9 Native Advertising Mistakes That Are Killing Your Campaigns 9 Native Advertising Mistakes That Are Killing Your Campaigns


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Dan Smith


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In the realm of digital marketing, native advertising has emerged as a potent tool for connecting with target audiences. It's a type of online advertising where ads blend seamlessly into the platform they're placed on, mirroring the look and feel of the surrounding content. This chameleon-like capability enables native ads to engage audiences without disrupting their browsing experience.

Native advertising mistakes, however, can be costly, zapping the effectiveness of your campaigns and negatively impacting your bottom line. A well-executed campaign can boost brand awareness, increase customer engagement, and drive conversions. On the flip side, missteps in native advertising can lead to wasted resources, damaged brand reputation, and lackluster campaign results.

The stakes are high in this game of digital persuasion. Understanding common pitfalls is key to navigating the landscape successfully. Let's delve into the most common mistakes advertisers make when running native ads and explore practical strategies to turn these challenges into opportunities for growth and success.

1. Lack of Native Ad Platform Selection

Selecting the optimal native ad platform is a pillar for campaign success. Just as a craftsman chooses tools that match the intricacies of their work, advertisers must choose a platform that aligns with their creative strategies and business objectives. Consider The New York Times, where branded content harmonizes with editorial material, offering advertisers a prestigious environment to reach educated and affluent audiences.

Key factors in native ad platform selection include:

  1. Targeting Options: Platforms should offer sophisticated targeting capabilities to reach specific demographics, interests, and behaviors.
  2. Ad Formats: Diverse formats enable creative storytelling that can range from articles to videos, fitting seamlessly within user experience.
  3. Audience Reach: Identifying platforms with an audience that overlaps with the advertiser’s target market ensures ads are seen by relevant prospects.

Taboola stands out as a recommended native ad platform, thanks to its expansive reach across numerous reputable publisher sites and advanced targeting options, which allow for strategic ad placements tailored to audience preferences and behaviors. By leveraging Taboola’s robust analytics, advertisers can gain insights into performance metrics, driving informed decisions for campaign optimization.

2. How to Create Effective Native Ads

Engaging native ads play a crucial role in successful digital marketing as they directly impact click-through rates (CTR). When the content seamlessly blends with the platform and captures the audience's attention, it can result in significant performance improvements. Here are some strategies to help you craft effective native ads:

Design for Engagement

Use high-quality images and compelling headlines that spark curiosity. By leveraging visual storytelling, you can transport users into your brand's narrative, which increases the chances of them clicking on your ad and taking action.

Create Content that Resonates

Take the time to understand your target audience's interests and needs. This knowledge will enable you to tailor your messaging in a way that resonates with them, making each interaction with your ad feel personal and relevant.

Deliver Value in Every Ad

Make sure that each ad you create provides some form of value to the user. Whether it's educational content, entertainment, or a solution to a problem they're facing, people should gain something worthwhile from engaging with your ad beyond just getting introduced to your product or service.

By blending your promotional goals with genuine user value, native advertising becomes a powerful tool for establishing meaningful connections with potential customers. This approach not only helps build trust but also encourages users to progress naturally through the sales funnel.

User Engagement

3. Poor Quality Content

Quality content is essential for a successful native advertising campaign. It directly affects how users engage with your content and perceive your brand. When the content you provide doesn't meet their expectations, it can lead to negative outcomes. Let's take a closer look at this issue:

Why Poor Quality Content Matters

1. User Engagement Decline

Audiences tend to disengage quickly with content that doesn't offer value or meet a professional standard. This disengagement can be seen through:

  • Reduced time spent on your site
  • Higher bounce rates (when visitors leave your site after viewing only one page)
  • General disinterest in what you're promoting

2. Brand Credibility Damage

Low-quality content reflects poorly on your brand's reputation. Users may associate the lack of effort in the content with the quality of products or services you offer, leading to lasting negative perceptions.

How to Ensure High Standards of Content Quality

Here are some tips to maintain high-quality content in your native ads:

Employ Professional Visuals

Utilize high-resolution images and sleek graphics that are relevant to your messaging. The visual appeal can significantly impact a user's first impression and subsequent engagement.

Steer Clear of Clickbait

While enticing headlines are crucial, they must accurately reflect the content's value. Misleading clickbait may drive initial clicks but ultimately results in user distrust and high drop-off rates.

Remember, substance coupled with style enhances the user experience and solidifies your brand's standing in a crowded digital marketplace.

4. Misleading Native Ads

Creating misleading native advertising experiences can pose significant risks, such as potential backlash from consumers and regulatory issues. Native ads should reflect the promoted content accurately, avoiding any ambiguity that could mislead users. Ensuring transparency and disclosure in native ads is essential, allowing users to clearly distinguish them from organic content.

Consider the case of ABC Company that faced severe criticism for their misleading native ad campaigns. They blurred the lines between sponsored content and organic posts, leading to a loss of consumer trust and penalties from regulatory authorities. This example underscores the importance of honesty in native advertising.

To avoid falling into the same trap:

  • Clearly label ads as sponsored content
  • Make sure your ad visuals and headlines accurately represent the linked content
  • Avoid clickbait tactics

Remember, misleading native ads can result in short-term gains but will invariably harm your brand's reputation in the long run.

5. Lack of Customer Journey Understanding

Understanding the customer journey is essential for creating effective native advertising. Many campaigns make a common mistake by not matching their native ads with the different stages of the customer journey. This can greatly reduce the ads' effectiveness in leading people to take action.

Why is customer journey important?

The customer journey is like a roadmap that shows how someone becomes aware of, considers, and eventually decides to purchase a product or service. It's not a direct path but rather a series of steps and touchpoints along the way.

How does it affect native advertising?

Each stage of the customer journey presents an opportunity for businesses to connect with potential customers. By understanding what people are thinking and feeling at each stage, you can create native ads that address their specific needs and concerns.

How to align native ads with the customer journey

Here are some steps you can take to better understand the customer journey and tailor your native ads accordingly:

  1. Identify key stages: Divide the customer journey into distinct phases such as awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty.
  2. Study customer behavior at each stage: Look closely at what actions customers are taking, what information they're seeking, and what questions they have during each phase.
  3. Develop relevant ad content for each stage: Create native ads that provide helpful information, answer common questions, and alleviate any doubts or hesitations customers may have at that particular stage.

By aligning your native ads with the customer journey, you'll be able to deliver more personalized and impactful messages that resonate with your audience at every step of their buying process.

Lack of Customer Understanding

6. Personalizing Ad Experiences for Different Audiences

Here are two ways you can tailor your native ads to different types of viewers:

1. New Prospects

When targeting people who are new to your brand, focus on providing them with helpful and educational content that aligns with their interests. This could include things like:

  • How-to guides
  • Infographics
  • Introductory videos

The goal here is to introduce yourself in a way that is informative and valuable to them.

2. Retargeted Audiences

For people who have already interacted with your brand in some way, it's important to take a more personalized approach. This could involve showcasing things like:

  • Case studies
  • User-generated reviews
  • Exclusive discounts or offers

By acknowledging their previous interactions and tailoring the content accordingly, you can increase the chances of converting them into customers.

The Benefits of Segmenting and Tailoring Your Ads

Segmenting your audience and customizing your ad content has several advantages:

  • It allows you to deliver a relevant message that resonates with each group.
  • It helps you establish a stronger connection with your audience by addressing their specific needs and interests.
  • It increases the likelihood of engagement as people are more likely to pay attention to something that feels personalized to them.
  • It improves the overall effectiveness of your advertising efforts by delivering the right message at the right time in someone's journey with your brand.

By taking this strategic approach to native advertising, you can create meaningful connections with your audience and drive better results for your business.

7. Misaligned KPIs and Goals

In native advertising, it's crucial to choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are aligned with your goals. These KPIs should reflect the specific objectives of your campaign and provide a clear measure of its success. When there is no alignment between KPIs and goals, it becomes difficult to determine whether your native ad efforts are actually contributing to your overall business objectives.

Selecting Appropriate Attribution Models:

To address this challenge, here are some steps you can take to select appropriate attribution models:

  1. Understand the Conversion Path: Not all user interactions are the same. Some might be just exploratory clicks, while others could indicate a strong intent to purchase. It's important to recognize these differences in order to accurately attribute conversions.
  2. Choose the Right Model: There are different attribution models available, such as first-touch, last-touch, or multi-touch attribution. Each model focuses on a different part of the customer's journey. You need to choose a model that best reflects the role of native ads in influencing conversions.
  3. Continuous Refinement: Attribution models should not be set in stone. As your campaigns evolve and consumer behavior changes, you should regularly re-evaluate if the chosen model still aligns with how native ads are impacting conversions.

By educating yourself about these attribution models and selecting the most suitable one for your campaign, you can ensure that every conversion is correctly attributed to native ad interactions. This will give you actionable insights instead of vague data, allowing you to optimize your campaigns for better return on investment (ROI) and customer engagement.

8. Lack of Split-Testing

Split-tests, or A/B tests, serve as a compass in the ever-evolving landscape of native advertising. By rigorously testing variables such as ad formats, headlines, content types, audiences, and publishers, advertisers can uncover which combinations resonate most effectively with their target demographic. Here's why integrating split-testing into your strategy is not just beneficial but essential:

Why Split-Testing is Important

1. Refinement of Ad Elements

Testing ad formats against each other pinpoints which ones engage users more deeply.

2. Headline Optimization

Since headlines are the first point of contact, split-testing different variations can significantly lift click-through rates.

3. Content Resonance

Discover which content types align best with audience interests and preferences.

4. Audience and Publisher Matching

Identifying the most responsive audience segments and the most suitable publishers helps in tailoring campaigns that speak directly to those groups.

How to Set Up Split-Tests

For setting up split-tests, follow these steps:

  1. Define Clear Objectives: Know what you’re testing for – be it CTR, engagement rate, or conversion.
  2. Hypothesize Thoughtfully: Base your tests on data-driven assumptions or industry insights.
  3. Test One Variable at a Time: This isolates the impact of each change accurately.
  4. Use Sufficient Sample Sizes: Ensure your results are statistically significant to make informed decisions.
  5. Iterate Continuously: Apply learnings to optimize future campaigns and adjust strategies accordingly.

The leverage gained from split-testing equips advertisers with actionable data to enhance campaign performance incrementally and systematically.

9. Insufficient Campaign Monitoring

Active campaign monitoring is the heartbeat of any successful native advertising endeavor. Timely optimization based on real-time data can significantly elevate campaign performance. Advertisers need to be vigilant, tracking multiple metrics to swiftly pinpoint areas requiring attention or adjustment.

Key metrics essential for thorough scrutiny include:

  1. Click-Through Rates (CTR): Measures user response to native ads.
  2. Conversion Rates: Quantifies the percentage of users taking the desired action.
  3. Engagement Metrics: Includes time spent on content and interaction levels.
  4. Bounce Rates: Indicates whether the content matches user expectations.
  5. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Evaluates the economic efficiency of campaigns.

By focusing on these indicators, advertisers detect not just issues but also opportunities for refinement. This approach enables responsive modifications that align with user behavior and campaign objectives, ensuring ongoing relevance and effectiveness of native ad strategies.


Learning from native advertising mistakes is a stepping stone to campaign optimization. Advertisers equipped with knowledge about these pitfalls can adeptly navigate the complex landscape of native advertising. The key is not just to avoid these errors, but to actively incorporate strategies that propel campaigns forward.

Here are some actionable steps you can take to improve your native advertising campaigns:

Reflect on Past Campaigns

Regularly reviewing past performances helps identify patterns that may signal which practices to continue and which to revamp.

Stay Agile

Adaptability is paramount. The digital marketing environment is in constant flux; hence, agility in strategy and execution ensures relevance and effectiveness.

Leverage Data

Data analytics should guide every decision. By understanding what the numbers are saying, advertisers can fine-tune campaigns for optimal engagement and conversion.

Prioritize User Experience

Always place the audience’s needs at the forefront. Native ads should be a natural and value-adding part of their content consumption experience.

Embracing the latest trends and best practices in native advertising equips marketers with the tools needed to construct robust campaigns that resonate with audiences while achieving business objectives. This dynamic approach helps safeguard against costly errors that can arise from a static strategy.

Moving forward, it's essential to consider how additional resources can bolster your native advertising efforts. Utilizing advanced tools offers insights that could be pivotal in refining your strategies for even greater success.

Additional Resources

Elevate your native advertising campaign with a powerful tool like Anstrex. As a leading native advertising intelligence tool, Anstrex provides valuable insights that can optimize your campaigns. Here are some features that set it apart:

  • Spy on competitors' native ads
  • Uncover winning strategies
  • Comprehensive data analysis
  • Intuitive interface

With Anstrex, your campaign analysis is not just about what's not working; it's about discovering new avenues of opportunity and growth. So why wait? Try out Anstrex for your native ad campaigns today!

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