Native advertising has emerged both as an exciting new way for digital marketers to engage with the
consumer, and as a new source of advertising revenue for publishers. “What is native advertising?” is a
question that the industry has, almost frantically, been looking to answer since the term was first coined.
While countless definitions have been proposed by nearly every industry insider, company, and
journalist, no universally agreed-upon one has surfaced. This is because, to a large extent, native is in
the eye of the beholder, depending on where one sits in the ecosystem and the strategic and media
objectives of the marketer.
This lack of agreement has caused confusion in the marketplace leading the industry to exert
considerable time and energy debating whether or not various ad units are native rather than focusing
on higher level discussions such as effectiveness and disclosure.
The 100+ member companies on the IAB Task Force convened with the goal of developing a framework
that allows the industry to speak a common language on the subject. Members discussed at length the
variety of ad units currently being sold to marketers as being “native” and identified the six main types
that can fall under this category today.