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10 Native Advertising Examples People Actually Enjoyed Reading

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10 Native Advertising Examples People Actually Enjoyed Reading


You’ve heard it a million times, native advertising is one of the most immersive advertising experiences. But what exactly is native advertising, and why is it causing such a stir for brands, agencies, and publishers?

Native ads developed as a concept over 10 years ago and have a unique ability to evolve with media as it changes. They have since overtaken display ads as the most popular form of digital advertising.

Native advertising is a chance to put editorial expertise to work for advertisers and brands. It provides a more trusted and valuable, channel to reach readers as compared to banner or traditional display advertising.

In this article, we’ll cover why they’ve continued to grow in popularity and effectiveness and how you can incorporate them into your marketing strategy next quarter.

A small icon is also an indicator, often a small “s,” that if you click on it will indicate that the content is a paid ad. Google search results often include native ads in the form of listings that appear at the top or in the sidebar. The nature of native advertising is that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb as the ad. So, the signs are often more subtle than traditional ads.

How to Spot Native Advertising in a Search Engine Results Page

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How to Spot Native Advertising on a Blog

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How to Spot Native Advertising on Social Media

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Native Advertising vs. Content Marketing

The purpose of native advertising is to blend in and not disrupt the viewer’s experience with the given content and media. Native ads engage new audiences through a third-party with an established audience. It’s a method for distributing content, rather than the content itself. This might sound similar to content marketing, but the goal differs.

Content marketing is content that lives on your platforms, such as your website or social media pages. The purpose of this content is to build a following, grow a reader base, establish yourself as an industry expert, build trust with your audience, demonstrate credibility, increase engagement, improve sales, or all of the above.

1. Altran Engineering in the Financial Times

This native advertisement combines some of the best elements of digital advertising: video, a human interest story, and classy hi-tech with an Elon Musk connection.

Produced by the Altran engineering company, and published in the Industrial Tech section of the Financial Times, the above video, “Hyperloop: designing the future of transport?” tells the story of a group of students from the Technical University in Valencia, Spain who are competing in the 2018 Hyperloop Pod Competition run by Musk’s SpaceX company.

This native video ad has a palpable human component — the students and the Altran staff who are supporting them in the tough competition. This brings in its futuristic aspect — the best and the brightest working to design the fastest transport pod that will transform the future of transportation. And it’s presented as a news story, not as a promotion or ad for Altran or the SpaceX competition (although it’s actually promoting both).

What Stood Out

This video has a high production value, making it a high-quality native video ad. The compelling narrative it provides also strongly pulls viewers in and gives them a story they want to engage with.

2. Land Rover — A Mini Suspense/Action Movie

Land Rover uses diverse outstanding content marketing campaigns to promote its vehicles. These native content strategies are in full form in Land Rover’s Dragon Challenge video, shown above. It’s eye-catching, slick, and suspenseful. It’s everything a native campaign can and should be.

This nail-biting ad shows the world’s first attempt to scale the stairs leading to the Heaven’s Gate landmark in China — by vehicle. A specially fitted Range Rover SUV successfully drove up the 999 steps to Heaven’s Gate, at a frightening angle of 45 degrees.

What Stood Out

This native campaign perfectly captures the brand essence of Land Rover — daring, excellence, adventure, and ultimately, success. Promoted via social Land Rover’s networks, it’s much more than an ad. It’s a record-breaking event and a story of its own.

3. Eni Energy on CNN

Native Advertising Example: Eni Energy on CNN

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Here’s an example of graphic, luscious storytelling, ripe with green landscapes, promoted by oil and energy conglomerate Eni. It focuses on the Green River Project in the Niger Delta, an Eni development program for farming and livestock to improve the livelihoods of local communities. The campaign is promoted with native ads on CNN.com, linking back to the Green River Project. It’s a truly impressive example of native content.

The site is designed as a story, divided into three sections: Past, Present, and Future. The content is a mix of just about everything — text, imagery, audio, video, personal stories, animations, and illustrations. The complete look and feel is reflective of an environmental agency, rather than an oil company.

What Stood Out

In this native campaign, Eni succeeds in distancing itself from the criticisms faced by energy conglomerates. They also manage to create a brand image as a 21st-century social and environmental force for good, and a beacon of corporate responsibility.

4. Mercedes in The Washington Post

Native Advertising Example: Mercedes in the Washington Post

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This native campaign by Mercedes is an example of smooth, clean content designed to pique interest and engage the user. The campaign is called “The rise of the superhuman,” and it focuses on various technologies that are turning people into “superhumans,” such as robotic exoskeleton suits, virtual reality in medical settings, and the Mercedes Benz E-class series that integrates the new Intelligent Drive system.

The native content above is highly interactive, featuring quiz questions and hot spots the user can click to get more information. But one of the best things about this campaign is how it effortlessly creates a connection between Mercedes and the “superhuman.” It’s reminiscent of one of the oldest native examples, the “Penalty of Leadership” ad by Cadillac, which enhanced the Cadillac image as a prestigious leader. That simple print ad, published in 1915, is credited with reviving the Cadillac brand and boosting flagging sales that plagued the company at the time.

What Stood Out

The major draw of this native ad is the powerful connection it creates between the car and the concept of cutting-edge excellence. It establishes Mercedes as a company that is about more than just crafting cars.

5. Viral Meme on VentureBeat

Native Advertising Example: Viral meme on venture Beat

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Nothing beats a viral meme in terms of sheer stickiness, and it’s a great way to promote brand awareness. Recently, during the famous “Laurel or Yanny?” dispute, we saw VentureBeat take advantage of the meme in native content to promote the upcoming Transform conference on artificial intelligence and analytics. How? By using an artificial intelligence (AI) device to settle the dilemma of Laurel versus Yanny, once and for all.

VentureBeat promoted an article that briefly describes how AI was used to determine whether the stated name was Laurel or Yanny. The native article discusses some of the problems that arose, and how the engineers had to adjust the algorithms to get an accurate result.

What Stood Out

Using a viral meme is a smart move because it capitalizes on a large audience that already exists. It’s attention-grabbing and exposes you to a wider pool of viewers.

6. Allbirds in The New York Times

Special articles in The New York Times focus on creating an experience, not just a story. This is a great opportunity for native advertising to come into play. This paid post, The View From Above: Why Our Future May Depend On the Fate of Birds, was placed online and sponsored by the shoe company Allbirds. This example was placed as an in-feed/in-content ad on the platform’s newsfeed.

The article is about how valuable birds are to our environment and the ways climate change is putting them at risk. Allbirds as a company has a major focus on sustainability, and, obviously, has “birds” in its name. The post’s beautiful animated graphics and soundtrack of bird sounds create an awesome experience for viewers that also promotes the company.

Native Advertising Example: Allbirds in the New York Times

What Stood Out

The format of native advertising is at its best when the media can align with the brand. Allbirds being able to create an experience about sustainability promotes not just their product but also their priorities as a company.

7. Influencer Promotion on BBC.com

BBC Future is one of the BBC’s “storytelling” channels, which connects brands to audiences via sponsored stories. An interesting example is this BBC article, which purports to show the face of the “average American politician.”

In fact, this is achieved by using technology to perform “face averaging,” creating composite images of all American politicians to derive the average face.

This technology can lead to all kinds of research and suppositions about what the average politician represents, including gender, race, republican, and democrat — all hot topics in a highly politicized time period.

The article ends with a call-to-action (CTA) to learn more about face averaging with an online tutorial on OpenCV, an open-source computer vision software. The link leads to a website owned, not by a large corporation or software giant, but by an individual entrepreneur, programmer, and blogger: Satya Mallik.

Native Advertising Example: Influencer Promotion on BBC.comNative Advertising Example: Influencer Promotion on BBC.com

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What Stood Out

In this example, we love how native advertising is accessible to small businesses and influencers, affording powerful promotion opportunities on premium websites like the BBC.

8. Colored Corn on Business Insider

Native Advertising Example: Colored Corn on Business Insider

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One of the best native tactics is creating a story. And if the story is visual and colorful, well, that’s a huge help. Take this example of native content promoted on Business Insider.

The example above looks and feels just like a regular Business Insider article. It’s about Glass Gem Corn, a multi-colored corn variety that became a public sensation in 2012. It’s the story of one man and his search for his Native American roots that led him to develop the colored corn. And in true Business Insider fashion, the story of the rainbow corn is retold in amazing, bold, eye-catching visuals.

The article contains links to buy the seeds online from Native/SEARCH, a not-for-profit conservation company that now owns the product. So what’s in effect a product sales page is presented as a remarkable, colorful news story.

What’s most interesting about this article is the disclaimer published by Business Insider: “This article was originally published in 2013 and has been updated because the story is timeless.” It just goes to show: Evergreen content promoted natively can truly be a long-term success story.

What Stood Out

Crafting a story that is fun, interesting, and promotional is a great way to format a native ad. This also has the benefit of being attached to a viral story, making it even more effective.

9. KPMG on Forbes

Native Advertising Example: KPMG on Forbes

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Forbes’ BrandVoice is a platform for native advertising and sponsored content. Many brands have their own BrandVoice channels, such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, SAP, Deloitte, and even the government of Japan.

KPMG has taken its native content on Forbes to the next level, with a campaign called “The Great Rewrite.”

Big and bold (just like native advertising should be), The Great Rewrite focuses on different industries and how they are being “rewritten” in a post-innovation age. The campaign look and feel is grand and ultra-modern, yet easy to navigate.

What Stood Out

This native ad connects KPMG with the future of innovation, while continually adding new “chapters” about various sectors. Each chapter is packed with content, including video, featured articles, and content recommendations. This is a great example of a native campaign that, just like its title, is rewriting the rules of native in an ongoing, ever-growing, content-rich user experience.

10. Orbit Gum on CollegeHumor

Native Advertising Example: Orbit Gum on College Humor

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Videos make great native ads because the entertainment value makes it easy to blend into traditional media. “Dating Footnotes” presented by Orbit was released ahead of Valentine’s Day on the popular YouTube comedy channel CollegeHumor. It’s short, funny, and capitalized on the holiday of the time.

Orbit has a history of fun, memorable commercials, so a native ad like this fits perfectly into their branding. This native ad also blended well into the humor of the channel where it’s posted and was able to promote Orbit Gum’s products without feeling like a regular commercial.

What Stood Out

Humor and creativity go a long way when it comes to advertising. This, plus the real-world application of a product, like gum on a first date, makes for a memorable and effective native ad.

Native Ads Have Great Potential

These days, many native ads that we see online are truly spectacular. Some are eye-catching, others are original, and yet others offer inspiration for new ways to promote compelling content and capture mindshare.

The nine examples give a taste as to how native advertising is constantly advancing, pushing the boundaries of content and design to create new, unexpected online brand experiences.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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Work smarter, not harder, to give customers what they want

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Work smarter, not harder, to give customers what they want


Personalizing your marketing campaigns for one customer is easy, but how about one hundred or thousands of customers across multiple marketing channels?

Work smarter, not harder, by using artificial intelligence (AI) as part of your martech stack and giving your customers the unique experiences they crave.

Register today for “Use Data to Create Next-Level Customer Experiences at Scale,” presented by MoEngage.


About The Author

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries.



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How Video Can Humanize Your Brand in 2022 & Other Insights from Wistia’s CEO

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How Video Can Humanize Your Brand in 2022 & Other Insights from Wistia's CEO


One of the main things we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic in regards to how people consume content is that they want to be entertained in different ways.

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Using Google Analytics 4 integrations for insights and media activations

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Using Google Analytics 4 integrations for insights and media activations


No matter which stage of Google Analytics 4 implementation you’re currently involved in, the opportunities to integrate with other products shouldn’t be overlooked. The best part is that the basic versions are free for everyone, so there are quick wins to be had if you aren’t using these yet.

Other features and reporting experiences aside, an edge that Google Analytics has over other analytics platforms is that it fits well with the Google Marketing Platform (GMP). If you’re using Google Ads, Search Ads 360, DV360, or other media tools in the suite, GA can be a hub, as well as a source in the media activation process.

GA integrations as a hub

The paid media platforms in GMP have advanced, automated reporting. These platforms are powerful tools to analyze the beginning of the user journey by drawing people to the site and to the end of the experience by converting. 

What about the middle? A solid Google Analytics implementation offers multi-step conversions, custom user behavior data and rich segment data to build and share audiences.

GA integrations as sources for insights

Google Analytics 4 isn’t just about analyzing data, it’s about acting on it. For example, the Audience feature leverages your analytics implementation — you can use the data to segment users and create audiences for remarketing, targeting, A/B testing, and personalization. 

Through settings in GA, you can also link other products and share audience and conversion data.

Below are the integrations currently available for Google Analytics 4 as of June 2022. Notice that it’s already quite a lengthy list.

  • Google Ads.
  • BigQuery (extra costs are incurred in Google Cloud).
  • Display & Video 360 (DV360).
  • Google Ad Manager  (GAM).
  • Google Merchant Center.
  • Google Optimize. 
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) (this one requires the Salesforce Journey Builder). 
  • Search Console.
  • Play integration.
  • Search Ads 360 (SA360).

The first step to building out your analytics insights is taking inventory of your GMP stack. Which products are you using right now? The products will depend on what type of site or app you have and the products in which you are investing. However, three of those integrations can apply to all properties — BigQuery, Search Console and Optimize. It doesn’t matter if you’re an advertiser, publisher, retail or service site — each of these integrations is a possibility to use today for free in Google Analytics 4. 

Let’s take a closer look at these three fundamental integrations.

BigQuery

What is BigQuery? A Google Cloud data warehouse that’s not exclusively for Google Analytics or GMP.

Who is it for? Teams and leaders that will benefit from this connection are involved in areas like BI, data science, and data administration.

With BigQuery, you’ll have all of your data exported to a data warehouse that you own and control. Once the data is in Google Cloud, there’s freedom to send to another database, blend with data outside of Google Analytics, and perform advanced reporting in other tools. The GA BigQuery data has other benefits, including integration with CRM data.

How to integrate. The integration is self-serve within the interface, but there needs to be a BigQuery project available to link the Google Analytics tool. If you do not have a project yet, go to the Google APIs Resources page to create a new one. On the page, it looks technical and there’s code references, but that part isn’t necessary and you can skip it. The instructions for doing it through the interface are in modules in the “Console” tab. Below are the simplified steps:

  1. Select the option to create a project on the upper left of the page.
  1. Name your project, select the “Create” button, and there’s now a new project in Google Cloud. 
  2. The last step is turning on a setting to use BigQuery. There are a lot of technical options in the menu, but the only area you need to go to for this is “Library” under “APIs & Services,” where you can search for BigQuery and enable it.

After the project is created, it’s ready to be integrated with Google Analytics 4. Back in the GA interface, the option to link it is under property settings. 

Now your raw GA4 data will start collecting into the project to be available for immediate use. Out of the integrations listed here, this one has the most steps. However, the other products are just a few clicks. (Note: BigQuery comes at an extra cost. However, for most accounts it will not be significant — it is sometimes just a few dollars.) 


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Search Console

What is Search Console? It’s a platform for monitoring in-depth metrics and reports related to organic Google search performance and site speed.

Who is it for? Most teams will benefit in some way from analyzing search data. This includes content creators, SEO teams, and web developers.

How to integrate. A Search Console property must be created, and it must be verified. Sometimes this is as simple as selecting a few buttons in the interface.

Once there is a Search Console property, or once there is access to an existing property, the link is in the same menu as the BigQuery link under Property Settings.

After, organic metrics and reports that are not out-of-the-box will be available in Google Analytics 4. Once the product linking is complete and working, there’s a last step to enable GA users to benefit from the enhanced data. It may be noticeable (and possibly confusing) that the Search Console data isn’t within the default interface navigation. To see the reports, the reporting collections in the menu should be edited.

To modify the navigation, select “Library” at the bottom of the screen:

Next, begin the process to create a collection, under Collections. The template for Search Console will be located as the bottom right option. The option to start from scratch without a template is also available.

After saving, go back to the library area and publish your collection. The report should now be accessible from the left navigation:

Optimize

What is Optimize? Optimize is an A/B testing and personalization tool.

Who is it for? It’s for marketers, conversion rate optimization (CRO) teams, content creators, or UX leads.

How to integrate. This one isn’t as apparent as the other links. Right now, the integration option does not show up in the Google Analytics property settings. That doesn’t mean that it’s not available, it means that the linking hasn’t been done yet. 

So, instead of starting in Google Analytics, the process begins in the Optimize interface. Under Settings, navigate to the Measurement section and edit. A dropdown will be available with a list of all the properties that you have access to. Unlike the previous version of Google Analytics, the integration links to a GA data stream instead of the GA property.

Once it’s linked, the icon will show up in Google Analytics:

When the link is active, Google Analytics 4 data can be used for audience targeting, conversion optimization, and objectives.

Note: If you are already linked to a legacy Google Analytics property, check with your team to make sure that it is ok to switch it to the Google Analytics 4 data.

Read next: Is Google Analytics going away? What marketers need to know

With the integration of BigQuery, Search Console, and Optimize, anyone can advance their analytics capabilities for current or future initiatives.

Below are brief explanations of the media platforms that Google Analytics 4 can integrate with. Most of these depend on what products are in use, what vertical an organization falls under, or other specific contexts and devices. 

Google Ads

What is Google Ads? It’s the most popular and well-known search advertising tool, formerly known as AdWords.

Who is it for? It’s for marketers, advertisers and paid media specialists.

What it does. Google Ads was one of the first products to have GA4 linking capabilities. It’s built to provide value both ways – by getting Ads metrics and reporting from Google Ads to GA and by sending audiences and getting conversions from GA to Google Ads.

Google Analytics 4 to Google Ads linking information and instructions here.

Display & Video 360

What is DV360? It’s a programmatic advertising platform. Also referred to as a DSP, DV360 is used to bid on display ad placements on publisher/content sites.

Who is it for? It’s for marketers, advertisers and paid media specialists within enterprise organizations.

Google Analytics 4 to DV360 linking information and instructions here.

Search Ads 360

What is SA360? This is like Google Ads, but super-charged. It’s a management and bidding tool to run ads across multiple channels and search engines.

Who is it for? It’s for marketers, advertisers and paid media specialists within enterprise organizations.

Google Analytics 4 to SA360 linking information and instructions here.

Google Ads Manager 

What is GAM? It’s an enterprise platform for publishers to manage and serve ads on their site or app.

Who is it for? Marketers, advertisers and paid media specialists within enterprise organizations.

Google Analytics 4 to GAM linking information and instructions here.

Google Merchant Center

What is Google Merchant Center? A separate platform from Google Ads to promote products, mainly on Google Shopping.

Who is it for? It’s for marketers and advertisers within an e-commerce organization.

Google Analytics 4 to Google Merchant Center linking information and instructions here.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

SFMC is for cross-channel digital marketers. This integration is meant for use in the SFMC Journey Builder and can bring in Google Analytics data.

Google Analytics 4 to SFMC information and instructions here (through Salesforce).

Google Play

Google Play is Google’s app store and it’s for digital marketers who analyze in-app purchases and subscriptions.

Google Analytics 4 to Google Play linking information and instructions here.

If your organization is using any of those media tools, it’s a great time to start the strategy and process of leveraging Google Analytics 4 data to enhance analysis across multiple products and teams. There’s no reason not to start since they are available to all GA4 properties.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Samantha has been working with web analytics and implementation for over 10 years. She is a data advocate and consultant for companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 corporations. As a trainer, she has led courses for over 1000 attendees over the past 6 years across the United States. Whether it’s tag management, analytics strategy, data visualization, or coding, she loves the excitement of developing bespoke solutions across a vast variety of verticals.



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