Native advertising is about doing away with distributive interstitials and floating banner ads to instead focus on promoting sponsored content alongside natural mobile experiences. At The Native Advertising Summit in San Francisco presented by Sharethrough, top mobile ad networks shared advertising case studies, user feedback, and the revenue impact of implementing native. The great equalizer that brought brands together at the conference around the native ad format was the incentive on producing high quality content and continually testing performance results. Here is how the top mobile ad networks define their native ad formats:
Tram Nguyen, Head of Product Marketing at Pinterest shared early learnings from their Promoted Pins and related promoted search topics in Guided Search launched earlier this year. One key insight was how vertical images performed up to 3x better compared to horizontal images due to their inline display. Vertical images fit nicely as users scroll through Pinterest boards on their mobile phone. Another key area was Guided Search which connects related search topics and provides a brand listening tool for the types of native content that brands should create. Pinterest continues to promote their users as having intent to purchase although they haven’t fully rolled out commerce to measure conversion.
Yahoo / Tumblr
Joe Stephens, Yahoo’s Sr. Search & Native Ads Strategy Manager, detailed the launch of Yahoo’s Gemini native ad format and how Tumblr is playing a key role for consuming branded content. Yahoo Gemini focuses on large graphic images and includes related branded content alongside your daily entertainment newsfeed. Branded Tumblr pages live on through the reblog; In fact 30% of content engagement happens after 30 days of the original post, which is nearly unheard of in the internet viral news cycle. Joe also went on record saying Yahoo will never get rid of its famous yodel.
While Facebook did not present on stage at the Native Advertising Summit, its proven itself as a mobile ad revenue powerhouse. Sponsored posts in mobile news feeds are reported to have lead to a 61% increase in revenue from quarterly numbers. If there is a market leader in what is considered native advertising, it’s Facebook.
Sharethrough markets itself as the native solution for the rest of the internet with top publisher clients including Forbes and USA Today. Sharethrough’s ad exchange and publisher tool focus on “content, content, and content”, to keep the focus on quality and high engagement levels as it scales the market for native ad formats. Next year Sharethrough says it will be a 100% native in-feed monetization platform eclipsing it’s former self as a video seeding network. Sharethrough also suggests if you’re a buyer you should demand 100% viewability in native, a key metric where the standard display ad banner can’t compete without disrupting the mobile user experience and offers a complete Native Advertising Resource Guide for more ideas.
David Thacker, Vice President of Product at LinkedIn was first to talk on stage about the same day acquisition of B2B ad network Bizo. LinkedIn’s ever expanding native offerings include Sponsored Jobs, Sponsored InMail, Sponsored SlideShares, and now Sponsored Updates as content. The ad product suite on LinkedIn is forming around its transition from the online resume to a professional content hub.
From looks of it, the mobile banner ad has a lot of to worry about as the best performing units in mobile today are native and video.