How Native Helps Unlock the Mobile Community

by Becky Chappell, Google

Native advertising isn’t a new thing. Advertisers have always wanted to get their brands and messages in front of consumers in a way that matches the form and function of the content people like to listen to or read.

But as consumption patterns have changed to favor smaller screens, the ad experiences we've been using no longer fit.

We’ve spent the last couple years as an industry improving content experiences for smaller screens – adopting new standards and building mobile optimized websites. Mobile experiences now feature big buttons and fonts, and new interaction models such as vertical scrolling and horizontal swiping.

While our content experiences have evolved, our ads have not, at least not in a scalable way. This mismatch between the mobile content experience and mobile ad experience is preventing advertisers and publishers from maximizing the opportunities in a cross-screen world.

Native advertising presents a solution. A “Native Ad” is an advertisement that fits the form and function of a publisher’s content. These are paid ads that are cohesive with the content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior, so that the viewer feels like the ad fits seamlessly with their content experience.

Native campaigns used to depend on endless arrays of custom templates tailored for each platform and publisher. These levels of customization required a sizeable effort from advertisers and publishers and put large strains on campaign timelines and budgets. This lack of scale led publishers and advertisers to assume running a native campaign meant trading off between building engaging creative assets and maintaining programmatic efficiency.

When we started planning to build a programmatic native solution in DoubleClick, we knew that we needed to create something scalable and flexible, in addition to enabling engaging and impactful ads. So we built a component-based solution, which allows a set of creative elements to be configured automatically to fit the form and function of any site or app.

This means that publishers can set the styles they want for their ads in a central library, advertisers simply submit their assets (image, logo, headline, etc.), and the system automatically compiles the assets into the native styles for every publisher’s site or app. In this way, native ads can fit the form and function of any publisher’s content, at scale, and publishers have access to the full gamut of advertiser demand for their native inventory.

Although we’ve made great strides in getting the industry to start adopting native ads, there are still some challenges that we need to overcome, before beautiful and engaging native ads can become the norm. These include:

  1. The ability for advertisers to achieve third-party viewability measurement over RTB
  2. Education, awareness and more design tools for publishers, to get them thinking carefully about designing native experiences for their specific content environments
  3. Education and awareness for advertisers, to help them understand that storytelling and beautiful visuals need to come first for native ads, where the medium drives the messaging.

We hope to see the industry continue to move in this direction so that we can provide consumers with better brand experiences across screens.

Becky Chappell, Google

Becky Chappell, Google

About the Author: Becky oversees product marketing for DoubleClick Creative Solutions, which encompasses DoubleClick Studio, Google Web Designer, dynamic creative, and creative formats and workflows across the stack. This involves developing go-to-market strategy for new product features, crafting and executing the narratives sent into market around programmatic and creative, and engaging existing customers with on-going events, communications and resources.