Native Ads vs Display Ads: What´s The Difference (Plus Pros & Cons)

Someone told you that you should be running native and display ads. You´d like to try them out but don´t know exactly where to put your money. Where can you run these ads? What are their pros and cons?
native ads vs display ads

Table of Contents

Someone told you that you should be running native and display ads. You´d like to try them out but don´t know exactly where to put your money. Where can you run these ads? What are their pros and cons?

In this article, I´ll be answering those questions and more. You´ll understand exactly the difference between these two and be able to determine which ad type is best for you.

Both native ads and display ads can be very effective when done right. So, don´t think one is better than the other, they´re simply different.

Wanna know why? Let’s dive into it.

What Are Native Ads

The term “native” means associated with the place or circumstances. When you think about this, you can start to understand the dynamics of native advertising. It looks and feels the same as the platform´s content. The best native ads actually don´t look like ads but like content.

As mentioned by Taboola, consumers are getting more resistant to advertisements. These days, people don´t want to get interrupted by annoying ads online. They want non-disruptive, helpful, and educational content that helps them solve a problem. Essentially, that´s the ultimate goal of native advertising.

Where Native Ads Show Up

Native ads often look like content. They mainly appear on websites where there´s content, whether blogs or news sites. It´s common to find native ads on websites such as New York Times, CNN, or Yahoo.

Native ads can appear on:

  • search results (Google; Bing)
  • social media (Facebook; Instagram)
  • open web (blogs; news sites)

What´s Native Best For

Native advertising at its core is a discovery medium. This makes it the perfect placement to build brand awareness and generate curiosity for your product or service. Advertising platforms like Taboola, Yahoo, or Outbrain allow you to create native campaigns easily and provide you with excellent targeting options at scale.

Native Ads Pros & Cons


  • Massive scaling potential
  • High-quality inventory
  • Advanced brand safety controls
  • Exclusive targeting options and features


  • Not as beginner-friendy as Facebook for example
  • More suitable for bigger budgets
  • Higher barriers to entry

Native Ads Examples

You might have seen some of these on your favorite news site. Actually, the most popular of native channels is good old Google search. Here are some examples of native ads.


native ads vs display ads


native ads vs display ads

Native Ads Dimensions

Ad specs will vary depending on the platform you´re buying media from. For demonstration purposes, here are the recommended dimensions for creatives on Outbrain.


Always make sure to go through the ad specs list and best practices of your specific demand-side platform. Besides getting the dimensions right, upload high-quality images that showcase what you sell or that show a person(s) similar to your ideal customer.

What Are Display Ads

The first-ever display ad was launched in 1994 by AT&T and the famous banner ad had born.

Display started to gain popularity and became the go-to ad type or placement for many of the biggest brands in the world.

As brands started to use more banner ads, they also started to lose their power. Back in the day, banner ads like the one from AT&T used to get 44% click-through rates. That number has gone down over the years to around 2%. The phenomenon was called “banner blindness.”

Where Display Ads Show Up

Display ads have come a long way. Now, you can find them not only on websites but also on YouTube, Gmail, and apps. Google Ads has been the favorite platform to launch these ads from, with intuitive campaign creation, management, and a wide range of targeting options.

The ads are served on what they call the Display Network.

According to Google, your display ads can show up on over 2 million websites, videos, and apps. Recently, the most used ad type on the display network is called responsive display ad.

What´s Display Best For

Many big brands use display advertising to both build brand awareness and generate conversions.
However, if you´re not a Mcdonald’s or AT&T, you can better utilize your budget by purely using display ads for remarketing. Since click-through rates are so low these days, you´re actually better off just focusing on conversions.

That´s not to say display ads aren´t effective for cold audiences. If you´re a small business, you might not be able to allocate your budget here but rather apply most of it on paid search, where conversion rates are higher.

Display Ads Pros & Cons


  • Easy to get started
  • Typically cheaper clicks
  • Doesn´t just show on websites


  • Lower click-through rates
  • Banner blindness effect
  • More 1st party data reliance
  • Harder to find the right audience for some industries

Display Ads Examples

As we said before, display ads can show up anywhere on the web. As long as the website owner has Adsense installed, these ads will pop up. You can also find them on YouTube and Gmail.


native ads vs display ads


The Verge

Display Ads Dimensions

Since Google is the most popular platform to launch display ads on, we´ll focus on their dimensions. Through Google Ads, you can launch responsive display and HTML5 ads.


You can also find the responsive and HTML5 ad specs shown below on Google´s Help Center with best practices and more details about requirements.

Mobile Devices



Square and rectangle 
200 × 200Small square
240 × 400Vertical rectangle
250 × 250Square
250 × 360Triple widescreen
300 × 250Inline rectangle
336 × 280Large rectangle
580 × 400Netboard
120 × 600Skyscraper
160 × 600Wide skyscraper
300 × 600Half-page ad
300 × 1050Portrait
468 × 60Banner
728 × 90Leaderboard
930 × 180Top banner
970 × 90Large leaderboard
970 × 250Billboard
980 × 120Panorama
300 × 50Mobile banner
320 × 50Mobile banner
320 × 100Large mobile banner

Native Ads vs Display Ads: Which Will You Use To Grow Your Business?

When you compare native ads vs display ads, there´s no clear winner. They both have their pros and cons, and both work well when done right. Depending on your marketing goals, you might lean more toward one or the other.

If you have a large budget, you can combine both ad types to create the perfect digital advertising strategy.

We´d love to hear from you. Which ad type are you planning on using more?


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