The accompanying music video for "We Run the Night" was directed by Benn Jae and Tony Prescott, and premiered on Vevo on 11 May 2011. The music video for the RedOne remix premiered on Vevo on 7 March 2012.
In 2008, Havana Brown signed a recording deal with Universal Music Australia, and began releasing her Crave compilation series through the label. Throughout 2008 and 2009, Brown toured as a supporting act with Rihanna, The Pussycat Dolls, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears during the Australian legs of their tours. By the end of 2009, Brown commenced working on Australian radio, providing mixes for the Party People programme every saturday night on the Today Network. In 2010, Brown continued to tour and began the process of recording material for her debut album. Discussing the process of creating "We Run the Night", Brown said that she wanted a pop record with a Dutch breakdown after each chorus. Brown spoke of trying to find a producer to make the record, and eventually working with production duo More Mega, saying: "I wanted a certain kind of sound and I could hear it in my head. Some people were telling me it was too "pop" or that it was too "club". Fortunately, I was able to work with a duo here who totally got both worlds."
""I wanted to combine the club and commercial worlds in one song [...] I wanted to make something that I could play in my DJ sets and on my radio show… RedOne was perfect. We were trying to mix two types of music together."
—Havana Brown, ahead of the release of "We Run the Night" in the United Kingdom, speaking of the RedOne remix's composition.
After the initial success of the More Mega production, Moroccan-Swedish producer RedOne reached out to Brown via Twitter asking if he could contact her. Having heard "We Run the Night" through Enrique Iglesias, whom Brown had preformed "Heartbeat" with (replacing Nicole Scherzinger, the original featured artist) on The X Factor, RedOne expressed his interest in making his own version of the track. RedOne played his remix of "We Run the Night" to American rapper Pitbull, who liked the song and recorded a rapped verse for it. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Brown commented on her collaboration with Pitbull, "He is one of my favorite people. He's generous and loyal. He is a great person to be around and always a lot of fun. I love how hard he works! He really loves what he does. I was playing his music for about 8 yrs before it was commercially successful. So I'm a long time fan. He's just an all around awesome guy."
Nic Maher of Luna magazine called the song "quite catchy" and wrote, "autotune saves this femme fatale from what would otherwise be a disastrous release." Layla Clarke of The AU Review wrote, "We Run the Night is as epic as it is euphoric, with an insanely infectious breakdown that's guaranteed to throw the crowd into overdrive." After listening to the song, a writer for Beat magazine felt Brown should stick to being a DJ because "a singer she is not!". Amanda Hooton from the Sydney Morning Herald praised Brown and the song, commenting, "Brown can hold a tune, she looks amazing in music clips and, most of all, she knows what gets a crowd moving. "We Run The Night" was one of those songs you hear for the first time and think you know: the lean-in beat, the hands-up chorus, the "Dutch break" locking down like a sports car changing gears."
In an interview with Brown, Reyne Haines, media personality for the Huffington Post, commented "I loved the song "We Run the Night" the very first time I heard it on the radio. It's now reached over 31 million views on YouTube and landed in the #1 spot on the Billboard charts. It had to be such a rush to work with a mega star [Pitbull]".
"We Run the Night" debuted at number seven on the ARIA Singles Chart on 9 May 2011, serving as the highest debuting single of that week. It also became the first single from an Australian artist to debut within the top-ten in 2011. The following week, the song fell down three spots to number ten. In its fifth week on the chart, "We Run the Night" moved from number seven to number five, where it peaked. It was certified triple platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), for selling 210,000 digital copies. In New Zealand, "We Run the Night" debuted at number thirty on the NZ Top 40, on 12 March 2014. One week later, the recording made a big leap reaching its peak at number five, where it stayed for three non-consecutive weeks. It was certified platinum by Recorded Music NZ (RMNZ) for sales of 15,000 copies of the single.
The RedOne remix peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot Dance Songs chart. Brown became the first Australian recording artist to reach that spot since Kylie Minogue topped the chart with her song "Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)". On the week of 7 April 2012, "We Run the Night" made its debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 99 and peaked at number 26. On the Mainstream Top 40 charts, "We Run the Night" completed the longest climb to the chart's upper half in fourteen years and the third-longest overall, after Edwin McCain's song "I'll Be" which took 22 weeks in 1998, and the Melissa Etheridge track "Come to My Window" taking 20 weeks in 1994. It also peaked at number 48 in Canada. As of September 2012, the song has sold 1,000,000 digital copies in the US.
Robert Copsey from Digital Spy marveled at the single's worldwide commercial success, "The track - which has had over 18 million hits on YouTube - has already entered the charts all over the world, peaking at number five in Australia and number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100."
The music video for the RedOne remix is set at a dance club party and revolves around shots of Havana Brown singing, dancing, and posing. In some shots, she sits on a red throne while half-naked bodies dance around her, as if to worship her. Some frames show close-ups of Brown in a tight gold dress as she flirts with featured artist Pitbull, during which she sings the opening verse: “When the sun goes down, down, down, down / Boy are you afraid of the dark, dark? / And when the lights go out, out, out, out / Tell me, do you know where to start, start? / And when the bass gets loud, loud, loud / That is when I feel a part / And when the world sleeps sound, sound, sound / The sound is the key to my heart.” Pitbull is well-dressed in a suit with a red coat and he flirts with Havana Brown. Brown then enters the DJ booth and begins to play music for a dance party, and at the end of the video she uses a hammer to smash the booth as if to truly "run the night."
Scott Shetler from 105.7 FM ("PopCrush 105.7") commented that in the video, "the pair [Havana Brown and Pitbull] back up their claim [to run the night] by owning the dance club in the song’s music video."  He also noted, "When the always well-dressed Pitbull enters the picture for his verse, Mr. 305 gets up close and personal with Brown and teases, “Let me tickle it, baby.” Brown enters the DJ booth to crank up the party even more, reminding viewers that she’s more than just a pretty face." Shetler concludes, "All the smiling faces and hands in the air make us wish we were at this party!"