Native ads on mobile are becoming so popular even Google has given in and launched new responsive AdSense formats for everything which lend themselves perfectly for adoption within mobile.
The advantage of native ad technology is it can adapt to the visual design of the web page or app on which the ad appears, ensuring it seamlessly follows the format and function of the content it appears alongside.
This functionality prevents the ad disrupting the user experience, a benefit that is particularly relevant to smartphone users who tend to have a specific task in mind when using their device and may not welcome the interruption. Premium native ads on mobile offer exceptional performance, with click-through rates four times higher than non-native formats such as banner or rich media ads that do not adapt to the surrounding content.
How can marketers make the most of this burgeoning trend and effectively incorporate native advertising into their mobile campaigns?
Simplify the user journey
Native ads for mobile should be kept concise, one striking image combined with a succinct and descriptive text and a call to action.
marketers must make the user journey as simple as possible
Mobile users are continually bombarded with information so ads need to be captivating enough to attract their limited attention without intruding on the browsing experience.
When advertising on mobile, marketers must make the user journey as simple as possible, describing precisely what consumers will find behind the ad and avoiding misleading clickbait that fails to deliver on its promise.
Embedded calls to action that take users directly to a carefully considered landing page, which continues to meet the expectations the ad has set, will improve the user experience and increase conversion rates. Mobile users need to be confident about what will happen when they click.
Make advertising identifiable
Native is a contentious subject in the marketing world, with some feeling it erodes consumer trust by pretending to be genuine editorial content rather than advertising. This makes it vital that native ads include a specific disclosure that the content is advertising to avoid misleading and irritating the user.
This is particularly relevant to mobile users with small screens and potentially slower load times, as it avoids accidental clicks where they interact with an ad not knowing what it is, and are then delayed in returning to the content they were consuming.
ensuring that it is clear to the user this is an adverts such content can actually enhance its effectiveness
While there are no strict rules governing the disclosure of native ads on mobile – only FTC guidelines – the industry increasingly expects clear labelling, with Instagram the latest to implement identification of sponsored posts.
Some brands may feel labelling native ads defeats the object of making them blend seamlessly with on-page or in-app content, or may fear that identification of ads will limit performance. However, ensuring that it is clear to the user this is an adverts such content can actually enhance its effectiveness, according to a BBC Worldwide study.
Clearly labelling native ads has another benefit in that it reduces the risk of users turning to ad blockers. Ad blocking on mobile devices is growing rapidly, with mobile accounting for 62% of devices with ad blockers installed globally, according to a PageFair report.
While native advertising in general reduces the risk of ad blocking by limiting intrusion on the user experience, mobile users may well turn to ad blockers if they feel they have been tricked by native ads masquerading as genuine advertorial content.
Target ads to user context
Native advertising may adapt seamlessly to the environment in which it is served, but it may still be deemed intrusive if it is delivered out of context, or to a user who has little interest in the brand it is promoting.
variables such as purchase intent reveal the needs of the user
Using programmatic to execute native on mobile allows brands to dynamically match ads with users, taking into account demographics, interests and preferences. Geolocation data can be used to target ads by physical location, while variables such as purchase intent reveal the needs of the user, allowing native ads to be delivered at a time when the recipient is most likely to respond. Mobile devices are often used for mid funnel activities such as quick searches or pre-purchase product research, so brands can use native advertising on mobile to reach audiences at this stage of the consumer journey.
Automated technologies can help brands identify where their target audiences are and deliver native ads in the most appropriate environment, for instance within the news feed of a social media app, or within a premium news site on the mobile web.
A mobile-first approach, and a move towards native advertising that adapts to its environment are two key trends in digital advertising, so it makes sense marketers are combining the two.
By keeping the user journey simple, clearly identifying ads as such, and using the latest technologies to target ads to user context, brands can incorporate native into their mobile campaigns and enjoy a significant boost in performance.