Our Top Tips for Introducing Native Ads into Your App or Mobile Site
Native ads, a growing digital trend, already account for billions of dollars in ad spend. It’s likely, however, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.
Unlike banner ads, interstitials and even video ads, native ads are not plug and play. In order to take advantage of native ads, developers need to do some level of customization. The style, presentation, and content of a native ad must appear to flow naturally within an app to create a unified user experience.
Best practices, however, are difficult to pin down, given the variables at play. A formula for universal success is even more elusive. Due to each app’s individual idiosyncrasies, a successful native placement uniquely fashioned for one developer may not increase revenue stream for another.
Keeping that lack of standardization in mind, we’ve pulled together a few high-level points to consider when introducing native ads into your app or mobile website below:
- Timing is everything.
Just as with other ad units, time the placement of ads at natural breaks in content, or in regular (and not too frequent) intervals. Work with your monetization partner to ensure ad placement feels reasonable and that the ads are varied and relevant to the user. If users see the same native ad too often, you risk that them getting annoyed with the advertising and potentially deleting your app. A good variety of relevant ads can have the opposite effect and actually increase engagement.
- Consider your audience, and match appropriate native ad content.
It’s no secret that context and placement are crucial for engagement. This is particularly true in mobile where screens are (relatively) small and things feel more personal to a user. Ask yourself how the ad fits within the overall page design. Is it in the viewer’s activity stream? Avoid placing ads where they will disrupt the user’s flow. Ensure ads function like the other elements on the page and deliver the same type of content experience. For example, a video ad would make sense on a page displaying other videos, while a sponsored story would make more sense when placed with other stories.
- Build native seamlessly into your existing content.
Your users are used to navigating through your app or game in a certain way, so when including native ads, frame them within your existing design and content. Ads should mesh naturally with the rest of the app, providing a fluid visual experience with matching fonts, spacing, and colors. You’ll need to disclose where you’ve included promoted content, but the disclosure should be the main tip off that a native ad is present.
- Work with a monetization partner to help scale.
Gaining scale with native advertising can be difficult if you lack your own sales team and creating specialized placements for big brands is not an option for you. The way around this is to work with a monetization partner who has access to an exchange. Advertisers are then able to plan their own native campaigns and upload text and images, note their demographics, and specify what locations and device types they want to advertise on. Developers are also able to set their own criteria and they are matched in a real time bidding environment. By using this method to scale native ads, developers use their resources efficiently and gain greater access to a higher revenue stream.
We could probably summarize this list into one item: keep user experience at the top of your mind. Maintaining a beautiful and user-friendly app is the best thing you can do for yourself to maintain longevity in the mobile ecosystem. A well-executed native ad strategy means that ads fit seamlessly into the natural content of an app or website and, as a result, user experience is not disrupted. Advertisers are happy because users trust your app or site and engage with the content they see. At the end of the day, native is all about the best experience for the user.
To this end, Millennial Media, the Application Developers Alliance, and other industry experts crafted a new whitepaper, A Guide to Native Advertising: How Scaling Native Ad Campaigns Can Increase Revenue. In it, we discuss the challenges and opportunities developers face in scaling native ad campaigns. To learn more, download the white paper here. And contact Millennial Media when you’re ready to get started with native ads!
Millennial Media is the leading mobile ad marketplace, making mobile simple for the world’s top brands, app developers, and mobile web publishers. The company's data and technology assets enable advertisers to connect with target audiences at scale, while driving monetization for publisher and developer partners. AOL acquired Millennial Media on October 23, 2015. Millennial Media boosts AOL's global, mobile capabilities and scale across ONE by AOL for advertisers and agencies, and offers the most attractive monetization platform for app developers.