Your app users love native ads, but have you got them right?

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Ask a smartphone user about mobile ads, and what they will describe is a big full screen pop up that many a times comes in the way of what they were doing on their smartphone. Though, much of this is generalization, a big challenge that you will face when monetizing your apps is ensuring that the user experience does not get affected.

When speaking of creating unintrusive ad experiences native ads sit right on the top. By design, native ads merge seamlessly with the app or game content, such that they appear as if they are a part of the content that the smartphone user is engaging with. Native ads reduce the contrast between the ad and the app content thereby offering a highly contextual and relevant ad experience that more users are receptive to.

In fact, according to an industry report, consumers look at native ads 53% more than display ads. 25% more consumers are said to look at in-feed native ad placements (the most common editorial native ad format) than display ad units.

For instance, when reading news on an app, if users see native ad, they are more likely to perceive it as a piece of content that is part of the news feed, if the ad is well designed to present the messaging as news item and looks much like the rest of the items in the news feed. In fact, 52% of smartphone users are more likely to engage with native ads and click-through rates (CTR) with native ads is found to be four times higher than banner ads.

However, there is a flipside to this. Native ads can blend in so seamlessly with your content experience that users may often mistake them for actual content and click on them and find out that it is an ad. To avoid such unwanted clicks and maintain your brand image as well as the advertiser’s, here are three guidelines to help get native ads right:

  1. IAB suggests that all native ads should be clearly labeled as ‘Advertisement’ or ‘Promoted’ or ‘Sponsored or ‘Ad’ or ‘Sponsored Content’ depending on what the native ad is for. Publishers should ensure that the advertiser’s brand logo appears clearly, somewhere in the ad content so that instant brand connect and recall is established. It also builds a trust factor. In fact, industry reports suggest that such transparency in the campaign can result in as much as 15% more CTR, close to 84% increase in brand awareness and up to 74% increase in purchase intent.
  2. The ad unit placement should be such that it is easily discoverable. Native ad units placed on home pages are estimated to deliver 55% higher CTR, while those placed in content are found to perform better than the units placed on section page. In case of content feeds, the industry body MMA suggests that the native ad unit can be placed above the page fold on the main page and then repeated every few (5-6) tiles.
  3. App publishers should modulate the refresh rates based on the content type and user behavior. When native ads appear in-stream with a scroll mode, the refresh rate should as long as possible depending on the average session time. This gives the user a chance to come back to the ad after scrolling through the entire feed.

While native ads will help you ensure an immersive and engaging app as well as advertising experience, it is essential that you follow the above best practices to ensure that your native ad efforts yield the results that you’re looking for.

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