Mobile Native Ads: the Future (and Now) of Marketing

Native advertising – you’ve seen it, you’ve clicked on it, and you may not even have realized it.

Since the advent of the smartphone, the plague of the mobile advertising world has been display ads. They leap out, rather offensively, from otherwise slick and good-looking websites and apps, and all we want to do is avoid them.

Traditional display ads on mobiles have seen click-through rates (CTRs) fall at an incredible rate. The average CTR on mobiles has fallen to 0.04 percent, according to this Digiday article. People have simply adapted to avoiding them; the consumer won’t stand to be interrupted anymore.

And so they’ve been replaced by something far more effective.

Why They’re Powerful on Mobile

Native ads are getting fantastic results with CTRs almost as high as editorial content and in many cases even higher. This is because they blend in to mobile apps, blogs, and news sites well and their headlines are carefully designed and tested to be incredibly compelling. For many Appnext clients who use native app recommendation units, the average click through rate has been as much as eight times higher than that of traditional mobile banners.

Studies have found that less than half of visitors to news sites can distinguish native advertising from actual news. It’s not surprising; the whole idea is that they blend in.

Emarketer.com predicts that native ad spend will reach $5 billion by 2017. The Online Publishers Association says that 73 percent of their publisher members currently use native ads (for PC, tablet, and mobile browsing) and predicts that number will rise to 90 percent by the end of this year.

It’s a massive trend driven by a very solid reason: it works.

The adaptability of native advertising

In a way, it’s an artform all its own – perfectly blending adverts with the look and feel of a website or app. Video, images, articles, music – anything you like can become a part of a native mobile ad. What’s even better is that you can choose something that adds value to your page, and makes you money when someone clicks through.

For example, using a customized Welcome Screen to personally greet users entering your app or website will not only complement the user experience, but can also carry a native ad on it by recommending relevant content or offers to explore.

The reason native ads are also the future of mobile advertising is that they’re still in infancy and will only continue to blend further, and in better ways, as time goes on. This style of advertising doesn’t break the flow of a user’s mobile experience, is relevant to their interests, and causes them stick around after exposure to the ad as a result.

Add value & visitors will love you

If you feel like this is deceitful, remember the key to recommending sites, apps and products: relevant, high-quality content your visitor will love and be happy to see when they click through. Your user doesn’t know or care that you made money on that click.

In fact, I bet they’d be perfectly happy to hear that you did, just as I’m thrilled that my friend made a referral fee when he recommended a great money transfer service to me a few weeks ago. I’m not at all bothered by the fact that he made some money for making a great recommendation to a friend in need. I’m happy, he’s happy and the referred company is happy. It’s exactly the same with thoughtful, well-chosen native ads.

End the interruptions

Old display advertising was an interruption to the user experience; the whole point was to lure the user away from what they were doing. But people just won’t stand for that anymore. Our standards have risen, and native advertising allows a more fluid experience without interruption.

This trend of malleability will only continue with time. Things aren’t likely to move backward and it’s great news for mobile apps and publishing in all its varieties. It’s officially time to get on board and use native ads to monetize your traffic with style.

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