Today you can see examples of native advertising on many popular websites such as, Huffington Post, The Onion, Fast Company, The New York Times and various local newspapers, as well as other popular online magazines and websites. The way you can spot native advertising is that it does not look like an advertisement or the old-fashioned advertorial. Instead it’s often sponsored useful content that does not read as an advertisement but as useful content in and of itself that the audience will likely enjoy and engage with.

There are some experts who do not believe that sponsored posts are really native advertising, they consider them regular advertising. Copyblogger’s Demian Farnworth is one expert who defines native advertising as:

“… Paid content that matches a publication’s editorial standards while meeting the audience’s expectations.”

But Wikipedia defines native advertising as any advertising that appears within the context of the publisher’s website based on content that is sponsored by the publisher or promoted by the creator. In other words, the content is paid for in some way. In some cases “paid for” means that a brand might donate the product that is being featured in order to promote brand awareness instead of money exchanging hands.


Many of CNN’s stories, especially when it has to do with a new product, a movie, or a star, is likely a form of native advertising done really, really well. Even if no money changes hands… if a brand is mentioned, it’s all about brand awareness, and you can be sure that the brand solicited the story in some way.

The Onion

This is a parody site that makes its money off ads and uses a lot of native advertising to do it. With The Onion, it can be really hard to know which articles are really advertisements in some way. But, there are all kinds of native advertising going on within The Onion including paid posts, sponsored posts, and donated product placement.

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They use native ads by having companies sponsor different stories that may or may not be about the brand. They also have content written by brands and promoted by brands. It’s a really good example of a website that uses many different forms of advertising very well. A good example is a post published by and promoted by ExxonMobile entitled “What Kind Of Engineer Should You Be?” This is very informative content for the reader, plus a line of tweets mentioning ExxonMobile to the right.

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This website gets most of its ad revenue from native advertising as most of the posts are created by and promoted by other publishers. Cracked works with brands to create sponsored content, unlike Buzzfeed which allows brands to create the content themselves. They prefer to create the content themselves in order to maintain their specific standards to create off the charts, funny, irreverent and awesome content.

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Native advertising is an important way for brands to get their message out to the world, create brand awareness, leads and to get more visitors to their own websites.

Where Are We Seeing Native Advertising?
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