A Look At How Netflix is Winning With Native Advertising

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Wait…this is a Netflix ad?!

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is described by the American Marketing Association as “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.”

While IMC provides customers with a clear and consistent brand message and can be very profitable if done correctly, example: Coca Cola IMC case study, The difficulty lies in understanding which medias to use.

Iacobucci states that choosing the proper media choices depends on two major questions: Who the target audience is and what is the company’s goal. However, in such a fragmented market, it’s more than just deciding where to advertise, but also how you tailor your message as to avoid being skipped over. Arguably no one is doing a better job on this front than Netflix.


Over the last few years, Netflix has restructured their marketing strategy to aim for a much wider international market (target audience). In order to do this, they need to be recognized and appeal to a variety of different markets. So what does Netflix do to advertise in order to improve their marketing reach?

Reach: The share (percentage) of your target audience that has seen your ad at least once

Firstly, Netflix has decided to focus their advertising dollar towards the digital media space, this way they can better reach their target consumers and track responses. Using Social media outlets Twitter and Facebook, and online journals (more on this later), Netflix has decided to advertise their exclusive TV shows instead of the traditionally popular advertise your brand and services provided. This IMC strategy of offering “product-based” advertising (instead of “brand-based”) is a bold move. Netflix believes that getting customers hooked to their programming will reel them in and create loyal fans to their exclusive content, and as a result, the service as a whole.

By offering content in different languages all over the world, Netflix has found a way to generate 81.5 million subscriptions internationally.

Netflix does a lot to attract and retain their target market, from personalization of content, to their ability to understand their brand and play to consumer created catch lines (Netflix and Chill).

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 9.41.31 AM

But, what truly makes Netflix special (especially to this marketing nerd), is their extremely successful foray in to the world of Native Advertising.

Native AdvertisingNativeAdvertisingRevenue(US)

Already one of the hottest marketing trends, Native Advertising, provides an advertisement in the same style and format as the content the user is on, thus being less disruptive than traditional advertising. This has led to great results, namely around advertising frequency with click through rates from native ads averaging about 1% (vs 0.1%). With proven ROI, spend on this new form of advertising has ballooned and is expected to increase over the coming years. A great video further explaining Native Advertising can be found below:

So, guess who is responsible for 3 of the most successful Native Advertising ads in recent history? You guessed it…

Following their IMC strategy of focusing on the services content rather than the service itself, Netflix has found an advertisers gold mine in working with reputable journals and news outlets to provide articles, that, apart from a few connections to the exclusive content they are advertising, can very much be seen as credible journalism. Such “paid news” includes working with the New York Times, creating a piece about Women inmates and why the male model doesn’t work.

The only direct link to Netflix in this paid article was Piper Kerman, the author of Orange is the New Black, and the subsequent launch of the Netflix original series .

A second, equally successful native advertising move, included working with The Atlantic on an article entitled “Political Destiny and the Making of a First Couple” which  coincidentally is the premise around the original series House of Cards. Once again, the only connection to Netflix was the mention of House of Cards at the end of the article and the dynamic between the political characters involved.

Finally, Netflix partnered with The Wall Street Journal to promote their new series Narcos by writing a detailed article on the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar and the logistics around the Colombian Cocaine business.

Great article, even better show!

All in all, Netflix is leading the way with an innovative “product-based” strategy. Through the use of strong story telling in advertising and a consistent brand message of quality programming through multiple digital mediums, Netflix is successfully reaching it’s end user throughout the world.

Mike Weatherhead
MWEATHE 216041883


B&T. (2015). Why Netflix Is Killing It In The Native Advertising Space & Why There Are Lessons For You Too – B&T. [online] Available at: http://www.bandt.com.au/opinion/why-netflix-is-killing-it-in-the-native-advertising-space-why-there-are-lessons-for-you-too [Accessed 5 May 2016].

Beer, J. (2015). The Atlantic’s Stylish First-Couples Feature Is An Elaborate “House of Cards” Native Ad. [online] Co.Create. Available at: http://www.fastcocreate.com/3043590/the-atlantics-stylish-first-couples-feature-is-an-elaborate-house-of-cards-native-ad [Accessed 7 May 2016].

Company, (2016). Women Inmates Separate But Not Equal (Paid Post by Netflix From NYTimes.com). [online] Paidpost.nytimes.com. Available at: http://paidpost.nytimes.com/netflix/women-inmates-separate-but-not-equal.html?_r=0#.VQGuF7PF_xF [Accessed 8 May 2016].

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Hoelzel, M. (2014). Spending On Native Advertising Is Soaring As Marketers And Digital Media Publishers Realise The Benefits. [online] Business Insider Australia. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/spending-on-native-ads-will-soar-as-publishers-and-advertisers-take-notice-2014-11 [Accessed 7 May 2016].

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