In September 2015, Apple announced that iOS 9 will feature content blocking, allowing users to block ads and giving them more control over the ad experience. Apple’s decision to allow content blocking on iOS 9 acknowledges a significant ongoing shift in how advertisers connect with consumers online, especially in the mobile marketing space.
In early 2016, Google announced the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project with a goal of rendering a way to build web pages for loading static content fast — in fact REALLY fast. And in March 2016, a report TUNE released noted that Mobile ad blocking installs spiked 3X in the last three months.
As traditional ways for ad revenue potentially dry up, new ways like native advertising will continue to emerge as a powerful way for brands to connect with consumers. Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience closely resembles or appears to be highly relevant to the platform on which it appears. It can come in a variety of forms such as online advertorials (which look like editorial content but are required to be marked as sponsored content), online videos, sponsored social media posts, and in-feed ads.
Native Advertising’s Time Has Come
Native advertising is more effective in drawing consumers’ attention than intrusive display ads anyway. A recent study by IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough found that consumers look at native ads 53% more often than they look at traditional display ads. Business Insider predicted that spending on native ads would reach $7.9 billion in 2015 and grow to $21 billion in 2018, rising from just $4.7 billion in 2013.
As content blocking has driven a stake through the heart of banner ads, native advertising is set to take its place.
Native Advertising is Not Content Marketing
Most mobile users will typically see native ads on Facebook and other social media platforms as in-feed or in-stream ad formats. Native advertising also appears in mobile apps and games. It can even be embedded directly within the actual editorial content of a page.
To be effective, a native ad will:
- Provide a good user experience
- Increase sales for publishers
- Help advertisers hit their KPIs
Implicit in all of this is an emphasis on performance.
4 Native Advertising Tips for Mobile Marketers
Tip 1: Pay Attention to Every Aspect of Your Ad
Native advertising should match the unique user experience. Take into consideration everything from the app that you are using to the headline and language of the ad itself.
Native ads are not supposed to look or feel like ads, but should be subtle in tone and should create value for both your business and your users. This can mean providing useful information about your product that directly addresses your consumers’ needs.
Work with your creative team to design an ad that will naturally fit into the design of the platform you are working with.
Tip 2: Follow a Tested Formula
Native ads are content-rich and take careful thought to plan and produce. The editorial process can eat into the efficiency of a performance marketing team.
In order to create a scalable process, create a workable template you can use for your native ads instead of starting over with a new approach each time. That way you can focus on examining performance, optimizing the format that works for you and improving the performance over time.
Tip 3: Keep Testing
Don’t expect to get results from one video or one post. Consumers will need to see your native ads multiple times before they start to pay attention. If your first attempt at native advertising doesn’t achieve the desired results of your campaign, don’t give up.
And, as you keep launching campaigns, be sure to keep testing, learning, and optimizing your campaigns by listening to your data. (By the way, this only works if it’s driven by a strategic plan.)
Tip 4: Take Advantage of Programmatic Advertising to Improve ROI
You or your in-house sales team simply can’t identify all of the digital advertising opportunities that exist right now. So, be sure to take advantage of access to real-time inventory at scale—at a price you can pay—offered by programmatic advertising platforms.
When used effectively, new technologies give advertisers the ability to tap into programmatic demand for native advertising, which in turn will allow you to scale your ad buying and put relevant ads directly in front of your consumers using real-time data.
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.