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Deep Dive on In-Feed Native Ads

Posted on July 23, 2015
By Tanvi Kapoor, Director - Product MarketingDirector - Product Marketing
and Kayla Wilson, Director of Programmatic PartnershipsDirector of Programmatic Partnerships

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took Romans years of vision and hard work to create a cultural heritage that delights people to this day. Native Advertising is like Rome. At the beginning, some marketers had the vision to create unobtrusive ads which fit into the app layout instead of standing out like a band-aid. As Native Advertising enjoys global adoption, it is imperative to refine the vision for native ads and create ad units that are better than their predecessors in experience and efficacy.

With this objective in mind, a small working group in the IAB Task Force on Content Marketing and Native Advertising, comprised of InMobi, ShareThrough, Yahoo and the IAB, set out to do a deep-dive on the most popular native ad unit, in-feed ads. The ultimate goal is to help refine the scope of the in-feed ad unit to fit into the publisher’s environment while maximizing the advertiser’s goals. After weeks of collaboration, we have come up with the following guidelines:

  • The publisher’s environment is more than just a layout - understanding the publisher’s context is important to identify the user’s mindset and intent, which in turn affects the campaign efficacy. Hence, the in-feed ad has been classified by the publisher context: Social Feed, Content Feed and Product Feed.
  • With different apps opting for different media forms to communicate with the user, it is important to identify the different forms the in-feed ad can take - video, story, app installs or products. This is literally the content of the ad unit.
  • Understanding the behavior of the ad itself is also important for different advertiser goals. Awareness and information can be driven through a detailed article (in-app or out of the app) or a video. Purchases and downloads can be driven by leading the user to the product detail page - the product webpage or the app store.
  • It is imperative to stress on the importance of disclosure. With native ads taking different forms, clearly calling out an advertised unit as ‘Sponsored’ or ‘Advertisement’ is mandatory if the user trust is to be maintained.

As native advertising evolves, we are bound to see new in-feed types emerge which can’t clearly be classified in any of the existing buckets. Like Rome, Native Advertising will take time to evolve to fulfill the vision of seamless advertising -ads which are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.

You can read the Deep Dive Document here.

This document was prepared by a working group within the IAB’s Content Marketing and Native Advertising Task Force groups which was led by Tanvi Kapoor and Kayla Wilson from InMobi along with committee co-chairs Dan Greenberg from Sharethrough and Graham Harris from Yahoo. Susan Borst, Director of Industry Initiatives, was the IAB lead. All members of the IAB Content Marketing and Native Advertising Task Force groups* had the opportunity to comment on the final draft.

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