Compared to most digital advertising formats, native is relatively new. Although the concept of native advertising has been around since the early 20th century, it’s only been a decade or so since it rose to prominence in the digital landscape. Right now, native is one of the best-performing advertising solutions available to businesses with the potential to help them reach a massive audience in a non-intrusive way.
Native advertising has become an integral part of the digital advertising landscape, offering a unique and effective way for brands to connect with their target audience. In this guide, we will explore the concept of native advertising and highlight the importance of native advertising examples in understanding its impact.
The versatility of this format makes it easy to implement on different channels and platforms in creative ways. Many companies have found innovative ways to integrate native ads into their platforms and create new opportunities to engage with customers and bring value to them. Let’s check out some of the most impressive native advertising examples that will help you both understand the concept and discover suitable ways for your brand to find new customers through native ads.
What’s native advertising?
Native ads could have different shapes and forms depending on how the advertising platform has implemented them, but they all share the same concept: Advertising something without looking, sounding, or feeling like an advertisement. That’s not to say that native advertising is equal to deceiving people and not telling them they’re seeing an ad. In fact, there are strict rules and policies out there that obligate platforms to indicate the nature of native advertisement units in one way or another.
The most common form is putting a “Sponsored” or “Ad” tag in the unit; Something you’ve probably seen on Google search ads and advertorials on publication websites. Other than that, native ads try their best to emulate the look, feel, and function of the organic content that’s surrounding them on the platform’s environment. They could appear like an article on a new website, an in-feed post in a social app, or a result on a search engine result page.
There’s a high chance that viewers won’t notice they’re watching ads at first, and this significantly increases impressions and engagement rates. Native ads are designed to have the smallest possible impact on a user’s experience of the platform to counter the effect of ad fatigue. Ever since the inception of digital advertising, audience behavior has gradually leaned toward ignoring ads in the online space, or even worse, actively trying to block them. Ads have been overpopulating the digital landscape in a very intrusive way, and advertisers are seizing every chance they find to steal people’s attention with very noticeable ads.
This has resulted in the very serious issue of ad fatigue and numbness, meaning people are getting sick of encountering so many disruptive and annoying ads wherever they visit. Native advertising solves this problem by having a low-profile presence and bringing value to users. Consequently, people are kinder toward them. Native ads don’t ruin their online experience and actually help them overcome an issue. Some of them are so creatively fused with a platform’s interface that their sole design and integration attract people’s attention. That’s why native is currently one of the most popular and profitable formats in the advertising industry.
Best native advertising examples
As mentioned earlier, native advertising has been around for a long time, or at the concept of it. It started with articles known as advertorials which looked just like other editorial pieces of a magazine or a newspaper, and even their content felt like they were really written by a journalist, but actually, they subtly promoted a sponsor brand by telling interesting brand stories or representing their products as great solutions for common issues.
Since then, native has come a long way, and with the emergence of the Internet, it has evolved into a versatile format that is only limited by the imagination of the people who develop online platforms. Here are some of the most impressive examples of how major advertising channels have implemented native advertising:
Google search ads
As the most visited website in the world for the past two decades, Google surely has a mind-blowing potential for connecting brands to their customers. The Internet giant knows this well and has developed many marketing features over time. One of them is paid search, which comprises a big chunk of Google’s annual revenue from advertising. It’s actually of the best examples of native advertising.
The few search results you see in the beginning and at the end of search result pages are paid promotions, but they have the exact same look as other organic results. The only thing that differentiates them is the little “ad” icon. Paid search is an effective way to reach customers right when they’re looking to buy something you have to offer.
Twitter is where people go to be the first ones to learn and discuss the world’s hottest trends and news. The text-focused social network has an exceptional algorithm to suggest relevant content to users, and hashtags are an important part of the system. Almost every hot Twitter discussion revolves around a hashtag, and the ones that generate the most heat find their way into Twitter’s “Trending” section. The company has taken advantage of this to the benefit of its business side and provided brands with the option of promoting a hashtag. Branded hashtags on Twitter have basically no difference from normal hashtags. Sometimes, per the sponsor’s request, Twitter designs unique icons called “Hashflags” that appear right next to the hashtags when someone uses them in a tweet.
Native advertising on Twitter is not just limited to hashtags either. The company has impressively expanded its native ad features and developed multiple opportunities for companies to harness the social power of the app for marketing. Sponsored hashtags could also appear right in the middle of the trending hashtags on Twitter’s “explore” section, giving them a huge bump in visibility (Obviously, these ads are very expensive). Twitter’s in-feed ads are also great examples of native ads disguised as normal posts on social networks.
TikTok is the hottest name on the Internet right now. The Chinese short-video-sharing platform is already enjoying one billion users and the with the rapid growth rate it has right now, it’s literally unstoppable. One of the main reasons people have embraced TikTok is how smooth, fun, and joyful it is to scroll through exciting, relevant content on it without interruption. TikTok has already done an excellent job designing its algorithm and UI/UX, but they’ve also brilliantly integrated its advertising features into it.
TikTok ads are among the best examples of native advertising. The ads are in the exact format of other popular organic content on the platform, and we’re not just talking about being short videos. The platform urges advertisers to “create TikToks, not ads”. This means that similar to normal content you find on the app, ads on TikTok are also often fun, engaging, informative, and helpful, AND they achieve the goal of promoting brands, products, or services. They use the same trending sounds and filters and have a high potential of going viral and getting millions of views and shares.
The oldest form of native advertising is still very much alive today, and it’s a great example of how native advertising could evolve and keep up with modern times. Every year, we witness some truly brilliant collaborations between companies and popular online publications that are truly the peak of native advertising in my humble opinion. Take this Allbirds collaboration with The New York Times.
Titled “The View From Above: Why Our Future May Depend on the Fate of Birds”, this advertorial is an astonishing experience that educates the reader about how important and valuable birds are in our environment. It’s not just an article. It’s a complete visual and auditory experience with exquisite sound effects and eye-catching animations. The reader not only emerges in a unique experience and learns about something new, but also gets familiar with the shoe company. Allbird’s ad is a fabulous example of sponsored, which we’ve gone through in our Native Advertising Vs Sponsored Content article.
Branded stickers and effects
This one is a nice example of how social media companies find novel ways to integrate native advertising into their platforms. Platforms that focus on the visual experience like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat let users customize and tweak photos and videos they share with numerous filters, stickers, and effects.
In recent years, these companies have turned this feature into a marketing opportunity with the introduction of branded stickers and effects. Businesses pay these platforms to have custom, unique stickers, effects, and filters that promote their brand. TikTok has pulled it off really well lately, with mega companies like McDonald’s and Mercedes-Benz running challenges with these branded visuals and reaching millions of viewers with user-generated content. If you want to learn about the concept of branded content, check out our Native Advertising Vs Branded Content comparison.
Benefits of Native Advertising Examples
Native advertising offers a range of benefits that make it a compelling choice for brands looking to connect with their target audience in a more meaningful way. Let’s explore the key benefits of native advertising examples:
- Improved User Experience: Native ads are seamlessly integrated into the user experience, aligning with the look and feel of the platform. This non-disruptive approach enhances the overall user experience by providing relevant and valuable content that users are more likely to engage with.
- Enhanced Brand Engagement: Native ads are designed to blend in with the surrounding content, capturing the attention of users without appearing intrusive. By delivering ads in a format that matches the platform’s native content, brands can achieve higher engagement rates, as users are more inclined to interact with content that appears native and relevant.
- Higher Credibility and Trust: Native advertising examples often provide informative and valuable content to users, positioning brands as authoritative sources within their industry. As a result, users tend to view native ads as trustworthy and credible, which can positively impact brand perception and increase the likelihood of conversions.
- Effective Targeting and Personalization: Native advertising allows for precise targeting based on user demographics, interests, and behaviors. By serving relevant content to specific audience segments, brands can deliver personalized experiences that resonate with users, increasing the chances of conversion and driving higher ROI.
By leveraging the benefits of native advertising, brands can create a more engaging and effective advertising strategy. Native ads not only improve the user experience but also enhance brand engagement, credibility, and trust. Furthermore, the ability to target and personalize native ads ensures that brands reach the right audience at the right time, maximizing the impact of their advertising efforts.
Native advertising is a top-notch example of how advertisements could promote a business without annoying people and actually bring value to them. The digital marketing landscape is constantly coming up with new, creative ways to implement native advertising and transform how businesses find and interact with their potential customer in the online world, and the ones we discussed above are terrific examples of these efforts.
Are Google ads native ads?
Well, not all Google Ads. Google paid search ads are considered native ads because they appear on search engine result pages looking just like other organic search results, with the only difference being a tiny “Ad” icon below them.
What does a native ad look like?
Native advertising could have many different shapes and forms depending on the platform they’re being served on. They could be simple ad units in social media feeds, paid search results, sponsored articles, or branded hashtags and stickers.