Native Ads vs Display Ads | Everything You Should Know

The very first display or so-called banner ad was published in 1994. This ad was bought by the telecommunication company AT&T on 

first diplay ad

Display ads in the late ‘90s were definitely one of the best ways to promote products or services, and it worked very well– people were willing to make a purchase.

Since then, a lot of things have changed as well as digital advertising. Currently, more and more companies and publishers are exploring and discovering how to employ native ads solution in their platforms.

In this article, you’ll learn the main differences between these two ad types, some examples, and expert opinion on how to know which of the ads best fit your website.

What are native ads?

Native ads are the ones that ‘blend’ into publishers’ content. They are generally understood as a kind of advertising type that matches the website’s design, look and feel.

Usually, these ads look more like articles or listings. You can differentiate native ads on the website by the promoted or sponsored message next to the ad. 

Native ads are not only in different sizes but also formats, such as video and recommendation blocks. 

Native ad examples, and where can you see them?

  • In the social network newsfeed
native ad example in feed


  • Paid search units– looks like a list in search results on search engines 
Paid search unit native ad example

Source: Google

  • As a recommended content
recommended contet as native ad

Source: New York Times

  • As a promoted listing
native ad example- listing

Source: Panevėžio skelbimai

What are display ads?

Display ads are also known as banners. These types of ads include a graphical representation of advertising.

According to The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), they usually are ”a combination of static/animated images, text and/or video designed to convey a marketing message and/or cause the user to take an action.”

Thanks to the evolution of technology, display ads are no longer only images, text, or videos, but they include even more action like audio, clickable elements, or pop-up function. 

The most common placements of display ads are at the top of the website or the sidebar.

Display Ad Examples

  • The whole banner is clickable
display ad example

Source: Ad Tech Daily

  • Banner ad with clickable element
clickable banner ad

Source: Entrepreneur Europe

What are the key differences between Native and Display Ads?

Native AdsDisplay Ads

Content-based ads receive
double the visual focus

Ad blindness effect

Reduce clutter of ads

More clutter of ads

Blend in with the
surrounding content

More visually visible

Setupad Expert Opinion: 

Povilas Goberis, COO at Setupad: ”If we are speaking about average CTR comparison– it depends on the situation very much. Generally speaking, CTR is supposed to be higher for native ads, but in some cases, it’s not necessarily the case.”

P. Goberis says: ”For example, with a regular display ad without special clickable elements, the user can click on the whole ad while a native ad may have specific clickable elements– image, title or advertiser’s logo.”

P. Goberis continues: ”So, in this case, CTR might be lower for the native ad than for a regular display ad, but, on the other hand, the click itself might be more natural and meaningful. Additionally, the content around the native ad would also influence chances for it to be clicked.”

Which of the ad types is more effective for publishers: native or display ads?

From our experience, publishers express concern about banner ads being more as a distraction for users and taking their attention away from the content itself. 

We usually encourage publishers to try out native ads because they look more appealing to the users. They blend in with the website design, and they can help publishers maximize their ad revenue. 

Native ads might have better results, higher CTRs, viewability, and even improved UX (user experience).

What is the main difference between Google Ads and Setupad Ads?

Google has two advertising platforms– Google Adsense and Google Adx.  There are several native ad formats for both of these platforms: matched content, regular in-feed, and other types of ad solutions.

Google’s native and banner ads have very different designs; however, they mostly have a native style. This means the difference between display ads and native is hard to tell.

However, Setupad can also adjust native ads to resemble the website as much as possible with Google Adx. But besides this fact, Setupad can run an additional layer of demand from other demand partners (SSPs), not only Google. As well as, to run both–native and regular display ads– on the same ad placement and make them very appealing to the human eye.


Let’s imagine you are a publisher who uses Google Adsense, and on the top header, you display native ads. 

During the auction and bidding, there is only one platform that is participating– Google. This means that there is no other competition, and the publisher might not receive the maximum ad revenue.

However, if the same publisher is a Setupad client, he wouldn’t have to worry about this issue. Instead of using one platform, Setupad connects the publisher with over 15 other platforms, including Google. So, by increasing competition, the publisher can maximize his ad revenue.

Setupad encourages publishers to use all available opportunities to maximize the yield of their ad inventory. A combination of both– display and native ads– is the right solution.

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