“Any customer can have a
car painted any color he wants, so long as it is black” - Henry
In 1908, Ford created a
revolution in the automotive industry with the color black. To some
extent banners did the same for the digital advertising industry (and
by extension mobile advertising) in the early 2000s. But as the
target audience becomes more tech savvy and the competition in the
digital space burgeons, both users and developers have begun to ask
for more - More options, more innovation and more bang for the buck.
Native advertising is being hailed as the latest black of the mobile
advertising industry and everyone who is anyone is putting out the
word on their capabilities.
With so much noise around
this offering, it is but normal for there to be several myths,
misunderstandings and confusion around the real capabilities. This
post digs into the truth about this latest opportunity and presents
some insights about some of the common questions that might be
plaguing your mind.
1) How flexible are
Native ads were born out
of a need to present ads in a seamless form - blend the advertisement
into the content to create an non-intrusive experience for the user.
So what if your mobile property has only star shaped objects? Can an
advertisement be formatted to look that way? Probably. But the
question you need to ask is - will such an ad even be meaningful
enough for your user, to generate that elusive click and conversion.
ads are generally implemented by breaking down the individual
advertiser assets and providing them to the publisher in his CMS.
Maintaining the balance between a blended ad experience and ensuring
that the ad is still noticeable and informative is the main parameter
that decides how flexible the native ad unit can be.
The InMobi Native Ads
Platform feeds the individual ad assets to your CMS - icon, title,
description, images (in any size you need) - making the ad layout as
flexible as your app design.
2) Is demand really
liquid? Will I get scale?
One of the biggest
deterrents to putting trust in a new ad format is the lack of demand.
And with something as customized as a native ad layout where every
developer will have his own requirements and constraints, is the
demand really scalable?
The answer depends on the
capabilities of the platform powering the native ad solution. Asking
each advertiser to supply the individual assets for every publisher
(as per their unique requirements) is of course not a scalable
The InMobi Native Ads
Platform acquires these individual advertiser assets automatically as
well as allows advertisers to edit them if they feel the need. This
ensures instant scale as well as caters to the quality requirements
that different teams may have.
3) What is the effort
involved in building my native ad unit?
Up until recently, native
ads were implemented only by publishers with big teams, on a case by
case basis with special effort required for every advertiser that
they integrated with. Clearly, this wasn’t a scalable model. The
need of the hour was customization in a standardized manner, which
allowed you to put in (maybe) a little extra effort and see instant
For all those who believe
that building a native ad unit is too tedious, we have enough
examples of developers who have created their own custom JSON (2 minutes), integrated with
the InMobi SDK (5 lines), tested and gone live in less than 1 day.
How is that for speed?
4) Do native ads
perform better than banner ads?
The most frequently asked
question for anything new is the revenue upside - after all, the
effort has to justify the result. Native ads are not new in the
industry and have already been popular on desktop for quite some
time. Can you think of the most common native ad that you see, daily?
While the desktop world
boasted of 1-2% CTR on native ads, mobile users seem to be more
welcoming of this new ad experience. CTRs on native ads are 8X higher
than traditional formats on the InMobi Network and advertisers are
seeing 6X higher conversions.
5) Where should I
integrate the native ad unit?
All good things in life
come with a caveat and native ads are no different. Great performance
requires great placement. It would be unfair to bury the native ad
behind several scrolls and taps and then expect higher eCPMs. Just
like banners or interstitials, it is important to ensure that the
native ad unit should be on the most used screens of your mobile
property, within the viewable area of the user.
6) Do I need an
advertorial team to create messaging for every Native Ad?
Traditionally, native ads
were adopted and promoted by publications and brands. When the scheme
of things was limited to 1:1 relationships between the publisher and
advertiser, it was probably feasible to hire a separate “advertorial”
team to craft unique messaging for every such relationship.
But with so many app
categories and properties now finding face time with the user, no one
has the luxury to craft different messaging for every advertiser, nor
would it be a scalable model. Advertisers who leverage the reach and
targeting capabilities of ad networks like InMobi create a common
messaging for all publishers and use it to reach out to their
7) Will my users accept
native ads or is it considered deceptive?
Not if you clearly mark
every native ad unit as an “Ad” or “Sponsored” content.
Since the launch of Android and the proliferation of mobile usage
amongst the masses, mobile users have come to accept ads in their
apps as a small price for free usage. As long as the ad is clearly
marked and does not try to deceive the user into clicking by posing
as other content, you are good to go.
While ad networks do not
mandate the use of visible tags like “Ad” and “Sponsored”
legally, app stores have started ousting apps which do not clearly
demarcate an ad. Ultimately, the choice is yours.