporting native campaigns: DSP, SSP, Ad Exchange 1.5 billion uniques monthly impressions In feed native ads, mobile web native, in-app native, custom native ads, recommendation widgets  Best in-app, mobile, desktop, CTV publishers, including Xiaomi, Meitu, AdInMo, Reface, KaiOS, etc.
Taboola Taboola Feed 1.4 billion unique users per month In feed, in the article, video, and recommended widget NBC, Business Insider, Bloomberg, CBS News, and Fox News
Nativo Native IQ 600 brands and 400 publishers Native article, native display, native video, stories Reuters, Coindesk, Time
Outbrain Very strict publisher filtering, only publishers with a minimum one million visits allowed 1.3 billion people worldwide (from 55+ countries) In feed and in article for video ads Hearst, Men’s Health, BBC, The Washington Post
TripleLift Computer vision for good-looking natives on any platform 31,000 websites In article, in feed, carousel ads, and video ads BuzzFeed, USA Today, CNN, eBay, BBC
Adyoulike AI-powered semantic and sentiment targeting 200M unique visitors per month Native stories, carousels, social Rolling Stone, Bloomberg, The Guardian, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Vogue
Sharethrough Dynamic captions, creative analysis with improvement suggestions 350 billion monthly impressions In feed native ads, native display, recommended content New York Post, CNN, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Cnet, Forbes
Engageya Focuses on non-English speaking users 40 billion monthly impressions Recommendation widget, native video, stories Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Haberler, CNN Greece
Revcontent Ecosystem for both publishers and advertisers 80mm – 500mm daily impressions Recommended content widgets, in the article Forbes, Los Angeles Times, Nasdaq
MGID Selective bidding 50M unique visitors monthly Video, header content, sidebar widgets International Business Times, MSN, The Week, Newsweek, HITC, Inquisitr

SmartyAds

Solutions of SmartyAds fall within lists of best CPM ad networks, best video ad networks, and native ones as well. It’s a full-stack solution offering a DPS with high-quality traffic for advertisers and an SSP to monetize page views for publishers.

SmartyAds DSP. The DSP allows advertisers to run high-quality native advertising campaigns on numerous channels, across different locations, formats, and business verticals. Due to the high number of publishers on this ad network and a variety of native ad formats, you can reach all the target users you need on a desktop or mobile device. Partnerships with Pubmatic, Smaato, AdColony, InMobi, and Cheetah Mobile strengthen their capacities and create more opportunities for your brand. 

Core features of SmartyAds DPS:

  • A wide selection of native formats and high-quality publishers in different niches
  • Lots of campaign customization options
  • AI-powered programmatic advertising
  • Robust campaign analytics 

SmartyAds SSP. SmartyAds SSP allows publishers to monetize their traffic through native ad campaigns that don’t interrupt the user experience and bring value to the website visitors. This platform gives them more control over native ad display and full transparency. Publishers can also opt for direct deals with premium advertisers and set optimal prices for video, native ads, and other ad placements. With SmartyAds SSP publishers are free to set as many requirements to future ad campaigns as they want: sizes, resolutions, types, minimum price, etc. 

Core features of SmartyAds SSP

  • Opportunity to serve a wide selection of native formats in different sizes and resolutions
  • Great campaign reporting options
  • Controls to adjust monetization: filtering, size selection, floor price, etc. 

Taboola

Taboola was almost the first self service ad network to introduce native ads and it has been thriving since then. It has partnerships with premium publishers like USA Today, NBC, Business Insider, Fox, etc.
Advertisers can enjoy a premium publisher market, audiences of 500 million daily active users, robust targeting options, boosted page views, customer segmentation, and data optimization. You can also see data from third parties to understand your users better, target look like audiences, and have an overall better user experience.
One of the most interesting features of Taboola is its Taboola Feed. Publishers can add it to their website and the user will get a personalized feed of branded content. For website visitors, it works as an endless Facebook feed with interesting and diverse content. 

Core features of this platform for native advertising:

  • Access to premium publishers
  • Data Marketplace: see data from third parties
  • Taboola Feed
  • Budget-friendly

Nativo

Nativo is one of the best native ads networks aiming to help brands tell their story in a meaningful way and facilitate publishers’ revenue growth through advertisement with powerful tools and formats. 
The native ad network endorses native articles the most and offers a couple of unique features for advertisers, namely cookie-free ad delivery and Native IQ. Since many users clear their cookies often or decline cookies while visiting the website, the trend will only continue, considering how conscious users are about sharing their information. Nativo native ad network delivers custom native ads no matter whether there are cookies or not. Their Native IQ is your best friend when it comes to evaluating your running ad campaigns and those of your competitors. 

Core features of this platform for native advertising:

  • 600 brands and 400 publishers
  • Cookie-free custom native ads delivery
  • Deep campaign analysis to optimize your running ad campaigns  
  • Partnership with content delivery advertising networks  

Outbrain

Outbrain ad network has been on the market for 15 years now and they surely know how to work with native advertising. Publishers that do not have a million visits per month can not sign up for the native advertising platform so you have to understand how high-quality their publishers are. They work with CNN, MSN, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc. As a result, the reach of this ad network is 1,3 billion users worldwide and provides a fair pricing per click. Their premium publishers are their main strength. 

Core features of this platform for native advertising:

  • Impressive outreach
  • Strict quality policy for both ads and publishers to ensure best user experience
  • Numerous targeting options (geo-based, device type, operating system, browsers, interests, advanced audience targeting, retargeting (custom audiences))
  • Analysis and custom recommendations for improvement of your creatives.

TripleLift

TripleLift aims to deliver ads to the users in the right way, on the right channel, and at the right time. It’s one of the best native ads platforms that has strict quality guidelines for publishers and works with top companies like BuzzFeed, eBay, and BBC. 
This ad platform has a strong feature for native ads specifically - computer vision. The native advertising platform analyzes advertisers’ creatives for the main elements that should always come up. In such a way, it makes sure that the essential message of your campaign will never be cropped out, no matter on what platform the ad is served.
 
Core features of this platform for native advertising:

  • Many native ad formats (in article, in the feed, carousel format, and video ads 
  • No requirement for minimum traffic (thus you can find publishers with 10 million visitors here as well as those only with 500 thousand visitors)
  • Real-time templating for advertiser’s creative components
  • Real-time insights about the user experience

Adyoulike

Adyoulike is a leading native advertising platform in Europe. After 10 years on the market, they won over big publishers like Rolling Stone, Bloomberg, AOL., The Guardian, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, and Vogue.
Their unique features are native stories format that has become so popular among the users as it is advanced advertising technology. Artificial intelligence helps with semantic targeting: it looks for topics, semantics, and feelings to deliver ads with contextual relevance helping you reach your marketing goals, boost page views and reduce the cost per click.

Core features of this platform for native advertising:

  • 50 DSPs connected for higher fill rates
  • 200 million unique visitors
  • AI-powered targeting options
  • Scalability

Sharethrough

Sharethrough is an omnichannel and omni-format native advertising platform with powerful technology. They offer dynamic captions, analysis of the creative and recommendations for improvement, content discovery tools and automatic creative matching to the publisher’s website. Their SmartSuite will also test and choose the best floor for placements and connect publishers with the highest-paying advertisers. 
As a result, this platform won top-quality websites as their clients: New York Post, CNN, Rolling Stone, Forbes, etc. 

Core features of this platform for native advertising:

  • Native ads analysis
  • Numerous ad formats
  • Provides experts in setting up, monitoring, and troubleshooting for better ad campaign results

Engageya

Engageya is a digital web content engagement solution and native advertisements platform that focuses on non-English speaking users. This ad network has already reached 40 billion monthly impressions and 5,000 publishers, with Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Haber Turk, Sporx, and CNN Greece among them. 
Publishers can add Engageya customizable and zero-maintenance widgets with web content recommendations and, consequently, native ads and turn them into an instant stream of revenue. They can fully manage their inventory and access as well. 
Advertisers can fully enjoy localized campaigns on emerging markets with the tool. They have geo targeting, their content displayed on widgets, and real-time statistics. The native advertising platform has won over such big clients as Unilever, Microsoft, Vodafone, etc. 

Core features of this platform for native advertising:

  • Maintenance-free widget
  • Vertical targeting
  • Focuses on non-English speaking markets
  • More control over ad campaigns and ad formats

Revcontent

Revcontent is an emerging native advertising network that still offers close attention to both advertisers and publishers giving them more control. At the same time, they filter out low-quality websites efficiently to avoid questionable publishers from advertisers. 
Publishers can enjoy increased page views, consistent and predictable revenue, and better revenue (the self service platform promises 80% more revenue than its competitors). The ad network also pays extra attention to the user experience to make sure that your website is not disturbed by native advertising.
Advertisers get such benefits as no dependency on cookies for targeting. Plus, they get automatic A/B testing and brand safety. Versatile analytics tools have a lot to offer as well. 

Core features of this platform for native advertising:

  • Fair relationship with both advertisers and publishers
  • Protection from low-quality websites
  • Has direct deals feature for premium users

MGID

MGID is one of the first self service native advertisements platforms. It’s a great option catering to publishers and top advertisers worldwide (200+ countries) but its strongest presence is in Europe. 
Like other good native ad networks, MGID offers different types of native ads: native videos, native widgets, smart widgets (ads that appear when it is relevant to the user), and in-content impact widgets. Advertisers can also gain access to precise targeting, content discovery tools, and deep analytics for increasing page views.
The main great feature of this native ad platform is that it is very friendly towards publishers. There are less strict policies about your monthly viewership which allows small websites to gain their first advertisers as effortlessly as big brands do. 

Core features of this platform for native advertising:

  • Smart and in-content impact widgets
  • Affiliate-friendly
  • Selective bidding
  • Numerous formats of ads are available

Summing Up

There are many exciting options for native advertising platforms beyond Google AdSense and Facebook. The latter ones offer access to a very limited number of websites while independent native ad networks help advertisers reach more high-quality publishers. Affiliates, meanwhile, get a chance to attract advertisers, despite being of medium size. 
SmartyAds is one of the top choices when it comes to native ad networks. 

Connect to numerous publishers and serve ads with AI-powered campaigns and omnichannel presence on SmartyAds DSP

Written by
Irina Kovalenko, CMO of SmartyAds
October 2021