Native Advertising Trends for 2019: What We’ve Learned from Analyzing Millions of Ads

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As internet users continue to reject traditional online advertising, consumer startups and Fortune 500s alike are allocating bigger budgets to non-disruptive ad campaigns.

According to eMarketer, native digital display ads will make up nearly 61% of digital display advertising spend in 2019. In numbers, that accounts for a staggering $41 billion in ad spend.

It’s easy to see why native advertising excites everyone, it works and it works well. That said, you still have to compete with the ever-shortening attention span of your audience.

Given that humans remember only 30% of what they see, you must make great, click-worthy ads.

40 Native Advertising Case Studies From Brands That Have Succeeded

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If your ads are going to stand out, you need knockout creatives based on data-driven insights. More importantly, you need a heads-up on changing best practices.

At Taboola, we gather meaningful insights from a vast range of native advertising campaigns. And now, with, you have direct access to these data points as they change.

To see what’s next for marketers, we analyzed millions of ads to discover the latest trends in native advertising. From black and white images to six-second video illustrations, here’s what we think will shape and influence native ads in 2019.

Image best practices

For brands trying to find the perfect image to make their ad pop, here’s some insight on what’s currently working for all industries worldwide.

Photography triumphs illustrations

For companies looking to reach new audiences with native advertising, it’s worth noting that the CTR for real photo images is 19% higher than illustrations. When it comes to image type, avoid using graphic illustrations – people prefer seeing how featured objects look in reality.

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Black and white wins

Ads featuring black and white images generate more engagement and get better CTRs. Using a black and white filter on one of your ads can increase CTR by up to 46%.

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Outdoor shots prove their mettle

Photos shot indoors or outdoors? Our findings reveal a higher preference for the latter. Changing your ad’s background to show an outdoor environment can boost CTR by about 12%.

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Video best practices

If videos are an integral part of your native advertising strategy, then here are some insights that will help you run effective video ads, no matter what your location or industry.

Eating works for the 6-15 second video

Eating drives the best performance for 6-15 second video ads. Including short eating videos in your branding campaigns can cause a 258% increase in viewability and a 75% increase in completion rate.

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Physical activity wins for 15-30 second videos

Physical activity has the best viewability and completion rate for 15-30 second video ads. Stretching, yoga, and exercise videos can result in a 34% higher viewability at 15 seconds and achieve an 85% completion rate at 30 seconds. For global marketers, placing a moving subject in a video ad can improve results.

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Food works for short video ads

Food has a high viewability for short, 6-second videos. It doesn’t perform well in lengthier ads. No food videos have a high viewability in 15-second ads, but incorporating food in 6-second ads can improve viewability by 102%.

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Recommended phrases

To get the most out of your ads, use the right phrases in the headline text. We found that the following phrases correlate with a high click-through rate.

‘Foods That Naturally…’

For dieticians and food brands, this phrase can bring about an 85% increase in CTR. People are receptive to headlines that talk about the natural impact of food on the human body.

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‘Ranking The Greatest’

Ads containing this phrase can generate a 61% higher CTR than ads that don’t. It works best for sports media companies, where they often rank the greatest athletes in a particular sport.

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‘Try Not to’

This classic phrase continues to dominate the digital ad space. Using this phrase in some of your ad headlines can improve CTR by up to 111%. When it comes to making people click, nothing works better than piquing their curiosity.

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Best practices vary by industry

General best practices, while valuable, sometimes fall short. What may work for one business may not work for another. Winning ad creatives account for a variety of factors, and every industry has its own best practices. It’s critical to determine what’s currently working for businesses in your industry.

To give you an idea of how best practices vary between industries, we look at image recommendations for two popular sectors: fashion and education.

Image best practices

Black and white images drive more interest in general, but the fashion industry is the exception here. Using a color filter on a fashion-related ad can increase CTR by as much as 20%.

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For education, ads featuring black and white images deliver higher CTRs than colored filters. Use of black and white imagery for education ads can boost CTR by 45%.

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For the subject of the image, we recommend fashion brands use visuals with people for a higher CTR. This can help your campaign achieve a 51% higher CTR.

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For education businesses, it’s best to use images without people. This can result in a 21% increase in CTR.

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Fashion and Education success stories

To give you a little inspiration, these fashion and education companies are already seeing results with Taboola.

The Line

The Line is a web-based boutique offering its customers a unique shopping experience. It showcases dresses that are available at its physical outlet, The Apartment by The Line, in New York’s SoHo shopping district.

The company incorporates traditional storytelling into its content and creates chapters to engage its audiences in a new and exciting way.

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Leveraging Taboola’s content discovery platform and recommended best practices, the Line earned over 72 million impressions in three months and a near 100% increase in traffic.


Blinkist is an app that delivers key learnings from over 3,000 non-fiction bestsellers packaged into readable packs for listening to or reading in just 15 minutes.

The company’s marketing mix initially relied on affiliate marketing and social media to generate leads. By using Taboola’s content discovery platform, the brand reached a vast range of modern learners, and the creative team at Taboola also helped them execute a best practices strategy.

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With Taboola’s technology and guidance, Blinkist generated more than 60,000 new sign ups at its target cost-per-acquisition.

And there you go…

The more specific you get with the creatives of your ads, the more critical insights become. While we may recommend black and white images in some instances, they just fail to make an impact in others.

To get up to speed with native advertising trends, we invite you to check out Taboola Trends, now accessible to the public. Every week we analyze around 75 million clicks across campaign creatives, so marketers and brands on our network always remain up-to-date with the latest happenings from around the native advertising world.

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