10 Effective Native Ad Examples to Inspire Your Marketing Efforts

July 14, 2023

Words by Jeff Cardello

In an age of ad blockers and consumer skepticism, companies have had to evolve in how they reach their customers.

Native advertising is a departure from the slick and shouty marketing of the past. It relies on authenticity and purpose, helping you gain brand awareness and disseminate useful information in a way that is more easily accessible, understandable and digestible.

Rather than a brash, out-of-place ad that could appear abrasive, native advertising embeds your content into a social feed or website filled with similar content, delivering it to those who are likely to be more interested in what your company has to offer. A no-code web content creation platform such as Vev makes creating this content easier than ever, and ensures your native ads will be creatively on-point. Read on for more on native advertising, as well as some of our favorite native ad examples.

What is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is a form of marketing based on giving customers content that has depth and meaning. Companies sponsor content like blogs, articles, microsites, and web features that are filled with helpful and educational information that ties right into the industry or specialization that they’re a part of.

Native advertising feels organic. It flows with the other regular content on a website, fitting in with the tone and feel. You’ll find native ad examples across a wide range of websites including news, travel, health, finance, and technology. Because they are paid pieces, you’ll see a tag at the top like ‘advertisement’, ‘paid post’, or ‘sponsored’ indicating that it’s not a regular feature.

Common Native Ad Formats

In-feed or in-content ads

Instead of being displayed in a conventional space, an in-content ad appears along with normal web content echoing the style, format, and feel of what’s around it.

'Recommended' sponsored content

When visitors scroll through content like blogs, articles, or other features, links to recommended sponsored content will appear that are relevant to what’s being discussed.

Branded content

Paid features like advertorials, microsites, and blogs are interwoven with regular content. These branded content pieces fit into the context that they appear on a website and are aimed at providing additional information visitors might be interested in.

The Importance of Native Ad Design

Native ads, especially long-form editorial features, must find the right balance between writing and visuals. A yawn-inducing text-heavy experience that makes people bounce isn’t a great ROI for brands shelling out the cash to secure ad placements.

To keep people’s interest designers often include features such as parallax scrolling, audio and video, animations — from scroll animations to Lottie animations — and scrollytelling. These techniques offer up content as an experience, keeping audiences engaged and scrolling, whilst also offering visual cues and context.

9 Native Ad Examples to Inspire Your Web Designs

With the basics covered, you're probably keen to start rethinking your approach to native advertising. Here are some native ad examples to get your creative juices flowing!

Holcim: The Hidden Value of Urban Mining

Cities are in continual cycles of redevelopment. Old structures are torn down or remodeled, which results in things like concrete, brick, and metal being tossed into landfills. The Hidden Value of Urban Mining sponsored by Holcim, a Swiss firm specializing in sustainable building materials, shows the value of recycling and repurposing the waste generated from construction.

Built with Vev, this piece immerses you in an animated cityscape, led with colorful illustrations showing how urban mining works, and the good that comes from it. Holcim gets mentioned a few times, along with some quotes from people involved with the company, but its presence feels subtle. We’re always impressed by native ad examples that feel like natural extensions of the websites that they’re a part of, and Holcim blends right in with the rest of the content on Politico.

Doordash: Local Flavors - A Love Letter

With a stylish layout filled with bright and colorful illustrations, charming food photography, and upbeat writing, this paid post sponsored by DoorDash feels like something right from the pages of the New York Times Magazine. We always like seeing native ad examples like DoorDash’s that make you forget that what you’re reading is actually a clever piece of marketing.

Billing itself a “love letter to Manhattan” this paid article covers four different restaurants and a candy store, capturing both the ambiance of these establishments and the deliciousness of what they offer. There are several call-to-action buttons to “Order Now” that open up DoorDash, giving people a quick way to order. These black and white buttons are understated, never distracting from the flow of content. Though the purpose of this article is to drive conversions, it never feels too "salesy".

Plan International: Blood Sisters

Though menstruation is a natural part of life, there’s still some stigma and hangups about it across the world. Built with Vev, this sponsored content is full of eye-opening facts and statistics, women sharing their experiences, as well as how both developed and underdeveloped countries fall short in providing hygiene products and support to those that need it.

Through its photography, artistic illustrations, and candid quotes it feels honest and personal, which ties right into its theme of removing the taboo or unnecessary discomfort that can come up in discussions about menstruation. It serves an important educational purpose but is also part of the larger campaign “Blood Sisters’ by Plan International in getting donations that are used towards education, support, and providing hygiene product.

Comarch: Data Center Dominance

Forbes hosts a variety of visually driven native ad examples, all made possible through its BRANDVOICE partnership program. Data Center Dominance is both artistic and informative, covering Comarch’s new data facility in sunny Mesa, Arizona.

Viewers are guided through a series of levels, with scenic illustrations complementing the writing discussing Comarch and its data storage solutions. Along with tech-inspired graphics, there is also interactivity in the form of clickable hot spots, and other micro-interactions that keep users engaged.

If this were text-only it would be tempting to skim right on through, but its pixel-perfect microcosm of visuals draws you right in, inspiring one to take a careful pace in experiencing all there is to see.

Goldfisk: Three Healthy and Quick Salmon Dinners for the New Year

Godfisk takes an unconventional approach with this Vev designed feature on salmon recipes. The main container sits at the center, offering a narrow space for content on the screen. It’s an unusual layout that keeps your focus on the wholesome ingredients that materialize as you scroll.

Godfisk is a company that’s involved with quality control and the sustainability of Norwegian seafood and this recipe article showing delectable filets of salmon fits right in with their brand’s reputation and the seafood that bears its seal of approval.

Canon: A Day in the Life of Photography Prodigy Ryan Parrilla

Beginning with a look through the closed aperture of a camera, visitors are invited to drag through a slider of F-stops in opening up the lens and bringing into focus a wide-angle shot of New York City along the Hudson River. This web article, sponsored by Canon, profiles 18-year-old photographer Ryan Parilla, who captures the street life and excitement of the city with his camera. It’s a multimedia experience, with audio, video, text, videos, and his photography all communicating who he is as an artist. 

There are a few mentions of Canon products, like Ryan’s use of the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II, but the marketing messaging never feels forced, with this native ad feeling very much like a regular article on the Washington Post.

Empower: Is Your Financial Plan Future Proof?

Answering questions related to savings, debt, and money management, Empower’s sponsored content on Forbes is full of practical advice. Empower offers its customers tools and resources to better manage their finances and this partnership with Forbes is a great fit.

It’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed when reading about finance-related matters, but here it’s delivered in a friendly way, with character illustrations, giant typography, and a color scheme of dark blue and white that gives it a calm sense of authority.

It’s always nice to see native ad examples that deliver something of value instead of hollow marketing speak, and Empower comes through with this informative and great-looking guide.

Neptune Energy

Focusing on two of its geologists Carly Marshall and Pål Haremo, this native ad from Neptune Energy covers the collaboration and excitement that came from being on a team that discovered the Dugong oil reserve in Norway. It covers the work Neptune Energy does in gas and oil exploration, as well as shows the real people responsible for making these valuable discoveries possible.

Built with Vev, this is an attention-grabbing design filled with effects like parallax scrolling, fade-ins, and animations that keep things moving as you scroll.

Verizon 5G: The Evolution of Speed

At the top of this paid post from Verizon 5G, downward scrolling brings up a field of blocky pixels that morph into an overhead shot of an elegantly spiraling staircase. This is a strong metaphor, signifying the big leap forward from the clunkiness of 4G to the accelerated and high-resolution capabilities of 5G.

This article discusses Versizon’s collaboration with the New York Times in setting them up with a 5G Journalism Lab along with an internal app that its photographers could use to collaborate with photo editors. It’s a compelling read that includes eye-catching photography, text effects, animations, and a unique side-scrolling timeline that shows how photojournalism has evolved over the years. Media outlets like the New York Times show that native ad examples are more than advertising and can have journalistic merit of their own.

Build Captivating Native Ads With Vev

Vev gives you everything you need to create interactive and visually brilliant native ads. Tap into the power of no-code to elevate your marketing efforts quickly and on a budget. When you’re done, embed your native ad anywhere on the web with our Embed Anywhere feature.

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