Native Is Good, Responsive Is Better

There has been no shortage of discussion surrounding native ad formats.  The idea of improving the design of display media is appealing to many digital media execs, marketers and publishers alike.  Done correctly, it will also be embraced by consumers.

While general consensus and industry definitions continue to evolve about what constitutes “native,” it makes sense to keep our collective eyes on the ball: delivering a better user experience.  This will ultimately pave the way for increased consumer media consumption, brand engagement, and e-commerce.

The notion of “beautifying” the Web might sound altruistic, but it makes sense.  It is largely accepted that today’s consumers ignore messaging while employing a “banner blindness” approach to surfing the Web. 

Who can blame them?

Consider the following:

  • Display banners are disruptive and ignore the construct of a page.  Fonts, colors, and even context are largely ignored when pairing display ads with a publisher’s content.  Atypical Web page will have anywhere from three to five advertisements, each designed without consideration of the publisher’s layout.  Clashing color schemes are a faux pas in fashion, home décor, and other creative circles -- why not in our industry?
  • In addition to creating havoc from an aesthetics standpoint, several ads on a page compete with one another and decrease likelihood of engagement.  How about one or perhaps two ad units using an intelligent, “native” design?  The thought here is that publishers can actually increase rates and yield with fewer ads, while adding more from a brand engagement standpoint.



The responsive web is *somewhat* already here, as far as the ability to seamlessly render content across an array of consumer devices (minus the luxury auto brand I attempted to visit using my iPhone 5C -- perhaps only 5S owners are welcome? I guess it’s all about status these days).

Understanding how to deliver advertising while taking publisher design into consideration is a logical next step for the industry, and will pay dividends for brands, publishers, and consumers. 

My vote is to ditch native in favor of responsive. This seems more intuitive, as it can apply to consumer device, publisher layout/design, and even page context.  

What do you think?

5 comments about "Native Is Good, Responsive Is Better".
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  1. Mike Goldberg from TripleLift, March 21, 2014 at 1:56 p.m.

    Great points, and you're absolutely correct. At its core, this is what native advertising is - responsive ads that are render perfectly on any screen and match and look the feel of the site its on. It's something we have been evangelizing on our end, and brands are starting to understand the need, and ultimate value of this.

  2. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, March 21, 2014 at 3:26 p.m.

    Seth -- this is too simple, makes too much sense and it helps publishers, advertisers and users simultaneously -- it has no chance to work :) -- LOVE your thinking and you are so right -- you had me at clashing colors...great job man.


  3. Walter Sabo from SABO media, March 24, 2014 at 10:57 a.m.

    The best advertising is placed within the entertainment content. Banners, pre-rolls---useless

  4. John Federman from Dailybreak Media, March 24, 2014 at 3:18 p.m.

    Seth, thanks for sharing your thoughts on native versus responsive content. I agree that today’s consumers, particularly the coveted millennial audience, have grown ad-weary, and “native” advertising – in its current form – misses the mark. Effective native content enriches the user experience, and makes consumers not only want to extend their time with a brand, but also invite others to partake in it. Your point about being responsive is well-taken, as in order to be truly native, the ad unit has to be the kind of content the user thought they were navigating towards in the first place. True native (or responsive) content also creates meaningful engagement, which can deliver more intelligent results by measuring time spent interacting with the brand as opposed to simply counting impressions. When you boost the interactive component with tools such as gamified content, the engagement factor continues to multiply.

  5. Matthew Snyder from ADObjects Inc, April 10, 2014 at 11:39 a.m.

    Seth, Sound great! We agree and that is why we founded ResponsiveAds ( 3 years ago and have been innovating ever since. We have tons of proven case-studies and premium responsive creative results.


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