When designing native formats for branded content, publishers are walking a fine line between clearly marking these promotional units and adhering to the overall design and aesthetic of the website.
Polar examined 65 of our partner websites containing 137 native ad placements to present a comprehensive look at how publishers approach disclosure for branded content within native ad placements. With this research we can confidently present an industry first look at the The State of Native Disclosure.
We examined a variety of different design elements that could potentially affect CTR performance, including:
Let’s dive deeper into format shading.
Format shading in the background is what the native ad’s text and other features are set upon. For the purpose of this research, if the entire background is a thumbnail image it is defined as not having a background. This is common on fashion or technology sites, where most of the time headlines are overlaid on a photo related to the story in a distinct color.
Native Ad Shading Showcase
How often is shading used in native ads?
The Impact of Shading on CTR Performance
Average CTR Performance by Device (With Shading versus Without)
On mobile, shading works
Publishers take note
Visual effects, such as the shading of a native ad, correlates to different CTR performance results between the two main device types, desktop and mobile. In this case, the difference between shading and not shading on desktop might be negligible when compared to the larger spread on mobile. Thus, publishers should incorporate more visual differentiation, like shading, on mobile native ads.
Need to know more about best practices and measurement in native disclosure for your branded content program? Download The State of Native Disclosure: How Premium Publishers Are Disclosing Native Promotions Of Branded Content.