Native advertising was one of many 2012 online advertising buzzwords. Native advertising is very hard to precisely define and has different meanings according to sources and contexts.
Native advertising is often described as the use of unique and specific ad formats which are strongly integrated in the publisher’s editorial environment. Native advertising is then an extension of the editorial content and completes the visit experience.
OPA publishers define native advertising as integration into site design, within editorial stream and with clear labeling - see OPA study below.
Native advertising is an alternative to "traditional banners" and can be seen as a new term for old advertising practises.
Native advertising is also a controversial issue, as lines are not always clear between ads and editorial content. In march 2015, some french journalists stiked against native advertising.
An example of native advertising within Ad Age Newsletter :
A controversial native ad unit on Yahoo :
According to a June 2013 survey from the Online Publishers Association (OPA), nearly three-quarters of polled US publishers offered native advertising on their site. According to ANA, native adverstising market share was 5% for 2014 on US market.