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How e-retailers can engage mobile holiday shoppers with native ads

October 20, 2016 03:30 PM
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For the last few years, one of the growing trends in digital and mobile advertising has been native ads—ads that are designed to match the look and feel of the content next to which they run.

Related to the advertorials of yore, native ads gained prominence when advertisers sought out alternatives to the banner ads and their decreasing performance rates. Native ads are designed to be less intrusive than banner ads that shout CLICK HERE NOW, while providing a better user experience because they're better integrated with the content. Thus, it's no surprise that native ads are outperforming banner display ads on mobile devices.

But the icing on the cake for retailers is their performance. Our internal research has shown that native mobile ads outperform mobile banner ads significantly by generating a 30-40% higher click-through rate and double the conversion rate in the retail/shopping category.

Our research is supported by data from InMobi, which found that retail is the third-ranked category in terms of the greatest benefit from mobile native advertising after mobile apps and entertainment & news, and ahead of consumer electronics, automotive, telecom, consumer packaged goods and quick service restaurants.

So with less than a hundred days left until Christmas, retailers: It's time to implement your native mobile ad strategy. It's not too late.

Four reasons why native ads are gaining prominence for internet retailers

Over the last few years, one of the challenges that hampered the growth of native ads was the issue of scalability. Because native ads match the look and feel of the content around which they run, standardization of ad units has been a challenge due to the fact that each ad has to match the look and feel of the mobile web page OR app on which it's running. But with mobile web and in-app layouts and colors becoming more standardized over the last three years, marketers are having a much easier time creating native ads that scale. We've run campaigns with millions of impressions across a range of mobile publishers with only minor creative customization necessary, something not possible three years ago.

A second development that has simplified mobile native ad implementation is the standardization around the scalable 1200 x 627 pixel ad unit. Because this format can be scaled according to the needed proportions, it can run on almost any mobile website or mobile application, further streamlining native ad creative development.

A third development supporting native advertising is driven by their performance—publishers and other apps are more open to running native advertising than they used to be. With declining ad revenue from mobile banner ads, publishers who had previously resisted native ads or limited them to only their largest advertisers are now open to running them based on their performance and the revenue they now generate.

A fourth reason for the increased use of mobile native ads by online retailers is facilitated by the increase in content marketing. With retailers creating more videos and other forms of content for use on site or in-app and for other marketing purposes, they now have access to more creative that can be easily customized into native ads.

According to competitive intelligence solution Adbeat, subscription retailer the Dollar Shave Club is a big believer in native advertising, running native video ads, including direct response as well as testimonial native ads ("Here’s What Happened When I Tried Dollar Shave Club"). This strategy clearly worked for the company, which was acquired by consumer packaged goods giant Unilever in July for $1 billion, well above the $163.5 million raised by the Dollar Shave Club.

Online Retailers: As you head into the homestretch leading up to Christmas, make sure you're including native mobile ads in your marketing mix to ensure that you're maximizing ad performance opportunities while offering prospective consumers a relevant and non-intrusive way to engage with you.

YouAppi provides mobile advertising and analytics technology.

 

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