New opportunities in native advertising

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Highlighting success: A pioneer in online native advertising

Distribution technologies like Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon, and evolving media platforms like BuzzFeed, are helping creatives blossom, providing them with an inherently built-in, personal recommendation network. The opportunity created for brands becomes destination-based marketing, proving to become a powerful source for personal engagement matched with viral distribution.

Intel's Museum of Me

Tapping into the mentality of Facebook users, rather than just trying to target them, Intel built a personalized three-minute video for each person that engaged with it. Combining your friends, photos, and content, the Museum of Me captured 1 million people within five days of its launch last June.

"At Intel, we subscribe to the philosophy that brands must be storytellers. As part of our media and marketing activities, we've chosen key opportunities to tell our brand story through experiences for our audience, brought to you by Intel," said David Veneski, U.S. media director for Intel.

The Museum of Me experience might have been powered by Facebook, but the story was envisioned and provided by the brand. The Intel brand experience enhanced the lives of its users. The discovery mechanism via social media was the distribution strategy, but the real value of the experience was the message (not the medium).

"When crafting these experiences, we focus on what is engaging for the audience and present an invitation to participate in an authentic manner," Veneski said. "We also want to ensure that these experiences are compelling enough for our audience to share across their social graph. We do this through an element of unexpectedness that will catch the eye of tastemakers and motivate them to share within their communities of participation."

The experience that Intel provided was powerfully personal but on a monster scale. It was the same emotion that someone who cooked a Jell-O recipe in the 1900s felt when making a cookbook-inspired treat. It was the same conversation starter that an episode of "Guiding Light" brought to millions of homemakers. We are in the next stage of the evolution of native advertising.

As a marketer, try to harness the power of advertising that doesn't feel like an ad. You have been building this content for years; don't be afraid of a new medium. Today's social media presents you with the personal precision that Jell-O salesmen had in 1906, but also gives you the power of monster distribution, referring more than 2 billion pages in the U.S. alone each month. Embrace this new wave. Tell a story that feels like a story, not an ad.

Jack Krawczyk is senior product marketing manager at StumbleUpon.

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"Woman reading sign" image via Shutterstock.