Native Advertising is a type of paid advertising where the ad experience of the users follow the natural form and function of the platform on which it is present.
The ad-blockers make sure we do not see the ads clogging on all sides of the content we are interested in reading. No matter how short is the preroll ad on YouTube, we are used to waiting for the ‘skip ad’ to appear and once it does, we pounce on it. This means millions of ad spends going in vain.
The brands have to find a way to subtly get our attention in the modern day as the same technology which helps them reach the masses helps the masses to avoid them.
Content is King
So the only way for a brand to find its target audience is to weave their product / service into the context in content. It will become more clear when we see the examples.
Examples of Native Advertising
1) Celebrity Interviews
Just before the release of their blockbuster, the celebrities will be a part of reality shows or interviews which are perfectly timed to air just before the release date. This is pretty easy to pick up in 2017 but when this form of native advertising started before a few years, it was a surprise to the audience to see big screen stars coming in the small screen as surprise guests. First of its kind came up when TVF interviewed SRK just 10 days before the release of the mega budget movie ” Happy New Year “
This started a wave of native advertising through interviews or celebrity participation in reality shows. E.g : Comedy Nights with Kapil, Koffee with Karan and many programs followed suit. The YouTube channels time their interviews with celebrities just before the release to create the buzz.
2. Emotional Videos
All of us know videos are a powerful way to communicate a message to the audience. Especially when it’s a video which is filled with emotions, brands can play a part in the story. Here goes “Back to School” campaign by Pepsi
This video was launched just before Friendship Day and it went viral. You can see interesting product placements of Pepsi as a part of the story ( Tropicana, Cheetos, Lays and Pepsi). Pepsi also came up with a video titled ” Ghar wali Diwali ” just before Diwali 2014
3. Sponsored Posts and Articles
When we scroll through our Facebook feed, we often see ads in the form of sponsored posts from brands inside our timeline. It does not popup, it does not redirect you until you click it but it is just there getting your attention as you scroll past the same.
The video campaigns from the brands are not complete without a sponsored article. For the Back to School campaign, Pepsi teamed up with Scoopwhoop and the article came in our newsfeed as seen below.
Note : No mention of the brand’s name or presence of a product in the thumbnail. If it is shown, a considerable number of audience will consider that as an advertisement and not watch it. The ad copy is written in such a way that it builds up subtly that it’s an highly emotional ride which makes us to click and watch the video.
Another way to do native advertising is to insert your product inside Listicles ( List based articles). The whole purpose of writing the article is to place the product in the list without raising any suspicions.
Let us look at a few examples.
7 Products Every Married Couple Must Have In Their Homes – here ( Sponsored post for Bosch Washing Machines)
6 Tips By Professional Travel Photographers Which Will Make Your Instagram Super Lit! – here ( Sponsored Post for Canon EOS 1300D)
9 Productivity Hacks Smart People Use That You Should Steal Right Now – here (Sponsored Post for Asus Zenfone Max)
Some of the sponsored articles leave a sour taste for the user as the advertisement in the middle of a listicle is usually an unpleasant surprise.
4. Movie Partnerships
Aston Martin has a strong working partnership with James Bond movies for the past 50 years. A new sports car Aston Martin DB10 was launched at the same stage when the title of the movie ‘ Spectre’ was announced. You can watch a short video here.
Ever since Sony purchased the usage of the complete Spiderman character set from Marvel, it has intelligent product placements in all 5 of its movies – 3 starring Tobey Maguire and 2 starring Andrew Garfield.
Omega watches have been in partnership with the Bond franchise for decades now. Though the screen time is very negligible, it makes quite an impression and it even has a dedicated page on its website explaining the role of their watches in each movie.
Omega watches in Bond MoviesAny Hollywood movie with a car chase sequence has an opportunity to flaunt luxury cars and sports cars and leading automobile manufacturers are happy to partner with them and it adds to the coolness quotient of the movies.
Statistics say $ 1.8 b in total global spends on product placements in movies in 2013 and it has been rising every year. Heineken reportedly paid 45 million dollars for James Bond to drink their beer instead of the character’s favorite martini in the movie ‘Skyfall’ making it the costliest beer order ever.
Lego one-upped everyone when it came up with ” The Lego Movie ” in 2014. It is native advertising for the miniature blocks on an epic scale. A 100-minute movie comprising of characters made of Lego blocks was a new high for advertising.
5. Web Series
As we have better internet speeds and cheaper data plans than before, we love streaming videos and hence we have got used to interesting web series on Youtube, Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Most of the consumer brands are used by the lead characters in the series as a part of their sketch or story. Even if it’s a part of a joke, brands do not mind as this is seen as a progressive approach among the millennials. This works like a charm and new age startups also invest in native advertising inside great content.
For e.g, An app called ‘Little’ sponsored a whole series, named it ‘Little Things’ and in each episode, a use case of the mobile app comes to the rescue of one of the lead characters and it is done in such a way that it does not feel like a forced plug.
In reality shows like Big Boss, brands partner with the channel to place their products throughout the house and major sponsors go a level up in having contests that make the Big Boss contestants use the products of the brand to come up with something creative or unique. This is watched by millions across the globe in prime time and the reach of the brand is magnanimous but at the same time, the risk factor of creating a negative impact is higher too.
When brands sponsor gala events or awards ceremonies, they have huge product placement opportunities. For a smartphone manufacturer, it is very easy to pass around or gift their flagship phones to the celebrities or the hosts and request them to use it to take selfies or do a vlog.
One such picture that broke the internet (below) was a smart native advertising hack used by Samsung in Oscars 2014. Although Ellen never revealed the brand name in the tweet, it was still recognized as the phone behind the epic selfie. This contributed to over 40000 mentions about Samsung on social media during the show and many professionals lauded Samsung for this smart move.
Advantages of Native Advertising
1. It is less intrusive for the consumer and it is hard to escape or cancel as the product is placed intelligently in the storyline or any form of content in which it is present.
2. It is highly shareable as the content has a emotional value and it appeals to the consumers and they do not mind sharing the same in their circles.
3. Native Advertising scores high on adaptability as it can seamlessly interact with the user through any device or browser or technology without being blocked out.
4. With native advertising, the limitations in terms of text or use cases in traditional advertising can be overcome by the brands. Specific use cases of a product can be projected and there is a larger space to play around.
Disadvantages of Native Advertising
1. The product placement has to be highly subtle to create a positive emotion for the brand. The content has to be highly creative to achieve that. If it is very obvious, the image of the brand will take a backlash from the audience.
2. It is hard to measure the success of a native advertising campaign as there are no performance benchmarks or guidelines to refer to.
3. The publisher of the platform and the advertiser have to work hand in hand to ensure they have the right place which is the right fit for the audience. This requires higher levels of understanding about the audience on the platform and coordination between the two.
4. It carries the highest risk in terms of garnering negative feedback from the audience. There are always chances of overdoing the placements and it can result in negativity. The consumers are becoming more and more skeptical and less gullible than before.
To summarize, Native advertising is one of the smartest ways of advertising and is getting more innovative day by day. Though it does not get translated into sales, it gains a massive reach when compared to traditional advertising methods at comparatively much lower spends.
If you enjoyed reading this article, feel free to share it in your circles. Would be happy to hear your thoughts on Native advertising in the comments below or just say hello. That works too.
If you are interested in reading about the stunning sales hacks used by supermarkets, you can read it here.