Native Ads vs Display Ads | Everything You Should Know

Native Ads Display Ads

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

In the late ’90s, display ads were definitely one of the best ways to promote products or services. They were very effective—people who saw these ads were highly driven to make purchases

The world since then has gone through many evolutions, and so has digital advertising. Currently, more and more companies and publishers are exploring how they can incorporate native ads into their platforms.

In this article, you’ll learn the main differences between these two ad types, some examples of them, and expert opinion on which ad type fits your website best.

Table of Contents:

What are native ads?

Native ads ‘blend’ into the publisher’s content. They generally match the website’s design, look and feel.

Usually, these ads appear as articles or listings. You can identify native ads on the website as those with a ‘promoted’ or ‘sponsored’ message next to them. 

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. This type of ad appeals to the audience through visual content.

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 no longer only consist of images, text, or videos. Today, you can find display ads with audio, clickable elements, and even pop-up functions. 

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: ”Regarding the comparison of average CTR, it very much depends on the situation. Generally speaking, CTR is supposed to be higher for native ads, but in some cases, this is 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 organic and meaningful. Additionally, the content around the native ad would also influence the probability of the ad being clicked on.”

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 of a distraction for users and taking their attention away from the content itself. 

We usually encourage publishers to try out native ads, because by blending in with the design of the website, they look more appealing to the users. This could help publishers maximize their ad revenue.

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

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 follow the native style. This means that the difference between display and native ads is hard to tell.

However, Setupad can adjust native ads to resemble the website as much as possible with Google Adx. In addition, Setupad can run an additional layer of demand from not just Google, but also other demand partners (SSPs).

Setupad can also run both native and display ads on the same ad placement to make the overall page more appealing to the audience.


Let’s imagine you are a publisher who uses Google AdSense. On your top header, you display native ads. 

During the auction and bidding, there is only one platform that is participating: Google. Because there is no other competition, you might not receive the maximum ad revenue.

However, if you are a Setupad client, you wouldn’t have to worry about this issue. Instead of using one platform, Setupad connects your website to over 15 other platforms, including Google. By increasing competition, you can effortlessly maximize the ad revenue of your website.

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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