How Upworthy is Proving the Power of Purpose-Driven Advertising

It’s a new age for content, and it’s everywhere. It’s being produced by everyone, and about everything and anything. Seriously, Johannes Gutenberg would be rolling over in his grave if he knew that his invention was the seed that planted the foundation for the movement toward mass communication that is the basis for modern society.

Thankfully, the Internet has since replaced the printing press. Consequently, online has become the dominant community for sharing the shocking and ridiculous—and everything in between. Whether it’s a video of a guy surfing off his roof, or a kitten dancing to “Turn Down For What,” we are usually left scratching our heads when we see the millions of YouTube views these videos rack up in a matter of days.

If you haven’t seen the “Kitten Jam” video, it’s actually pretty awesome:

While a video like this is nothing short of entertaining, what about the more meaningful content? How can significant stuff become shareable? How can content creators, brands and agencies compete with sheer cuteness factor?

What many approach tentatively as a solution is now evolving into a rising industry trend: native advertising.

When it comes to a native advertising success story, brands and companies should take a page or two from Upworthy’s book. Except that’s the funny thing; Upworthy has managed to do what the BuzzFeeds and The Huffington Posts of the world have done with written, editorial content and apply it to a video context. And it’s working. Like it’s really, really working.

Only four months into the native ad world, and Upworthy has already attracted big names like Unilever, CoverGirl and Skype to add brand familiarity to its content. For a mission-driven viral publisher like Upworthy, that boasts its key differentiator right in its tagline—“Things that matter. Pass ‘em on.”—this move is turning out to be a win, win, win (if that’s even possible).

1) Brands are getting their ads seen.

2) Upworthy is gaining more brand partners.

3) Content with a cause is being shared at viral rates.

Content from branded posts has been so successful that it is now outperforming regular editorial content. That’s not just some blanket statement either; the numbers behind it are impressive and encouraging for the ad industry.

When it comes to engagement, branded posts are getting 3.5 more views, 3 times more shares and 2.9 more attention minutes than regular content.

 Brand Performance Upworthy

The brilliance behind the Upworthy platform is further illuminated when the publisher is compared against the rest of the industry. In comparing Upworthy to the Top 25 Media Sites, it is getting 39 times the average social actions per post!

 Social Actions Upworthy

So how is native advertising at Upworthy different? Check out the video that Skype promoted on the Upworthy site. Upworthy is curating curiosity, not clicks. And for once, you will feel good about a video going viral.

Enjoy what you’ve read? Learn more about the power of native advertising here.  

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