Native Video Advertising Examples That Are Worth Watching

$4 Billion is spent on mobile video ads in the United States alone – including native video advertising. This number is expected to grow by double-digits over the next five years. Why? Because mobile video is growing astronomically. Mobile videos are more than half of all mobile data traffic. By 2020, a full 75 percent of mobile data will be used on watching videos.

And if people are watching videos, they are watching the video advertisements as well.

What is Native Video Advertising?

This means all forms of video advertising are growing, but that growth is not evenly distributed. The fastest growing of the bunch is native video. Facebook users are watching more than 8 billion native videos every day.

Facebook isn’t the only company accepting and encouraging native advertising. Many publishers are revamping their websites and feeds to accommodate larger, auto-play thumbnails.

The market for native videos is huge, but, unfortunately, this is the least understood form of video advertising being used today. The good news is that understanding native video is simply a matter of understanding content, placement and headlines.

Native Advertising Video Placement

The most technical definition available for native video is by the IAB, which defines the concept as a “promoted video within one of the six IAB native core ads.”

Fair enough, but what does that actually look like?

A native video is an in-feed video that includes a description, is not interrupting content display, and generally is autoplay enabled. Native videos are found on social sites like Facebook as well as video sites like Youtube. The videos are typically longer than thirty seconds, and can amuse and educate viewers at the same time.

Think about Facebook. You are scrolling through, checking out your friends’ updates. Among the videos and pictures posted by people you know, you see clever videos that play silently as you scroll past. The videos have descriptions, and you can quickly glance at the captions to see what exactly has caught your eye.

You don’t click on anything. You don’t even have to listen to anything. The native video does all of the work without getting in the way of what you were trying to do in the first place. It only enriches your experience…while also delivering a brand message.

Native Video Headlines

To make a video truly native, it must be designed to be read, not watched. Sure, you’re seeing the video play, and if you click on the video you can enlarge it and enjoy the sound. But the trick is that many viewers don’t need or want the sound.

They get all of the information they need from the caption or headline that accompanies the video. This is the most critical element of a native video.

This means the headline you use with your native video should be even more powerful than the video itself. The full brand message should be delivered in a short sentence or phrase along with a call to action. Pair that with an amusing or fascinating video and you’re speaking to viewers in a language they enjoy.

Video Advertising Examples

When done well, a native video advertisement is an excellent narrative driven by powerful storytelling. The videos aren’t just watched, they are shared, liked, and tweeted – and have the potential to go viral. Consider these native video advertisement examples:

Red Bull’s Chain Reaction

Red Bull is one of the true pioneers of the native advertising genre. If you are looking for a poster child of effective branding in native video examples, this is it. Red Bull has created a lifestyle to sell their energy drinks, going so far as to help send a man into the stratosphere. But spacesuits aside, Red Bull has continued their impress ad campaign by showing us how it should be done with native video advertising as well.

One of the most impressive is their Chain Reaction Video.

Titled “8 Disciplines of Flight Converge over Moab: Chain Reaction”, the Red Bull Air Force (of course they have an air force!) demonstrates some of the most extreme air stunts possible in a single six-minute video. The original native ad would have just featured a minute or so of the action and encourage the viewer to click on the video for the expanded version.

The action is spell-binding, with base jumping, stunt planes, helicopter maneuvers and more. But the branding is evident throughout. The plane and parachutes are covered in Red Bull logos. The caption underneath explains about the Red Bull Air Force. You can enjoy the full video without sound and not lose any meaning.

Washington Post’s Frolicking Red Pandas

The 2015 Polar Vortex was brutal. But not for the adorable red pandas at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens! The video was shown as a Facebook native ad. It doesn’t have any words, so no sound is necessary.

The description on Facebook linked to the Washington Post’s article about the weather and pandas as well as a longer version of the video. Native advertising can be purely entertaining with all branding done in the caption.

This is a great example of how an entertaining diversion can be profitable for a company. Especially a company that doesn’t actually do anything with animals except write lengthy articles about them. Who doesn’t like frolicking red pandas?

BuzzFeed’s Memories from the 90’s Elementary School

BuzzFeed is another mastermind when it comes to native advertising and native video examples. The social news and media company is responsible for videos all over Facebook and Youtube.

With more than a billion views every month, BuzzFeed definitely knows how to do video making right. What is even more impressive is that only 5 percent of the views on their impressive array of videos is on their own website. The rest are the result of their native advertising.

The company is able to take seemingly mundane items like lunch trays and scented markers and tap deep into the nostalgia of the Millennials who are just starting their adult lives. This Facebook ad is simply a series of pictures with clever captions for a minute.

This native advertising video generated over 20 million views and 256,000 likes in a week. This is how BuzzFeed sells a brand in what appears to be an almost effortless way.

Considering Your Own Native Video Ads

As you can see just from the handful of examples above, creating video native ads can be many things. A series of choppy pictures with captions. A full-fledged air force production. Cute animals. The trick is to deliver content your customers want to see. And if that content also helps with branding and advertising on your behalf, so be it.

As you start making your own native advertising videos, remain focused on the customer.

They don’t care about your message, they care about the story, emotions, and amusing elements. Couple that with the 8 seconds of attention you’re likely to receive and the pressure is on. Make something immediately interesting, then couple it with oversized text. Your caption and call-to-action should be large enough to be read on a mobile device. That’s where people watch videos.

Companies with a crack advertising and marketing team may already be in the native video industry and finding success. But the field is growing and there is room (and significant views and profits) for your company as well. If you’re not ready to go it alone on making your own native advertising videos, there are companies like NativeAds to help.

Any questions or any suggestions for great native videos? Hit us up in the comments!


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  1. How do companies like Buzzfeed monetize when 95% of users (that watch the video) don’t visit the website? Thanks.

  2. Very cute! As a sttrloeyler, I would put bigger obstacles and a stronger wish in the beginning – and how does Jim just magically turn up? But I like the fairytale tone and the cute simple graphics.

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