This sponsored post is produced in association with Facebook’s Audience Network.
When it comes to native advertising, some mobile app publishers are still squeamish about making the dive. After all, when you consider banner ads have been around for more than two decades, native advertising is still relatively new. As such, it’s taken a while for some publishers to sink their teeth into the idea.
Because native advertising is a fairly new concept, some fuzziness still exists as to what a native ad is. As a basic definition, native advertising is a paid-for ad that appears on a publisher’s site or mobile app and blends in with existing content.
The main benefit of native ads is they are less invasive than other ads, so they help preserve the user experience. The more a native ad mimics the surrounding content — and the more optimally it’s timed to appear within an app — the better it performs.
That said, some publishers are under the impression native ads require extensive design resources, or that there isn’t enough advertiser demand for them. Others aren’t sure how to integrate native ads into their content. Let’s meet the three native ad myths head on and expose them for what they are.
Myth #1: Native ads are difficult to implement
Because of a long-standing reliance on traditional banner ads, publishers have built up a perception that doing anything other than the no-brainer 320×50 rectangle is going to cause grief.
But that’s not necessarily the case. Just as consumers have moved beyond banners — learning to ignore them in the form of banner blindness — so have some mobile ad platforms by providing far more effective custom ad tools.
Take, for example, Facebook’s Audience Network, a mobile ad network that enables Facebook advertisers to extend their reach into third-party mobile apps.
Developers who use Audience Network to monetize their apps no longer have to settle for a sticky banner ad that goes on the top or bottom of their app. Instead, Audience Network offers an SDK toolset that puts developers in the driver’s seat, giving them granular control over the look and feel, size, and location of ads.
Starting with native ad templates, developers can adjust the font, ad height, background color, button border treatment of ads and more. As a result, publishers can now integrate native ads organically into their mobile apps to create a better, less interruptive, and more seamless experience for users.
Myth #2: There is not enough advertiser demand for native inventory
One reason for the slow take-off of native advertising boils down to a simple chicken-and-egg problem. Publishers are reluctant to release native ad inventory until they see an increase in advertiser demand. Yet advertisers aren’t buying native ads because they’re held back by lack of quality inventory. Something has to give.
Fortunately, change is in the air. Evidence indicates native ads are beginning to thrive and will continue to grow in coming years. According to data from Polar, 40 percent of publishers expect native advertising to drive one-fourth or more of their digital revenue in 2015. And data released by BI Intelligence finds that spending on native ads will reach $7.9 billion this year and grow to $21 billion in 2018.
What’s more, with its robust pool of over 2 million active advertisers, Facebook has helped eliminate the chicken-and-egg dilemma. Additionally, every single Facebook ad is already native-enabled, meaning developers can easily access all of Facebook’s demand regardless of what format the ads currently exist in.
Myth #3: Native is only for feed-based apps
True, in-feed is a common implementation for native ads — but it’s not the only implementation. Developers in all app categories, including games, utility, and music, are finding innovative ways to customize ad units to match the look and feel of their apps.
If you’re a developer who wants to implement native ads, the question you want to ask should be: How can I extend the function and placement of my ad in a way that drives results for advertisers while preserving the user experience?
If you’re a news app, you might want to go with an ad that is formatted like the other stories in your app. If you’re a game or a music listening app, you’ll find presenting ads at the right time and the right place — so as not to interrupt the internal workflow of the app or the user’s operational workflow — is critical to the user experience.
As smart publishers are learning, showing the right ads to the right people drives higher user engagement and conversion rates — exactly what advertisers want to see. In turn, this drives better value for the advertiser, making it easier for you to monetize your app.
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