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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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Native video tops social media in brand awareness study

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Native video tops social media in brand awareness study


Native video ads have a greater impact than video ads on social and video platforms, a new study from Kantar reported. The Multichannel Brand Impact study measured video ad effectiveness for brand goals in native environments against other environments.

Favorability. Participants in the study gave a favorable rating 59% of the time when exposed to a native video ad. That number dropped to 50% on social platforms and 51% in a video platform environment.

Source: Kantar Context Lab/Taboola.

Awareness. 33% of participants displayed top-of-mind awareness about a brand when shown a native video ad. This displayed a marked improvement over the control group, which only had 14% top-of-mind awareness.

When native video was combined with social video ads, the awareness climbed to 49%.

Impact of native ads. Taboola, which sells content discovery and native advertising products, sponsored the study.

“With industry estimates indicating that video advertising in the U.S. will reach nearly $50B this year, brands have a lot of opportunities to influence customers, as long as they’re choosing the right platforms and mix of platforms to relay their messages,” said Taboola CEO and founder Adam Singolda, in a company release.

Read next: Taboola acquires Connexity

Why we care. Social media is where consumers receive word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends. Still a potent source of brand impact for marketers. But social is also a highly contentious space for politics and other turnoffs. It’s not the ace in the hole it once was, and should be complemented with other native environments in a digital video campaign.


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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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Worsening economy has more shoppers getting online info before making in-store purchases

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Worsening economy has more shoppers getting online info before making in-store purchases


Summer’s here and the shoppers are wary. Consumer spending increased in May, but only by 0.2%, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This explains why 76% of U.S. shoppers are searching online for reviews and better prices before buying in store, according to a new Adobe Commerce study of sentiment among over 1,000 U.S. consumers. Also, when they’re in a store 60% are using their phone to look for better prices elsewhere.

Another sign of the slowing economy: 24% say they won’t be able to take advantage of big summer holiday sales because they have less discretionary money to spend due to inflation and the higher cost of goods. 

Read next: Adobe: Online prices were up only 2% in May

On the good news side: 76% of those planning to participate in summer sales say they’ll spend more or the same amount as last year. And the motivation varies — more than half (56%) of consumers say they save money by shopping on Prime Day and other sales events, while others want to get ahead of their seasonal holiday (32%) and back-to-school shopping (23%).

However, most of those who intend to buy don’t believe big retailers’ promises of deeper discounts because of overstocking. Almost 65% expect discounts to be smaller than last year. 

Other findings:

  • 61% said receiving personalized promotions or recommendations will make them more likely to make a purchase.
  • 43% said they are more likely to purchase from a retailer that offers buy now, pay later.
  • 72% want the online purchases delivered the same day or via two-day shipping.
  • 50% are now more likely to make retail purchases on their phones, 26% prefer in-store shopping and 24% prefer shopping via their computer
  • 57% search for and buy products online if they can’t find them in stores.
Categories for which consumers report using buy now, purchase later.

Why we care. Inflation and higher interest rates are, as expected, taking an increased toll on consumer spending. That makes marketing more important than ever, via activities like personalization and customer experience. That should also include offering payment options like buy now, pay later. People are used to putting everything on a credit card, but interest rates are making that less attractive to them.


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About The Author

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.



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Getting Started with the Agile Marketing Navigator: Building a Marketing Backlog

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Freeing agile marketing from its software development roots


We recently introduced you to Agile Marketing Navigator, a flexible framework for navigating agile marketing for marketers, by marketers in the article A new way to navigate agile marketing. The navigator has four major components: Collaborative Planning Workshop, Launch Cycle, Key Practices and Roles. Within these categories, there are several sub-pieces for implementation. In recent articles, we covered the pieces in the first stop of the navigator, the Collaborative Planning Workshop.

Now we’re going to dive into the next stop on your agile marketing journey — the Launch Cycle. The Launch Cycle is a repeatable cadence for delivering valuable marketing experiences early and often. Within the Launch Cycle there are five key components — Marketing Backlog, Cycle Planning, Daily Huddle, Team Showcase and Team Improvement. If you’re familiar with the Scrum framework, there are a lot of similarities here — with a few different nuances to make it more applicable to marketers.

Building and managing an effective Marketing Backlog

Now, let’s dive into the Marketing Backlog and some tips and tricks for marketers to be most effective. 

The Marketing Backlog is an ordered list of prioritized work that the agile team will pull from to work on in their Launch Cycle. The backlog is emergent, not static, and changes as new information is learned. 

This part of the framework is incredibly important and can have a major impact on how marketers work. First of all, there’s one shared place where all work lives. This avoids work happening “behind the scenes” that no one knows about.

In fact, one client that I worked with took all of the work that was already assigned to stakeholders, put it in a single backlog and realized that it would take five years to deliver! It’s with this level of transparency that teams and leaders can begin to visualize everything the team is doing and start to really understand what’s important and what may just be someone’s pet project.

There are many tools for managing your marketing backlog and they all have their pros and cons. The main thing to watch out for is ensuring that everyone on the team, as well as stakeholders have access. We want to build a transparent system.

If you’ve started with the Collaborative Planning Workshop, you’ve already begun to build out the Marketing Backlog. The items in your Minimally Viable Launch will go near the top, and other items will fall below. Work is never guaranteed until the team starts working on it, and even then sound business reasons could cause them to pivot, although that shouldn’t be the norm.

Prioritizing the backlog is one of the key responsibilities of the Marketing Owner. While they don’t do this in a vacuum and conversations with stakeholders are imperative, this role has the ultimate authority to decide what order the team will work on and which items won’t be considered (there are always way more good ideas than time).

The role of the Marketing Owner

The Marketing Owner needs to really understand the business value that each idea brings. Each marketing backlog should be thought of in terms of:

  • Level of effort it will take the team to complete (let’s face it — all things aren’t created equal. Building a Tesla may take longer than a base model Honda, so think through marketing ideas as well).
  • What value does it bring to customers? Joy? Satisfaction? Solves a problem? Addresses a cause?
  • What will the business gain from this idea, and how does it tie to business goals, KPIs and revenue?

Stakeholders, customers and team members should all be thinking about new ideas all of the time and everyone is invited to submit ideas to the backlog. However, it’s at the Marketing Owner’s discretion to decide which ideas will be worked on by the team and when.


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Work should never be directly assigned to a team member in agile marketing. It should be submitted to the backlog or discussed with the marketing owner as it needs to be visible and prioritized among everything else.

In agile marketing, backlog items should be used to test and learn and are thought of as micro-experiments, rather than large campaign blasts. 

While a backlog item may be for a post on Facebook, the team should be thinking in terms of testing elements, such as content. If the content is successful, similar content pieces would be on the backlog. However, if the content doesn’t perform well, the team would want to think of new backlog items with different content.


agile marketing workflow

Catch up on the Agile Marketing Navigator series!


The backlog may contain some business as usual items to keep the lights on, but the majority of items should be small, testable experiments that can quickly get to customers for real-time feedback.

If you haven’t started a marketing backlog yet, what are you waiting for?


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


About The Author

Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all.”



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