By Shanon Roberts, on 7 April 2023
Native advertising is all around though you may not even realize it! This style of digital advertising is a completely unique format because it combines advertising with content.
There are many different types of native ads that exist so, in this article, we’re going to review 8 native advertising examples. We hope this helps you get your creative juices flowing for your next native advertising campaign!
What Is Native Advertising?
Native advertising is a non-intrusive ad format that is based on integrating an advertisement into the natural editorial style of a website or news platform. Native ads seamlessly blend into the site or the platform they appear on and resemble organic content (however, they should always have an indicator that they are an ad).
If you are interested in creating native ads for your brand, there are many tools and platforms that can help you activate your campaigns.
One of the most common types of native advertising are the sponsored articles on different news sites. However, native advertisements can take several different forms. In fact, you're regularly exposed to native advertising on social media though you may not even realize it!
Let's look at three major forms of native advertising:
- In feed/in content ads: These are ads that are integrated into content pieces, social media feeds, and ecommerce businesses. They seek to blend in with native content and create a non-disruptive user experience.
- Content recommendation ads: Ads that are displayed alongside editorial content or other ads in a recommended format. These are typically found at the end of an article or on the side and feature different suggested ads or content for users.
- Branded/native content ads: These are native ads that don’t fit into a typical mold. These ads function as unique content on a publisher’s website or platform.
8 Native Advertising Examples
1. Spotify & Stranger Things
Netflix and Spotify are two brands that are well known for utilizing user data to create unique, relevant experiences. Therefore, the platforms partnered up to create a truly original native advertising campaign that garnered a lot of attention.
After the premiere of Netflix’s Stranger Things series, Spotify users logged on to their accounts to find that they could enter into “Stranger Things” mode on the platform, and based on their listening habits they were assigned a Spotify playlist based on a character from the show.
This content was identified as sponsored and had a design that was adapted to Spotify’s platform and aesthetic. This is a great example of elite-level native advertising!
2. The New York Times & Allbirds
A typical native advertising format you often see is sponsored posts on news websites. A great example is this New York Times article, sponsored by the shoe company, Allbirds.
This ad is an in feed/in content ad that was promoted on the platform’s regular newsfeed with a sponsored tag. When users clicked on the article, they were taken to a unique page on the NYT’s website with beautiful graphics and supporting sound effects.
The article focuses on the value birds have in our environment and how they are at risk due to climate change. This aligned perfectly with the shoe company, as it is dedicated to sustainability and has “bird” in its name. This is a strong example of how native content needs to align with your brand but not necessarily be about your brand.
3. The Message Podcast & GE
Native content doesn’t just have to be articles and social media posts. For instance, General Electric partnered with Panoply to produce a science fiction podcast called The Message.
This podcast was the first of its kind to reach the No. 1 spot on Apple’s iTunes player and had over 4 million downloads at the time.
This podcast is a perfect example of native advertising because the podcast itself was well developed, thoroughly entertaining, and featured GE technology naturally in the storyline. However, it never explicitly named GE in the content itself, only in the introduction, credit, and cover art. The podcast was so successful that they later went on to create a second one, Life After, and they won a 2016 Webby award for the Best Use of Native Advertising.
4. Social Media Ads
The quickest way to find an example of native advertising is to open up any of your social media apps and look at the in-feed ads that appear. This is by far one of the most common forms of native advertising out there.
These in-feed ads are disclosed as being paid, perfectly match organic content, and are placed within a user’s content feed.
5. Instagram Filter and Nickelodeon
However, not all native ads on social media have to be in-feed advertisements. Nickelodeon showed this with their fun “Which SpongeBob Character Are You?” Instagram filter.
This version of native advertising is entertaining, interactive, and a great way to connect with Instagram users. It's indicated as being sponsored by Nickelodeon on the app, it's placed where all of the other filters are, and works just the same as any other organic filter.
6. Taco Bell & Snapchat
Similar to Nickelodeon's Instagram filter, Taco Bell decided to partner with Snapchat to create a lens in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. The sponsored filter made users' faces look like giant taco shells and although the idea was relatively simple, people loved it!
The filter was a great success and got over 224 million views in one day. Of course, not only did it entertain people but it also promoted Taco Bell across the social network.
7. Patrón Tequila & Twitter
Tequila maker Patrón took to Twitter on International Margarita Day (February 22) to promote their brand on social media. They presented several margarita recipes and asked people to vote on which one they thought was best.
By engaging with Twitter users and prompting people to get involved, Patrón was able to promote its brand without traditional advertising. Instead, they got people to share, like, and comment about their brand in a way that felt more natural and spontaneous.
8. Mercedes & The Washington Post
For this native advertising campaign, Mercedes created content that talked about how technology is turning people into "superhumans" with things like the use of virtual reality in medicine, robotic exoskeletons, and more. The content was interactive and included quizzes and graphics that people could click on to get more information. While Mercedes was mentioned here and there, the majority of the content was informative rather than promotional and talked about numerous technological developments and not just the brand behind it.