There can be little doubt that mobile is where the money is. The mobile advertising market is expected to hit a staggering $38.1 billion by the year 2018, according to CMO. At the same time, the ASME’s more relaxed viewpoint on the relationship between editorial and marketing content makes native advertising more appealing than ever to trade publications that maintain an online presence. It’s inevitable, then, that at some point you’ll want to employ native advertising in your own responsive website, if you haven’t already done so. Let’s look at why this is a smart move, and how to make that move as effectively as possible.
As you’ve doubtless noticed whenever you view the same website on both desktop and handheld devices, the playing field changes drastically when that screen shrinks. Responsive websites redesign themselves on the fly to accommodate the detected screen size, jettisoning peripheral aspects of the layout to focus on content instead of reducing the entire site to microscopic scale. Unfortunately, one element usually ends up sticking out like a sore thumb in this elegant process — banner ads. These ads tend to hover directly over the content readers want to read, often causing them to accidentally click the ad when they’re trying to do something else. It’s disruptive, and it throws the reader out of the immersive experience you want your content to provide.
User experience is everything on mobile devices. Readers want to be able to scan the incoming feed smoothly and effortlessly, selecting only those items they actually want to select. Native advertising can do away with a lot of the frustration that accompanies ad interaction on these devices — but only if you implement it correctly. First and foremost, you must make sure that the native ad focuses on function by complementing the in-feed content, both scale-wise and aesthetically, while still identifying itself clearly as sponsored content.
When properly employed, native advertising may be one of the best things you can do for your mobile readership. In an Interactive Advertising Bureau study on the subject, 5,000 participants chose sponsored content as the most attractive, least off-putting form of paid media, according to Mobile Commerce Daily. This may be partly because they’re already familiar with this form of advertising from its prevalence on social media channels.
But it’s also due to the fact that in-feed advertising keeps the flow going by blending seamlessly into the overall user experience. In fact, native advertising seems to make even more impact on mobile devices than it does on desktops. Ampush cites a study’s findings that native ads enjoyed a much higher click rate (187 percent, to be exact) when encountered on a mobile platform.
But however effective native ads may be for advertisers, and however welcomed they may be by readers, they also offer one other tremendous benefit: they don’t detract from the editorial content you’ve been so careful to craft and place. So while you’re attracting more advertising revenue, you’re also presenting that advertising in a way that complements your publication instead of drawing attention away from it. In the limited confines of the small-screen user experience, the smooth combination of editorial and ad content helps you make a big impact.