12 Examples of Native Ads (And Why They Work)

Guinness Guide to Cheese advertorial

Despite all the hype, native advertising remains a fuzzy concept for most marketers.

According to our 2014 status report:

  • 49 percent of respondents don’t know what native advertising is
  • 24 percent are hardly familiar with it
  • Another 24 percent are somewhat familiar
  • Only 3 percent are very knowledgeable

So, given the lack of awareness (and people mistaking it for other things, like sponsorship), we thought it would be a good idea to walk you through about a dozen examples of native advertising — and why they work.

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Copyblogger’s 2014 State of Native Advertising Report

blog post title image for Copyblogger's 2014 State of Native Advertising Report

Native advertising is paid content that matches a publication’s editorial standards while meeting the audience’s expectations.

Think Captain Morgan’s campaign on BuzzFeed in general, their 15 Things You Didn’t Know About 15 Captains, Commanders And Conquerors article in particular.

First off, the theme of the article matches the brand’s values: Captain Morgan was a real live pirate who thrived on adventure and raw conquest — a theme not too foreign to BuzzFeed readers.

Moreover, the article matches the editorial standards of BuzzFeed: a list with big images and short, quirky copy — a format their audience expects.

Three important points need to be noted here:

  • The content is clearly labeled “BuzzFeed Partner.”
  • Nothing is being sold. The call to action is to visit the Captain Morgan YouTube page.
  • The Captain Morgan BuzzFeed author page is branded.

This is classic sponsored or branded content. Now let’s look at another example of native advertising, this time a historical one.

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3 Ways to Write a Damn Good Syllable

Copyblogger chief copywriter Demian Farnworth sits at his desk straining to write a good syllable

The list of things you need to do to become a great writer is a long one.

So long in fact, most people never make it to the end of that list.

This is why most people suck at writing.

They simply give up.

Sure, the new ones are always thrilled — corybantic some may say — as they sharpen their pencils in eager expectation of jumping into those adorable writing exercises such as “Write like you talk” or “Write yourself silly!”

Then there are the entry-level axioms that culminate in “Give yourself permission to write,” a commandment that Trendall Jynweythk, professor of liberation theology at Arizona University, claims originated in a conversation between Jesus and John when the apostle was battling writer’s block after some really bad dreams.

It is all quite overwhelming advice to you, virgin writer, what with your bubbling, flooding, and exploding energy.

You just need to sit down and write!

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5 Ways to Rankle an Old-School Journalist

image of young journalist diligently writing while older journalist stands beside her looking dumbfounded

This is the first post in a series on native advertising. An introduction, if you will.

One that states from the start that there is controversy.

Why approach a series this way?

Simple: Native advertising is probably one of the least-known scalding-hot topics in the business world.

In fact, few business people can even define native advertising. And those outside of it are clueless it even exists (we’ve got the data to prove this — will share later).

Yet media research group BIA/Kelsey predicts that by 2017, brands will spend $4.57 billion on social native ads.

$4.57 billion is a lot of money.

How could there be so much enthusiasm and animosity for an ambiguous model?

Two words …

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13 Damn Good Ideas from 13 Dead Copywriters

Image of David Ogilvy with number 13

Advertising is an ancient art.

In the Babylonian sea ports, merchants hired barkers to announce the arrival of wine, spices, and fabrics.

Citizens in Greece hung “Lost” posters in hopes of being reunited with children, jewelry, or slaves.

And elaborately painted signs (billboards) sprung up throughout Pompeii to announce plays, carnivals, and races.

Surprised?

You shouldn’t be. The history of advertising is full of the tools, tactics, and strategies you — as online marketer — still use.

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Here’s How Ann Handley (the World’s First Chief Content Officer) Writes

image of Ann Handley

Want a quick and dirty way to test whether your content is compelling?

Show it to a teenager … and then answer these questions:

  • Is the teenager still reading, watching, or listening after 30 seconds? One minute? Five minutes? Fifteen? Thirty?
  • Is the teenager happy, confused, or mad?
  • Is the teenager your child?

If your own teenager is still listening after 30 minutes — and is happy about it — you created some good content.

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