Native advertising is a form of digital marketing that is taking off like wildfire. What was once an industry buzzword has grown to common practice for any brands engaging in digital marketing. One of the aspects of native marketing that makes it so commonly used today is the fact that it is scalable. Brands can choose what level of native advertising they will engage in, from sponsored Posts on Facebook to full-fledged partnership campaigns. Native advertising is a catch-all term that generally includes content that is promoted via online publications.
In an effort to glean greater insight as to what constitutes a successful native advertising campaign, we took a look at some of the more notable campaigns this year.
One of the more design-heavy campaigns can be found in the partnership between BMW and Medium.com. The “Re:Form” website hosted by Medium.com features an aesthetically appealing layout that covers anything and everything arts and design related. From baby bottles to tail lights, the content is subtly BMW influenced while keeping the general look and feel of Medium.com’s standard (unsponsored) content.
Chipotle: “Food For Thought”
Chipotle’s partnership with the Huffington Post to create an article with a catchy headline and even juicier content is a prime example of how native advertising can spark a conversation that ignites into a full-blown Internet debate. The article is informative and interesting (not to mention, disgusting), with enough solid content to keep the reader interested. The angle of, “know what is in your food,” is always a good approach, as long as your brand practices what it preaches.
Ford: “This Built America”
Ford’s one-year campaign, partnering with AOL, takes a more emotional approach to its native advertising. The brand periodically releases “episodes” which show Ford vehicles being used to build America today. The campaign is intended to pull in the emotional appeal in supporting the hopes and dreams of people who are still working to build America.
Newcastle: “We’ve Disguised This Newscastle Ad as an Article to Get You To Click It”
The title of the campaign says it all. Newcastle used a tongue-in-cheek approach to native advertising, showing that they know their target audience, and what resonates best with them. The campaign features a fake focus group reviewing a Newcastle ad that was created for the Big Game, or as they dubbed it, the “S**** B***.”
Starbucks: “Scientists Posit Theoretical ‘Productive Weekend’”
Starbucks partnership with The Onion (a funny, fake news website) is a prime example of a unique voice in conjunction with beautiful creative can create a wildly successful native advertising campaign. A light brand mention at the end of the advertisement shows a tasteful branding hand by Starbucks.
The diversity in the featured native advertising campaigns shows the variety of potential for any brand. Depending on a brand’s target audience, a different messaging approach needs to be employed. BMW focused on brand alignment with art and design, Chipotle appealed to people’s curiosity, Ford pulled on America’s heart strings, Newcastle made people laugh, and Starbucks showed how editorial content can be poignant and tasteful.