Polar studies elements that make native content clickable

"Sponsored" is common, but don't overlook "Partner" or "Promoted"

Online publishers and marketers have been evolving what counts as acceptable disclosure in native advertising, but according to research from native content tech provider Polar, the most common approaches aren’t necessarily the most effective ones.

Polar’s new white paper State of Native Disclosure examined 137 native placements across 65 publisher websites, recording the various ways native advertising was labeled to distinguish it from each site’s normal content (which is considered essential by industry associations and governing bodies, such as the FTC).

Those methods included overt disclosure with words like “sponsored” or “promoted,” shading and different font colours to offset a given piece of content visually, or the use of logos and advertiser names, among others.

The word “sponsored” was used most frequently among those ads studied to disclose advertiser involvement at 55.2% of the time, while “promoted” ranked a distant second at 17.9%.

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However, when looking at the overall click-through rates of the ads, “promoted” proved more effective at 0.19%; ads with a “partner” disclosure rated 0.17% and the most popular term “sponsored” rated 0.16%.

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Yet results varied across platforms: “sponsored” performed better than “promoted” on desktop, while the opposite was true on mobile.

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When it came to identifying advertiser partners, simply including a brand’s name proved more appealing to audiences than including a logo. “Performance was 168% higher when an advertiser name was used when compared with a logo, on mobile,” said Polar CEO and 30 Under 30 alumnus Kunal Gupta, in a release.

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The whitepaper is available online.

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