Native Ads Aren’t New: Google and Amazon Were Using Them 10 Years Ago

“The best ideas lose their owners and take on lives of their own.” – N. Bushnell

Google and Amazon paved the way in too many areas of modern-day business to even count. But something rarely talked about is how these two giants of the internet era refined and mastered native advertising a dozen years before it became understood and mainstream.

In fact, there’s a huge lesson here for the mobile app and site developers of today. It’s the beginning of a new mobile landscape, and companies that properly balance service and monetization on mobile devices (as Google and Amazon did with computers ten years ago) will dominate and achieve vast success.

How exactly did these two world-leaders use native ads?

Google’s adverts are so smoothly blended into their search function that many people have been using Google’s search engine for a decade and still don’t know which options that pop up are adverts, and which are organic. The adverts are too beautifully blended to stand out just as good native advertising always should be.

Native Google Ads

And Google’s content network of adverts – the ones you can put on your website – are also designed to blend with your content so they don’t stand out as adverts, just additional valuable links to click on. Amazon has something similar with its Buy Next and Buy Other advertising features, and it has the Amazon affiliates advertising network, which also allows you to blend Amazon ads with your site to monetize.

Both companies make billions through these native ads alone – and that’s a clue for all of us.

Three Lessons for Monetizing in Today’s Mobile World

The balance of service and native advertising is key.

When you combine superb service with adverts that are so well blended they become a fluid part of that service, you are emulating exactly what worked for Google and Amazon.

Your ads should contribute to your user’s experience, not distract from it.

Both Google and Amazon used native advertising not only to monetize but also to provide additional value to users with these extra adverts and services. The key is to create native ads so fantastic that they actually make your service better.

Be as personal as possible – in service and advertising.

Another thing that led these two services to dominate the world of online business is how they completely mastered delivering very intimate personal service. Still today, they are continuously evolving to become more and more personal, sometimes even anticipating what the user wants and needs.

It goes without saying that providing very personal service is essential for any successful mobile business, but it’s also key to make sure the adverts are personalized, too. They should be personalized not just to the individual, but also to what that person needs in that precise moment on that particular day.

Just as ugly, interrupting adverts simply don’t work today (on mobile, or otherwise), neither does advertising that offers generic, irrelevant extra things to buy. The only question left to ask is, who will be the Google or Amazon native ad breakthrough of the mobile era?