The Science Behind Native Advertising


Sharethrough and Nielsen, researched native ads performance using neuroscience techniques  to understand how consumers react to Native Advertising. Native Advertising is defined as “A form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed”.

Native Advertising has been proven more effective than banner advertising and some of the key data points to guide your media planning are:

25 percent more consumers viewed in-feed, native ad placements more than standard banners.
97 percent of mobile media buyers report that native ads were very or somewhat effective at achieving branding goals.
 Native ads registered 18 percent higher lift in purchase intent than banner ads.
Consumers looked at native ads 2 percent more than editorial content and spent the same number of seconds viewing.

To understand the impact of Native Ads, Nielsen showed a video simulating the experience of scrolling through an editorial feed. The feed was paused and the participants were shown either a native ad or an in-feed banner. Using a combination of EEG data— measurements of neural activity in the brain—and eye tracking, Nielsen quantified where and how the participants’ focus was being directed.

Key Findings From Sharethrough and Nielsen Study

Native Ads receive two times the visual Focus.


Respondents assimilated the Taglines better for Native Ads as compared to banner ads that are read peripherally.

Text is read as the focus is on seeing content rather than the thumbnail.

Message association is strong for Headlines.Words from an associative network similar to words included in the headline can result in a higher message resonance lift and can subconsciously influence brand perception.

The research recommends “One of a native ad’s most valuable assets lies in the ad’s text—the time and focus required to process it, and the word associations it calls to mind. Each adjective or noun in a headline—including the brand name—is stored in an associative network of related concepts. Activating one concept automatically triggers the others, strengthening those connections over time. When writing headlines, marketers must be strategic in their word choice, activating associations that are aligned with the brand or the campaign. To increase the likelihood of those associations, and the strength with which they are made, key brand assets (e.g. logos, thumbnails, etc.) should be included in the native ad”.