This sponsored post is produced in association with YeahMobi.

The drumbeat around native mobile advertising has been intense lately. And with good reason. Consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices — and their beloved mobile apps — than ever before. As such, native ads (like this one!) have become a great way to promote content without interfering with the user experience.

By definition, mobile native ads blend in with the natural experience of the app they appear in. Native ads drive deeper engagement, so brands prefer them. And because they are more subtle and less obvious than conventional banner ads, native gives users the opportunity to discover ads more naturally.

Recent research from Polar Mobile reveals that 79 percent of publishers are implementing native advertising on mobile. And it’s no wonder why. Overall click-through-rates on native ads are 50 percent higher on mobile compared to the same content on the desktop.

As app publishers integrate more mobile native ads into their products, they still need to get over a few humps and bumps in the process. Without further hoopla, the following best practices will lead to better user experiences and increased buying actions.

#1. Keep it real

Native ads work because they blend in with the content around them. That’s all good and wonderful, but at the same time, you never want to trick users into thinking they’re clicking on actual content. That’s just bad form.

Instead, follow the IAB native ad guidelines and keep your ads transparent, so users can tell they’re paid-for-content, not editorial content.

You can do this visually with shading or by using a different font color to create contrast and distinguish the native ad from the rest of the content. Textually, be sure to clearly label a native ad as “sponsored,” “ad,” or “promoted by” — whatever works best for your app.

You’ll also want to adhere to Google Play ad guidelines and Apple App marketing guidelines. Not doing so could get you banned from app stores.

#2. Strive for clarity at all times

Another way to maintain transparency in native ads is to stick with clear and simple messages. Use click-worthy headlines that don’t baffle or confuse the reader, but instead get users intrigued and wanting to learn more.

Additionally, steer clear of loud colors, images, or shapes. There’s no room for loud on mobile, especially when it comes to more subtle ads, like icon ads that appear inline with a user’s selection of apps and widgets.

And don’t get too promotional either. Instead, aim to engage your users without becoming too boastful about the brand. And whenever possible, match your content to the voice of the app it appears in.

The more authentic and real a promoted piece feels, the better the user experience. A good user experience is what drives buying actions.

#3. Offer users something of value

When developing an ad, think about engaging the user, as opposed to selling or cajoling the user into doing anything. Good content is compelling.

Mobile users click on ads that deliver value. The way to deliver value is to address the audience. If you’re the publisher of a health food app, you don’t want to be pushing donuts and milkshakes. Instead, show users ads related to fitness that deliver useful health information.

The key is to avoid blanket campaigns. Get specific in your ad content and your creative. And pay keen attention to feedback from users. If a type of ad display gets negative feedback, acknowledge that and change tactics.

#4. Test your ad to find out what works

Slight differences in a design or a headline can produce dramatically different results. The only way to know what works and what doesn’t is through A/B testing — where you try out two different variables (A and B) of an ad simultaneously to see what brings the best results.

It sounds like a simple, straightforward concept, but A/B testing can be tricky, and brands often neglect this important step. Don’t rush. Take time to optimize your campaigns. Invest in content that’s proven to deliver better results, and you’ll earn bigger dividends in the long run.

While Google and Facebook offer ad networks geared toward the major players, independent native ad platforms like YeahMobi, which bundle A/B testing in with their optimization platform, are uniquely designed for small to medium app publishers. Strong performance data tells you where the clicks are, so you can grow campaigns and monetize your apps.

#5. Think mobile, mobile, mobile

As you design your ad, think how it will fit with the mobile user experience. Is the content relevant to a mobile user? Can a user consume the content on a device with a small screen? How will the ad appear across platforms? And will a user be able to share the content easily across social channels?

Mobile app users are always updating their apps and preferences. Likewise, you want to keep your ad campaigns fresh as well. It is important to regularly switch out creative to keep users engaged. And keep a close eye on app store feedback. If you receive negative reviews because you’re displaying ads too frequently, dial things down a notch.

Similarly, if users comment that an in-feed ad takes up too much space, is too small to read, or just makes the app harder to use, adjust your campaign accordingly. A solid native ad platform like YeahMobi will allow you to easily update your ad display format and settings on-the-fly, both from within your app and from a native ad dashboard.

Mobile users never sit still, nor should native ads. Keep your native ads transparent, clear, and on point. Along with that, invest in a native ad platform that provides solid analytics and performance data, so you can continually fine-tune your campaign — and roll with the changes.

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