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As digital marketing continues to become more prevalent, brands are using a variety of methods to engage with their target audience in more natural ways. For instance, when scrolling through your news feed, you may notice sponsored social media posts among your friends’ posts. This is a form of native advertising many marketers use. Let’s explore this popular marketing strategy and look at 15 useful native ad examples.

What Is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is when brands use paid ads that match the look and feel of the platform they are on. Oftentimes, they don’t look like a traditional advertisement. Instead, you may see them as social media posts or recommended content on a webpage. The key to native advertising is that it goes with the natural flow of a platform and is non-disruptive. It’s usually sprinkled within a user’s news feed among their friends’ posts.

Here are general examples of native advertising:

  • Ads within your social media news feeds
  • Ads that show up on your search results page
  • Content recommendations at the bottom of an article

Is Native Advertising on the Rise?

As consumers are continuously bombarded with ads, marketers have found better ways to reach them. While a consumer may be more inclined to ignore a commercial or turn the volume down on a radio ad, native advertising gives marketers a more meaningful way to connect with their target audiences.

Although native advertising is changing, it certainly isn’t declining. By 2021, it’s going to be responsible for 74% of all ad revenue. While users are engaging with the content their friends share, they can come across your company’s content in a more natural way.

Image via Unsplash by plhnk

15 Examples of Good Native Advertising

Some brands understand native advertising better than others. Here are 15 examples you should check out before creating your own campaign:

1. Stranger Things on Spotify

Back in 2017, Spotify partnered with Netflix to create an interesting listening experience for fans of the show. The music streaming service matched users to a Stranger Things character based on their listening preferences. Users could then listen to a playlist curated specifically for that character as their screen looked like the Upside Down.

2. Patrón Tequila on Twitter

On International Margarita Day, this household name tequila brand took to Twitter to cleverly interact with followers. Using the promoted hashtag #MargaritaoftheYear, it got users to do much of the advertising for them. Likewise, their interactive poll that asked users to vote on the best cocktail recipe got a lot of buzz — no pun intended.

3. General Electric’s Podcast

In 2016, General Electric won a Webby Award for the Best Use of Native Advertising with its 8-week-long podcast series, “The Message.” Through sponsored storytelling, the brand was able to garner a large audience while subtly advertising their brand.

4. German Rail on Facebook

German Rail upped its revenue 24% with its No Need to Fly? native advertising campaign. Through sponsored ads, the transportation company showed users a photo of a faraway destination next to a comparable location in Germany. This enticed users to travel locally using their rail system, rather than hopping an airplane.

5. Home Depot on Apartment Therapy

Sometimes brands partner up to serve users some seriously fun native ads. When Home Deport put its “Spring Reboot” campaign on Apartment Therapy’s website, users had a good time exploring the visuals Home Depot created. Essentially, the brand made an interactive virtual house that included videos and links to their recommended products.

6. Airbnb on The New York Times

Airbnb worked with The New York Times’ T Brand Studio to tell the history of immigration and multiculturalism in the United States. Through The New York Times’ platform, they created an immersive storytelling experience that included the personal stories of Airbnb hosts. The article included archived photos, audio recordings, and interesting facts.

7. Land Rover on YouTube

Rather than creating a traditional video ad, Land Rover filmed a mini suspense film that captured YouTube users’ interest. In the video, the brand uses one of its vehicles to be the first-ever to scale the Heaven’s Gate landmark in China. This record-breaking event was genuinely entertaining while also showing the capabilities of a Land Rover vehicle.

8. IMB on The Atlantic

Although the Atlantic has had a major native ad flop in the past, IBM stepped up their game with this article. The goal of this sponsored content was to teach readers about its innovative Watson learning systems. By using The Atlantic’s platform, the ad reads like a legitimate article and offers interesting insights.

9. Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation on AOL

The Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation partnered with the Ad Council to create the “Know Your Girls” native ad campaign. When users of AOL click on the native ad, it brings them to the campaign’s website that has all kinds of information about breast health resources, risk factors, and personal stories.

10. Taco Bell on Snapchat

Since the emergence of Snapchat filters, tons of brands are using them to connect with users in a fun way. For example, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, Taco Bell released a Snapchat filter that made users look like a talking taco. Since the filter was quite funny and a bit creepy, users were eager to send each other sponsored Taco Bell selfies.

11. Gatorade on Snapchat

Another popular native ad choice Snapchat offers is branded games. Prior to the 2016 U.S. Open, the sports drink brand released an old-school looking game called “Serena Williams’ Match Point.” The game got 160 million impressions, clearly showing where native ads can take a brand.

12. CVS Pharmacy on Instagram

Of course, native advertising can be as simple as a branded Instagram post. When CVS Pharmacy released its “Beauty Unaltered” campaign, it shared non-Photoshopped imagery on its Instagram page. The brand also partnered with influencers to have them post sponsored content on their profiles, reaching followers in a more authentic way.

13. Lego Mosaic Maker

In order to drum up some user-generated content, Lego created a photo booth and instant Lego vending machine that let users recreate their headshot out of Legos. Visitors of its London location loved this interactive experience.

14. Mack Weldon on the Comedy Bang Bang Podcast

When the Comedy Bang Bang Podcast visited SXSW in 2016, it partnered with the underwear brand, Mack Weldon, to release quite the entertaining native ad experience. Through this hilarious podcast episode, the brand was able to double its sales.

15. Eni Energy on CNN.com

Eni Energy released a series of native ads on CNN.com to promote its Green River Project. By using engaging content, like text, video, images, maps, audio, personal stories, and stunning graphics, the brand was able to create an immersive experience and teach readers about their mission.

When making your own native advertising campaign, use these examples as inspiration. Remember, the thing that makes all these campaigns stand out is that they capture their target audience’s attention in a more natural way. By working within the parameters of a platform, your campaign can entice more people to engage with your brand.

Knowledge Base: Intro to Marketing

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