This year, the industry experienced a surge of native ad placements. It’s no wonder, seeing as how the customer experience has taken top precedence among brands, forcing publishers and media companies alike to take a harder look at the ad formats they invest in.
In fact, MediaRadar reported a 74 percent increase in native advertising from Q1 2016 – Q1 2017. This not only signals an important trend in media spend, but also an exciting time for meaningful content.
So, what’s all the hubbub?
Well, as the native advertising space continues to evolve, so too does the technology that supports it. While native was once the industry’s dark horse in the running, it has recently been giving display a run for its money. Banner blindness is a reality. In a crowded marketplace vying for the attention of savvy, on-the-go and distracted consumers, traditional ad formats simply won’t cut it.
History has shown that people want to be engaged. They want stories and experiences. There’s no greater evidence of this trend than our round-up of some of the best native ads of 2017.
Spotify Matches Your Music to Stranger Things Character
Nielsen reported a whopping 15.8 million Americans had watched the first episode of Stranger Things by the third day of its release. There’s no denying the series has garnered an almost cult-like fan following.
Spotify was quick to capitalize on its recent release, matching users of its platform to characters on the show, based on their listening habits. Even guests of the platform can select five jams to submit for their results.
When two powerhouse content creators combine, amiright?
Serena Williams Career Journey with Gatorade
Gatorade served up the most memorable gamification experience of the year paying homage to one of the most talented athletes of our time, Serena Williams.
Users can attempt to win the match point of every one of her 22 major victories with the simple click of their mouse — no download necessary and without a glitch.
The game resembled some of Nintendo’s earliest crowd pleasers. This one is definitely in the running for the gold in “Best use of native advertising.”
Airbnb Remembers Ellis Island
In partnership with The New York Times, Airbnb reflects on the history of travel and hospitality. The interactive experience goes back in time to reference New York’s own Ellis Island. The heart-warming and educational story details what it was like to migrate to America back in the day.
Navigate through four chapters (some with sound effects) for personal stories from Airbnb hosts, historical facts, old photos, and documents for a journey back in time.
Then, book your next great adventure.
Audi is Committed to Driving Progress
Not what you would expect from a legacy car brand on game day… this past Super Bowl, Audi used its 60-second ad spot to advocate for pay equality, a social issue far removed from our rearview mirrors.
Despite the brand’s association with older, more traditional consumers, Audi has been reporting younger demographics since back in 2014. About 50 percent of its sales are to Gen X and Gen Y consumers.
Audi is clearly looking toward the future. And these days, a little bit of activism, especially during game time, can make a big difference among its next generation of buyers.
Goldman Sachs Gets Personal with Marcus
The finance sector has experienced massive shifts in consumer behavior with the emergence of new technology like mobile apps. And like most industries, if brands don’t bend to the consumer’s needs, they will seek greener pastures.
That’s why one of the oldest institutions, Goldman Sachs, has been working to revamp its image with the introduction of its new online lending company, Marcus.
A quick visit to Marcus.com combines the engaging elements of an infographic with interactive elements. There’s even a powerful tool in the form of a loan calculator.
While the financial services industry may never viewed as “sexy,” Goldman Sachs certainly makes up for it with utility.
Lego Mosaic Maker Gets Personal
Lego enthusiasts, much like the parts in their kits, come in various shapes and sizes — whether it is a parent buying their toddler beloved building blocks or an adult looking for the next intricate model to carefully piece together.
In an effort to represent its diverse set of superfans, the toy maker created an instant photo booth and Lego vending machine within its London location for visitors to recreate their own headshot of out bricks.
Just think of all the user-generated content!
Another year behind us, another great batch of content to reflect on. And this was just the tip of the iceberg. With so many different content formats and types of native ads to leverage, brands are beginning to really stretch their wings and experiment, and the impact is obvious — engaging and interactive experiences prove more meaningful to consumers.
I wonder how native advertising will exceed expectations next year? Looking forward to your thoughts and comments below.