In 2023, the majority of advertisers are already aware of Facebook’s advertising potential. Native advertising, on the other hand, offers a comparable reach of Internet users, while often being an overlooked opportunity. Take MGID for example: our global coverage reaches 900M+ unique visitors monthly on more than 32K content websites.
To understand which one is best for you, let’s first begin by understanding what Facebook and native advertising is. Afterwards, we will dive in to explore the main differences between the two.
What is a Facebook Ad?
When we mention Facebook advertising, we are referring to advertisements shown on the Facebook timeline, as opposed to boosted posts. Boosting posts are more suitable for content promotion purposes when you want to gather more likes, comments and shares. For the vast majority of performance campaigns when you want to generate traffic to your website, leads and conversions, you ought to use Facebook ads.
What is a Native Ad?
Native ads are designed to blend seamlessly with the content of the website or application where it appears. It creates an unobtrusive experience for users, avoids ad blockers and captures the right amount of user attention. This type of paid advertising is efficient for both traffic or conversion campaigns.
Native Ads vs Facebook Ads
Now, let’s discuss the subtle differences between the two a little bit further.
Soft-Selling vs Hard-Selling Approach
With Facebook ads, you have to fight for user attention and aggressively pitch your product. If you want to achieve higher CTR, creatives have to stand out from the content feed while garnering strong positive emotions from users.
Alternatively, native ads rely on a more subtle, non-intrusive approach for selling. The format integrates into the user’s normal content consumption, allowing brands to foster a more casual communication style. Advertisers can inquire about specific issues that users suffer from and offer a solution.
The Right Touchpoints With the Right Audience
Facebook provides a wide range of controls and targeting options to find the right audience. On their platform, you can either build saved, custom or lookalike audiences. The first type lets you target users based on interests, demographics and locations. Custom audiences allow for the retargeting of users that were previously engaged with some of your digital assets. Finally, lookalike targeting is about reaching users similar to your existing customer base.
Going native, you will be able to target the basic socio-demographic characteristics of users, but, more importantly, you will be able to match the promoted content and the website content, displaying ads in the most suitable environment. In addition, the MGID platform manages these placements using the first-party data of advertisers and direct partners — publishers; therefore, targeting settings will remain present in the upcoming cookieless future of digital advertising.
Put simply, Facebook ads rely more on reaching specific users, while native ads are focused on both, finding the right context for advertising and tailoring the advertorial content to a particular audience.
Targeting users by interest does not fully capture all subtle contextual nuances. For example, being a member of the Facebook group ‘Ancient memes’ does not necessarily mean that a user has a strong interest in ancient history, and the available targeting settings do not allow you to make a further distinction.
On the other hand, using contextual targeting available on the MGID platform, advertisers can ensure ads are matched to the most relevant content, whereas it’s impossible to control the content that surrounds Facebook ads. Classification of the web content for contextual targeting is achieved not only by keywords but also by high-level categories that take into account detail-level components and attributes. Join us to experience all these advantages firsthand.
Retargeting Your Audience Across Platforms
Needless to say, large-scale campaigns require more than one traffic source to be able to interact with — and retarget — more users. Running Facebook ads to audiences that have never interacted with your product can be difficult because these users have no trust for it or the awareness that it can potentially solve some of their problems.
It is possible, however, to start a conversation with your prospects through native editorials and advertisements and then retarget them on other platforms, like Facebook. Using MGID pixels, you can easily import your custom MGID audience on Facebook and approach them once you have built the initial awareness. Through this method, the issue of trust can be greatly mitigated, making your Facebook campaign more efficient compared to targeting interest-based audiences from scratch.
Native Ads vs Facebook Ads Comparison Table
Now let's recap all of the above regarding the specifics of Facebook and native ads in a table format.
|Aspect||Native ads||Facebook ads|
|Format||Designed to match the platform's look and feel, blending with the content||Variety of formats including image, video, carousel, slideshow, and more|
|Placement||Can be placed on websites, apps, or social media platforms||Exclusively on the Facebook platform and its affiliated apps|
|Targeting options||Flexible targeting options including contextual targeting and tailoring content for a pacticular audience||Extensive targeting options including custom audiences, lookalike audiences, etc.|
|Ad placement control||Offers control over ad placement and context||Provides control over ad placement within the platform|
|Ad transparency||Labeled as "sponsored" or "ad" to disclose their promotional nature||Ads are labeled as "sponsored" or display the advertiser's name|
|Ad engagement||Depends on the quality and relevance of the content to the platform||Offers various engagement options (likes, comments, shares, etc.)|
|Ad performance metrics||Metrics may vary depending on the platform, typically include impressions, clicks, and engagement rates||Typical performance metrics: reach, impressions, click-through rates, conversions, and more|
|Ad pricing||Pricing models can vary depending on the platform and ad placement||Determined through bidding processes, based on audience, competition and relevancy|
|Audience reach||Depends on the platform and the specific websites, apps or social media platforms||Facebook has a vast user base, providing access to a large global audience|
|Retargeting capabilities||Wide retargeting options||Robust retargeting capabilities|
|Ad creative control||Provides flexibility in creating visually appealing customizable ads||Offers some creative control, but constrained by platform guidelines|
|Ad management||May require working with individual publishers or using native ad platforms||Done through the Facebook Ads Manager or Business Manager|
Benefits of Facebook Ads and Native Ads
You can see that each of these advertising solutions has its own strengths. For your convenience, we have compiled the benefits of Facebook advertising and native advertising.
Facebook advertising offers a number of unique benefits:
- Extensive targeting. Facebook offers a wide range of targeting options, based on demographics, interests, behaviors and more. This allows you to reach specific audience segments and tailor your ads to their preferences.
- Large user base. With over 2.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook provides access to a massive global audience, increasing the potential reach of your ads.
- Diverse ad formats. Facebook offers a variety of ad formats: images, videos, carousels and slideshows to name a few. This flexibility enables you to showcase your products or services in creative and engaging ways.
- Robust analytics and optimization. Facebook provides detailed performance metrics, allowing you to track ad effectiveness, reach, engagement and conversions. You can use this data to optimize your campaigns and improve your ROI.
- Advanced retargeting capabilities. Facebook's retargeting options enable you to reach users who have previously interacted with your website, app or Facebook page. This increases the chances of conversions by targeting users who have already shown interest in your brand.
In turn, native advertising has its own advantages:
- Seamless integration. Native ads are designed to match the look and feel of the platform or content where they appear. This integration makes them less obtrusive and more likely to be viewed as part of the user experience, resulting in higher engagement and a better user experience.
- Increased relevance. Native ads are contextually relevant to the platform or content, making them more effective. By aligning with the surrounding content, they appear more natural and resonate better with the target audience.
- Improved ad blocker resistance. Native ads tend to be less affected by ad blockers compared to traditional display ads. Since they blend in with the content, they are less likely to be blocked, ensuring better visibility and reach.
- Enhanced user trust. When executed properly, native ads can build trust with the audience. By delivering valuable and relevant content, they are perceived as less intrusive and more informative, which fosters a positive brand perception.
- Flexible placement options. Native ads can be placed on various platforms: websites, apps and social media platforms. This flexibility allows you to reach your target audience across multiple touchpoints and select placements that align with your campaign goals.
Needless to say, the choice between Facebook ads and native ads is entirely dependent on your specific objectives, target audience and campaign strategy. Often, a combination of both advertising solutions can be beneficial in maximizing your advertising reach and effectiveness.
However, when selecting an advertising platform for your campaigns, ask yourself one question: what is my ultimate goal. Whatever that is for you — higher ROI, scalability or brand safety — be sure that your traffic sources are the answer.