5 How-tos: Native Ads Viewed 3.5x More Than Editorial

Click to enlarge this graphic from Upworthy. (Source: ow.ly/z0G2m)

Throw out conventional wisdom that says consumers ignore native ad-labeled content. For publisher Upworthy, “branded” items see 3.5 times more views from site visitors, three times more shares and 2.9 times more attention than its editorial pieces experience, according to Upworthy.
In a staff-written, non-promotional, regular editorial article published on July 10, Advertising Age explains why sponsored posts are doing so well:

  • Native ads typically receive more promotion from publishers;
  • They might stay on a homepage longer than editorial stories;
  • The native ads might show up regularly in a “suggested articles” feed;
  • They might become the subject of a promoted tweet or Facebook post; and
  • In Upworthy’s case, promoted posts surface regularly below or alongside other articles.

Other publishers reporting stellar native ad performance include Forbes and The New York Times. Both say sponsored articles regularly perform as well as the rest of the editorial, Ad Age‘s Michael Sebastian writes.

Upworthy even acknowledges the surprise its regular visitors may experience if they venture upon the “business-y stuff” July 10 blog post on Upworthy Insider.

“If this all sounds a little counterintuitive (“People hate ads! How could they be performing better on your site?!”), we think the key has actually been twofold,” according to Upworthy. “We try to be very thoughtful in the kinds of campaigns we’ll work with, and we’ve taken pains to be radically transparent with our community when content is connected with a paid campaign.”

Marketers: Any thoughts on native advertising?

Please respond in the comments section below.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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  • Roy Furr

    Could it be that skilled copywriters are writing the headlines for the native ads? And as copywriters, they better understand what it takes to get the click? Also, perhaps, tested and proven effective ads are getting enough paid distribution to skew all the numbers up for native advertising?

    Just a thought…

    Best Wishes,


  • HeatherReporter

    This piece reports the opposite. Although, is this a say vs. do situation?
    ‘Earth To Media: Consumers Really Are Onto This Whole “Sponsored Content” Dodge’