Native advertising platforms have lots to offer for both publishers and advertisers alike. Taboola, Outbrain, and MGID are only a few of the top advertising networks that specialize in native traffic and content recommendations to online users. And like every year, it’s time to check who’s on top, who’s the new boss in town, or who’s the unquestionable and ever-lasting king of native advertising.
Dive in for the comprehensive list of the best native advertising networks in 2021 and learn all you need to know about native advertising.
What is native advertising?
Native advertising is yet another form of paid online advertising, only its main benefit is that it’s native. What does it mean exactly? It means that to Internet users, native ads look, feel, and seem like an integral part of a website or app they’re published on — they’re native to the organic content.
Native ads content fits almost seamlessly into the original content and style of a particular media channel it is published on. It needs to match the style, form, and main themes of the publishers’ content. Thanks to the visual and topical consistency, native advertising platform serves as a great tool in both monetizing web traffic and connecting brands with audiences.
Online advertising in its many forms offers various solutions for various needs, and native advertising offers just the content that people engaging with a given website or app would expect to find there.
What’s the difference?
Like every industry, digital marketing and digital advertising are full of similar terms that mean different things… or different terms that stand for similar notions. If you ever find yourself wondering what this is all about, have a look at some of the most confusing terms related to native advertising explained below.
Native advertising vs. Programmatic advertising
To make one thing clear — both these terms native advertising and programmatic advertising are very much connected, though programmatic is a much broader term.
This is because programmatic advertising stands for an automated process of buying and selling web traffic for advertising purposes. Simply put, instead of door-to-door knocking asking if a given website owner would be interested in displaying your ads on their website, all advertisers and publishers need to do is connect with an ad exchange platform like Zeropark. The ad exchange then helps to match that supply with the right kind of demand, often offering various ad formats to answer various needs and maximize advertising profits.
In that sense, native advertising is one of many available formats, that is, monetizing the online traffic and bringing brands, products, or services closer to the online community.
Native ads vs. Display ads
The easiest way to explain the difference between native ads and display ads is to focus on their visual side — they simply aren’t native to the publisher’s media channel, that is a website or an app. While native ads are meant to blend in with the organic contents, those ads appear as separate ad placements. Still, in both cases, the target audience is taken to dedicated landing pages that should feature ad space dedicated to a given product or service.
Examples of display ads are pop-up and pop-under ads available in Zeropark.
Native Advertising vs. Branded Content
Although native advertising and branding advertising may seem like one and the same thing — they’re not.
Native advertising is one of the available forms of paid advertising, which is marketing techniques meant to drive sales for particular products or services. While brand advertising means to raise brand awareness and its general recognition.
One might think that in the end both paid advertising and branded content serve one ultimate goal — to sell things. And that is correct. Only the sales funnel is constructed on entirely different premises and works differently based on the tools chosen by marketers, that is paid advertising (native ads included) or raising brand awareness (branded content).
Is native advertising still effective in 2021?
Yet another question that often bothers marketers is whether a given method still works. In that case, if native advertising is still going to work in 2021. And the answer is — hell yes.
Just have a look at the data below regarding the native digital display advertising spending in the US, as reported by Statista in September this year.
Also, according to Business Insider (source):
By 2021, native display ad revenue in the US, which includes native in-feed ads on publisher properties and social platforms, will make up 74% of total US display ad revenue, up from a 56% share in 2016, according to new BI Intelligence estimates based off historical data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC, as well as IHS.
Native advertising is still going to be effective in 2021, there’s no doubt. Thanks to its non-intrusive format and relevance to content that users have already engaged with, native ads are definitely an ad format to look out for in 2021. Delivering the right kind of content to the right audience has long been discussed as the key to successful digital marketing.
For those interested in digital advertising formats that offer just that we recommend having a look at domain redirect ads, also known as zero-clikc traffic. Often said to be yet another kind of native advertising thanks to delivering the precise content that people search for.
What are the benefits of native advertising?
Native ads are generally known for their non-intrusiveness and seamless fit into the original content surround the advertising placements. But there’s more to native ads than just that. Have a look below for a list of top benefits of running native traffic ads:
✔︎ Great user experience — as mentioned above, thanks to their user-friendly format and ability to blend with the media channel’s style, native ads provide a great user journey.
✔︎ Banner blindness and ad fatigue are not an issue for native ads — since people often treat native advertising examples as integral content, they engage with it more and don’t try to actively avoid it as it may happen with some ad formats.
✔︎ Better CTR and CR metrics — again, thanks to the two points mentioned above, users are happy to engage with native traffic ads.
✔︎ Broaden reach — what’s also interesting is that users tend to share native ads content thinking it’s a part of organic content. This also helps drive user-engagement and potential conversions.
✔︎ Cross-device targeting — it’s not only that native ads work on various devices, but also that they’re proven to perform well with both mobile and desktop traffic. Proven performance and lack of special optimization make it both a win-win situation for advertisers and publishers, as well as users alike.
Where can affiliate marketers buy native traffic?
Affiliate marketers or any other digital advertisers can buy native traffic straight from native ad networks (see below for the list of the highest-rated native ad networks and native traffic sources for 2021) or through various DPPs (short for Demand Side Platforms) such as VoluumDSP. The latter usually aggregate native traffic from top native ad networks in the industry, allowing advertisers to track, buy, and scale their campaigns in one place. Also, traffic sources like Zeropark ad exchange are able to offer solutions that would suit the needs of anybody looking for what native traffic delivers or simply to monetize their ad space.
What is a native ad network?
And for those still curious what exactly a native ad network is, have a look below.
Ad network, which is actually short for an advertising network, may be also called an ad exchange or a native traffic source. Whatever the name, it is a digital marketplace that brings publishers and advertisers together. It enables the online buying and selling of ad inventory, in that cases pertaining to native traffic only, while helping both parties to match the right supply (traffic) with the right demand (ads).
Why are ad networks needed? Or how are they useful?
Given these digital platforms and people behind the scenes act as commercial intermediaries between the sellers and buyers, ad networks provide a unique opportunity to maximize profits using their advanced technological solutions such as advanced tracking tools, various integrations, affiliate marketing automation, or AI-powered campaign optimization. These people and these platforms are there to make sure that no traffic is wasted, and ads are shown exactly when and where they can make the most profit. Not to mention facilitation of payments and transactions for traffic exchange.
So here’s the question…
What are the best native traffic sources in 2021?
As explained above, native traffic is in demand and affiliate marketers should definitely pay attention to it while making their 2021 advertising plans and strategies. To make your life easier in 2021 (everybody can use a little bit of help after the rollercoaster of emotions 2020 presented to us!) here’s a list of the best native ad networks to work with in 2021.
Taboola is one of the leading native advertising platforms, a true pioneer in making native ads an indispensable tool for digital marketers of all kinds. But apart from being extremely useful for affiliate advertisers, it’s also a content discovery platform that brings new and interesting content closer to people. Thanks to Taboola’s wide range of topical information, advice, product or service recommendation, or simply interesting, engaging, and entertaining content users all over the world eagerly engaged with Taboola. That means they may equally eagerly engage with your ads.
“Taboola helps promote your brand at the moments your audience is most receptive to new messages, products, and services.” Taboola
Taboola in numbers:
- #1 discovery platform worldwide
- 1.4 billion unique users a month
- + 10,000 premium publishers and brands
- +1000 employees in +18 offices globally
- 44,5% of the world’s internet population reached
- 50X more books than in NY public library
Taboola’s advertising and targeting options:
- Available ad formats: content recommendations, in-feed ads
- Ad inventory/ Exclusive partnerships: Msn.com, espn.com, usatoday.com, dailymail.co.uk, cbssports.com, cbsnews.com, weather.com, nbc.com, business insider .com, bloomber.com, huffpost.com.
- GEO targeting: US, UK, CA, ZA, DE, FR, BR
- Device: Desktop/Mobile
- Traffic sources: 99% Web, 2% in-app.
- Top verticals: e-commerce, finance, health, technology, dating
Outbrain is yet another one of the top 3 self-serve native advertising platforms in the world. With the world’s top media companies and brands trusting Outbrain to deliver their content to billions of Internet users. That’s why Outbrain is often considered the ultimate native traffic ad network for both: advertisers looking to connect with a highly engaged audience, and publishers looking to better manage, control, and monetize their ad space with consumer-oriented advertising content, often referred to as content discovery platform.
“Outbrain helps brands and agencies connect with one-third of the world’s consumers engaging with content on the open web.” Outbrain
Outbrain in numbers:
- #1-3 top native ad platform in the world
- +14 years of experience in the advertising industry
- 290 billion of monthly discoveries
- +55 GEOs and regions available
- 14 supported languages
- 18 global offices
- 55 stations in countries worldwide
- +800 employees aka advertising experts worldwide
- 1.8 billion daily page views
- 290 million native ads delivered monthly by Outbrain
Outbrain’s advertising and targeting options:
- Available ad formats: recommended content, content widgets, in-feed ads, search and promoted listings
- Ad inventory: MSN, The Guardian, Elle, Wall Street Journal, Sports illustrated, Vox, Conde Nast, El Pais, Burda, Le Monde, BBC, WIRED, Time, El Mundo, Hearst, Le Parisien, SkyNews.
- GEO targeting:: US, UK, CA, AU, DE, FR, ES, IT, BR, MX, RU, TR, JP, IN
- Device: Desktop/Mobile
- Traffic source: web
- Top verticals: e-commerce, technology and apps, finance, health and beauty, education, automotive, hobby.
MGID is often considered to be an innovative worldwide leader, a native advertising platform that ensures revenue growth for all parties involved in the online advertising industry. As MGID puts it, the key to success is the combination of a human-like approach and advanced technological solutions that help deliver the interactive experience people can’t resist. MGID’s vision is to develop a new stage of digital media that will make that advertising interaction as positive an experience as engaging with organic content discovery and content recommendation engines for their target audience.
“Our mission: To empower advertisers and publishers with technology, yielding outstanding advertising experiences, for both product and consumer” MGID
MGID in numbers:
- #1-3 top native ad platform in the world
- 12 years of experience in the native advertising industry
- +650 employees aka advertising experts around the world
- +70 languages supported
- +200 GEOs and regions available for targeting
- +32,000 content websites
- +100,000 new campaign per year
- +850 million unique visitors monthly
- +185 billion content recommendations monthly
MGID’s advertising and targeting options:
- Available ad formats: recommended content
- Ad inventory: IBT., Metro, Medical Daily, Insider Monkey, The Inquisitr, MSN, HITC, Wowkeren.com, Vietnamnet.vn, Investing.com, KontroKultura, Napoli Magazine, Tribunnews.com, Bril!o.net.
- GEO targeting:: US, CA, MX, IT, RU, UA, RO, VN, IN, PH, TW, TH
- Device: Desktop/Mobile
- Traffic source: web
- Top verticals: e-commerce, finance, health and beauty, technology and apps, dating, binary, education, real estate, automotive, travel.
Revcontent is the next high-quality naive traffic ad network on our list that connects advertisers to engaged audiences. Thanks to advanced technological solutions and direct partnerships with premium digital publishers from all over the world, Revcontent is one of those native advertising platforms that helps advertisers tap into consumer demand at all levels of the customer journey, hook their interest and deliver desired conversions.
“Not all traffic is created equal. With a focus on quality over quantity, Revcontent helps advertisers tap into highly engaged audiences at all stages of the marketing funnel, enabling brands to expand reach, develop loyal customers, and increase sales.” Revcontent
Revcontent’s targeting and advertising options:
- Available ad formats: recommended content, in-feed ads
- Ad inventory: History.com, Sports Illustrated, Nasdaq, Heavy.com, Boston.com, breitbart.com, facty.com, westernjournal.com, latimes.com, wayfair.com, usatoday.com, tribunemedia.com and more.
- GEO targeting: US, CA, NZ, AU, UK, ZA, PT, BR, MX, IT, DE, FR.
- Device: Desktop/Mobile
- Traffic source: web
- Top verticals: e-commerce, finance, health and beauty, political content.
Admixer is an independent adtech company, providing full-stack programmatic solutions for all the parties involved in the online advertising business as we can read on their website. They’ve been specializing in building a native advertising platform that brings together all the products needed to propel the online buying and selling of native ad inventory since 2008 and have successfully managed to do so ever since.
“Access most relevant users in ever-changing ad environment and manage your oRTB campaigns easily.” Admixer
Admixer in numbers:
- +10 years of experience in the advertising technology industry
- +2000 publishers
- +3000 customers using Admixer’s technology
- 100% risk-free demand thanks to meticulous compliance processes
- +100 world class supply and demand partners
- +200 employees
Admixer’s advertising and targeting options:
- Available ad formats: in-stream, in-article, native display banners
- Ad inventory: Viber, Badoo, SHAREit, PicsArt Photo & Video Editor, TextNow, imo, WPS Office, Likee, Tagged, LOVOO, Essential Skeleton, CallApp, Audiomack, ASkfm, Call Recorder, Plato and more.
- Available GEOs: US, UK, CA, AU, FR, DE, RU, UA, BR, CN,
- Device: 99% mobile, 1& desktop
- Traffic source: in-app
- Top verticals: hobbies, art, entertainment, business, news, technology, video games, sports, fashion.
Given that the advertising technology industry is one of the fastest-growing branches of the digital ecosystem right now, there’s a wide range of ad networks and native advertising platforms that surely deserve a shoutout for bringing new solutions to the already thriving yet constantly developing world. We will surely keep updating the above list of top 5 native ad networks for all affiliate marketers and digital advertisers out there. Still, there are quite a few names that deserve an honourable mention right here, right now.
Smaato is a mobile traffic only, in-app native ad network specializing in health and beauty, finance-related, dating, and e-commerce niches. Having more than 14 years of experience in the industry, over 1 billion monthly unique visits and +90k publishers Smaato is definitely a place to go if looking for in-app native traffic.
LiveIntent is a unique native traffic ad network because it focuses mostly on email traffic. More than 2000 exclusive partnerships with brands that help monetize native and display ads via email newsletters open a whole new lot of possibilities for digital advertisers interested in native ads. LiveIntent invites marketers to think creatively about innovative ways email can be used to grow businesses and leverage advertising campaigns, while maximizing revenue across both email and web media channels.
Nativo is one of the leading ad networks, a native advertising platform especially for big publishers in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The Nativo team is proud to present a media buying and selling platform that helps advertisers and brands build meaningful relationships with their audiences using a powerful reach scale, technological solutions and control over traffic flow. Nativo operates mainly on web desktop traffic.
MoPub is yet another mobile only, native in-app traffic focused advertising platform. It’s actually a Twitter company reaching over 1.4 billion devices worldwide and making an average of $100 million average revenue monthly. MoPub is surely an example of a leading mobile programmatic ad exchange platform with years of experience in mobile app advertising. Both publishers and advertisers can trust MoPub to help them maximize their profits and provide high-quality content and audiences.
PubNative is a mobile, native in-app traffic only self-service option focused on some of the most profitable markets in the ad-tech world that is US, AU, RU, FR, and SA. Another unique characteristic would be access to fully customizable ad units that can precisely match the app’s interface and further enhance user experience while facilitating increased ad revenue.
There’s a wide variety of options available for those looking to monetize their web or in-app traffic with native ads as well as those looking to use native traffic and advertising technology to promote brands, products and services. One can choose the most optimal solution or use various tools at once via a DSP self-service platform combining traffic from various native ad networks
What’s also interesting is that other traffic sources also offer solutions similar to native traffic that surely help achieve the same goals with slightly different means. And no marketer in the media buying world should limit the chances of maximizing profits with digital advertisements.