Native Ads Using Video: Maximizing Digital Content

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native ads using video

When it comes to digital ads, you have to go beyond the banner. In order to reach people at the RIGHT MOMENT, native ads using video are a great way to go.


Much like the iconic scene in Return of the Jedi where Han tells Chewie to keep his distance without looking like he’s keeping his distance, native ads are advertisements that don’t feel like they’re selling anything.

In fact, the most successful native ads using video are stories. Take the Whirlpool’s Care Counts program. The VIDEO has been seen more than 1.8 million times. It has a 90 percent like rate and nearly 3,500 shares. Yes, it’s about Whirlpool’s awesome program to bring washers and dryers to schools with low-income students to reduce absenteeism and dropout rates. But, it’s an ad. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with making a video to show off the human side of your business.


Part of what has driven the virality of this story (1.8 million views and counting) is the human element. Because Whirlpool isn’t pushing the latest “washomatic master ten billion,” people are watching the story. They are connecting with the brand. Even if a viewer isn’t in the market for a new machine, they might feel compelled to donate to the program or tell other people about Care Counts.

The way this 3:38 video plays the heartstrings, people are willing to continue watching for the payoff. It would be interesting to see the back-end analytics on YouTube to see where people drop off. This video encourages social sharing, which might help people stick with the longer run time. I know this video popped up in my feeds with comments like, “Worth watching to the end!” or “Look at the difference this is making!” As people shared the video, they added their own comments. This helped build trust and reliability.


More often than not, native ads using video are selling a feeling about the brand rather than a specific product. That’s why they work. It’s more about who you are and how you do it than what you’re selling.

Think about the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign. Dove wasn’t trying to sell a particular product, but rather the feeling their product evokes. Take this VIDEO FROM 2013 with more than 7.1 million views. The story is Dove trying to reverse the body-negative advertising often found in the beauty industry. Dove is selling beauty products by telling women they are beautiful. By capturing the feeling of positivity, viewers are more likely to share with their social circle. Why? Because this video explains why they love Dove. Dove makes them feel good about themselves and Dove’s advertising reinforces that emotion.

Another way to think about native ads using video is that they are the anti-ad. They’re keeping their advertorial distance without being aloof. As consumers continue to increase their time on mobile devices, the need for targeted, specific ads that don’t interfere with the browsing experience will expand. To borrow from THINK WITH GOOGLE’S example, an article about a marathon might be sponsored by an athletic shoe company who also has a native video ad on how one of the runners with a tough-luck backstory uses their brand to achieve her running goals.


Successful native ads using video have a compelling story that makes viewers want to share the content. Even if the ad is selling something, a good native ad shouldn’t feel like it’s making a hard sell. It should be about an emotional reaction or evoking a feeling about a brand. It’s about lift and recall, not necessarily pushing someone into the “buy now” moment.

As with all of my video marketing advice, if you have any questions or want help optimizing your videos, DROP US A LINE.

Video Insights

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