Thursday, September 5th 2019

Sep 05, 2019

Let's Get Native

Jessica Darke, Producer

Brands love to plant themselves into popular places, from the sports arena, to your hairdresser, to the local bar, brands have been disguising themselves as locals for decades.

First coined in 2011, native ads exploded in popularity from 2015-2016. By 2018, native ads made up more than half of digital display spending (AdExchanger, Michell Reichgut).

Much like how podcasts are radio dressed up in a modern technological wrapper, native ads are advertorials or sponsored placements for the digital space. Consumers are “tricked” into reading the brand's content because it looks and feels like their favorite magazine or website. Native ads offer practical advice often in the form of a listicle to appease a news snacking audience that flits from headline, to Buzzfeed list, to social media heart notifications.

Estimated by 2020, native display will grow to 20% (that's more than 50 billion in ad revenue).

Some of our favorite native examples are below. These three have been selected because they clearly communicate the brand, ad value to the reader/viewer, and fit seamlessly into the platform experience.

1. VOX - Explainer Video, Spotify

VOX's explainer series are quick illustrated videos that provide a quick history and raison d'`etre for brands, social phenomenons, and popular memes.

The Spotify explainer video gives viewers a peak behind the curtain of the technology and algorithms that go into its popular Discover Weekly playlist.

2. T Brand Studio - Host One To Remember, Stella Artois

T Brand Studio created Host One to Remember, a branded placement by Stella Artois that provides expert advice on how to transform your get-together into a memorable celebration of friends, family, and fare. Stella Artois touts its own 600-year history of “hosting unforgettable occasions,” planting itself natively into the content.

The videos provide interesting tips beyond the traditional. In particular, a celebrated, eating designer (yes, an eating designer) suggested literally tying the guests together with gold ribbon, literally and metaphorically uniting them in drink.

3. Atlantic Designing by Feel, Kohler

A feature piece that elaborates on the process of design. It features designers and artists who consult for Kohler, developing household items that are touched every day. The feature puts the reader into the mindset of a product designer and therefore brings them closer to Kohler.

Designing by Feel allows the user to share inspirational quotes from the piece onto their own social feeds. Quotes like “If you start a design exercise and know exactly where you want to end up, then you're not really embarking on design. You're just embarking on implementation.”

We as an adverting agency look at native ad placement as an opportunity to create content that provides value for our brands and their target consumer. When successful and authentic, native placements pay off and pay off big. Native ad units create up to 5x more engagement than traditional banner units (MediaRadar). And when done well generate big dollars for the media outlet as well as the brand. T Brand Studio brought $18 Million in 2014 thanks to branded content and it must be working because brands are signing up with a 71% renewal rate (Ad Age).

The advertising agency plays an important role in leading the creation of the branded content ensuring it fits the brand personality and clearly communicates the brand purpose.

Arcana Academy is an advertising agency in Los Angeles, CA.

Original illustration by Arcana Academy illustrator and designer, Jay Josue.

Caveat: We may not always agree or endorse the opinions expressed on our blog. If something on our blog is polarizing, even if the management of Arcana Academy disagrees with it, we might leave it up. Then again we might not. We'll see how we feel.