Native advertising is a form of paid advertising, where the advertisement follows the form and function of the media in which it is placed.
Advertisers must deliver highly valuable content that matches the audience experience of content in that same media space.
The opportunity within native advertising is not about finding new ways to interrupt users with traditional ads. It’s about delivering advertising as good as the content itself.
In this article I examine 3 examples of Native advertising done extremely well and how you can model these in your business marketing. I look specifically at how well each ad meets the criteria of: ??Form: How does the ad fit with the overall page design? ??Function: Does the ad function like other elements on the page in which it is placed? Does it deliver the same type of content experience?
1. Target on Pinterest
The US retailer Target, launched itself on the popular social network Pinterest in 2013. With thousands of Target products pinned on Pinterest, lots of user repins, favourites and comments how does this native advertising stack up?
Target has matched the overall “Pinterest” design with it’s products to a tee. Every product matches the beautiful photography and vibrancy that is expected on Pinterest.
The user experience on Target’s Pinterest page is certainly matched to that of the Pinterest experience. ??Their products are pinned to boards by categories such as food, entertaining, healthy living, women’s style, beauty, home décor and wedding (just to name a few). The corresponding links take you to the page on their online store where you can purchase the item directly.
Overall this is a very good example of Native Advertising done well. Target were able to integrate all of their products in a stylish way that pertains to Pinterest. They are successfully promoting their products on Pinterest, it is being well received by the Pinterest community as demonstrated in all of the user generated pints, comments and favorites.
2. King of the Nerds on Gawker.com
The sponsored article “How to transform into a Total Nerd Babe” appeared on the site Gawker.com. At first glance it looks like a simple article on how to be a sassy nerdette. If you look closely, the article is actually a sponsored article by the television show “King of the Nerds.”
When we look at other stories on Gawker.com, what we see is a random array of stories about anything and everything from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics to 10 things you probably didn’t know about love and sex. ????? As peculiar as a blog post on “how to transform into a total nerd babe,” the ad fits as a “legitimate” story on the site. It looks and feels like a regular Gawker article, with compelling and relatable images. It doesn’t look like a blatant advertisement – it looks like a content piece.
Without a doubt, the story delivers the same content experience as other stories on the site as well. You would be forgiven if you didn’t notice the subtle “sponsored” reference at the top of the article.
King of the Nerds and Gawker did well to deliver this native advertising piece. It promotes the television show in the guise of a legitimate piece of content on the site, matching both form and function to classify as a good piece of native advertising. Sponsored articles done correctly are a good form of native advertising to model.
3. Oreo – Daily Twist Campaign
America’s favourite cookie: Oreo, launched a daily campaign called Daily Twist. Over 100 days, Oreo translated pop culture into sharable content with a new piece of content every single day.
They created the content especially for Facebook and Twitter and took native advertising to a very exciting level.
Whilst Oreo is kind of it’s own cult already, what they were able to do is take Oreo and make it “cool” for Facebook and Twitter. We saw the creative match that which people expected on Facebook – quirky and different. Design-wise we saw this work very cohesively.
In terms of function, Oreo made the content “talkable” and prompted a firestorm of discussion on Facebook. They saw a 280% increase in Facebook shares and connected with 150 million people on Facebook alone throughout the campaign.
A part from the fact that this campaign has won many advertising awards, what we see is a prime example of native advertising. Instead of simply pushing boring content on Facebook and twitter, they created a campaign with the intent of delivering relevant, timely and quirky content for the media they were on.
Whilst small businesses may not have the budgets to replicate campaigns to the same degree, what we can do is take these and model them into relevant versions for our own businesses.
What these companies did well, was they created the content for the media which they were promoting, instead of creating content simply to be disseminated online generically. They matched the form – in the design and the function in the quality of content to deliver high value for the users. Armed with this knowledge and a break down of what is required, we have access to the same social media networks and media to do native advertising for our own businesses.