Native Advertising Explained. What You Should Know in 2024.

Native advertising has established itself as a key player in Hong Kong's online marketing sphere, offering a strategic approach to engage audiences in an extremely crowded digital space. Native ads integrates so seamlessly with the platform's content that they appear as natural elements of the editorial flow, aligning with the user experience and media context. In an age where audiences are bombarded with digital ad messaging every day, obvious and disruptive advertisements, like a YouTube pre-roll ad that forces you to watch in order to get to your video, no longer hold the same effectiveness as they once did. Online advertisers must look for ways to showcase their brands and in the meantime (and perhaps most importantly) add value to their audiences' viewing experience.

What is native advertising exactly?

Native advertising is a type of advertising that's designed to fit in with the content that surrounds it on a webpage or in an app, so it doesn't stand out as an obvious advertisement. The main goal is to have these ads appear as if they are a natural part of what you're already reading or viewing, which helps avoid interrupting your online experience. This approach aims to make you more receptive and interested in the ad's content because it feels relevant and less like a traditional, disruptive advertisement. Some common native ads examples that you see on a daily basis are sponsored search results or social media posts.

1. Google Search

If you search anything on Google, you will be guaranteed to see some form of native ads in your search results. This is one of the most common native advertising formats. In this example, sponsored content that is directly related to the search phrase "dog leash" is shown at the top of the page. The variations here are product cards linking to different sites and text search results. This method is highly effective as it is exactly what the user is looking for, which significantly increases the engagement of the advertisements.

2. Facebook & Instagram

A second type of commonly seen native ads is social media "sponsored" content. These, unlike the Google native advertising example, are less directly targeted. Native ads on social media work based on the users' interest, viewing history and pattern, location, and many other factors based on data. Although this is more broad than the Google example, this type of content is still highly relevant to users. This sort of in-feed native ads can also be easily scrolled past in case the user is not interested, keeping low interruption in their viewing experience. 

3. Kayak

Similar to Google search results, marketplace and listing sites like Kayak also have native advertising in their search function. Advertisers, in this case, pay Kayak to have their hotel featured at the top when users are searching for hotels with the parameters that match their offerings. The search result ad blends in seamlessly with the regular hotel listings so that viewers often don't notice the ads. It simply becomes part of the hotel options that are presented. 

Food delivery sites like Foodpanda also have native ads incorporated into their "recommended" and search results. Restaurants can have their listing up as "featured" on the homepage and under different categories and subcategories. These native ads on Foodpanda look the same as all other restaurant listings, except for a small "featured" tag in the corner of the photo. 

Native Advertising Network

Just like display advertising, you can buy ads directly with the sites or you can work with a native advertising network to have your ads scattered(strategically) throughout different sites. Platforms such as Google, Yahoo, and Taboola are popular among publishers(people who offer their sites for advertisements) and advertisers in the native ad space exchange.

Google offers a range of native advertising solutions that align ads with the style and context of a website's content, enhancing their appeal and effectiveness.

Yahoo's platform, known for its seamless content integration, allows ads to blend with site and app environments, providing targeted and engaging user experiences.

Taboola, on the other hand, focuses on content discovery, enabling advertisers to place their sponsored content where it's most likely to be relevant and engaging.

These, among many other native advertising networks, offer tools and networks that allow advertisers to create coherent, contextually relevant ads designed to resonate with and captivate the intended audience.

The Benefits of Native Advertising

  • Improved User Experience: Native ads blend with the platform's content, offering a more seamless and less intrusive user experience.

  • Enhanced Engagement: Due to their relevance and integration, native ads often achieve better engagement compared to traditional ads.

  • Positive Brand Association: Well-executed native advertising can improve brand perception, associating the brand with valuable content.

The Disadvantages of Native Advertising

  • Transparency Challenges: If not clearly disclosed, native ads can blur the line between content and advertising, potentially misleading the audience.

  • Differentiation Difficulties: With the prevalence of native advertising, creating distinctive and memorable content can be challenging.

  • Complex Metrics: Evaluating the effectiveness of native ads requires sophisticated tracking and analysis techniques.


Native advertising offers a dynamic and user-centric approach to digital marketing in Hong Kong, enabling brands to engage with their audience more subtly and effectively. While it presents several advantages, particularly in user engagement and brand perception, it also faces challenges in transparency and measurement. Understanding and navigating these aspects are vital for marketers aiming to leverage native advertising successfully.

By thoughtfully integrating advertisements with content, native ads continue to provide a valuable conduit for brands to connect with their audience, ensuring their messages are both seen and appreciated in the context of their daily digital interactions.

Share this content

Related posts