Mobile Meets Native Advertising

Native advertising is engaging, inconspicuous, and highly convertible. So no wonder it’s becoming one of the most popular ad type in online marketing these days. Mobile activity is also on the rise. So, naturally digital ads quickly began taking advantage of this newer terrain.

This isn’t about choosing between mobile vs desktop. It’s in an advertisers’ best interest to make the user’s transition between their ads across different devices as seamless as possible. Most online magazines and eCommerce sites are quick to make their applications accessible in desktop, mobile-web, and mobile-app environments to capture the user’s attention on any platform. 

But first, let’s make sure you’re familiar with the basics. 

What is Native Advertising?

The main feature that sets native advertising aside from the other forms of digital ads is its ability to mimic the style and content of the source. You are probably well aware of it both as an advertiser and as a user. But just in case, make sure you understand the role of native ads in digital marketing and read our recent blog post about this hot ad format! 

Why are Mobile Native Ads Different?

Unlike desktop ads, mobile native advertising has two platforms to advertise on: web and app. Mobile-web is done through a mobile browser, while mobile-app runs from a mobile app a user downloads on their device. 

Mobile-Web vs Mobile-App Native Advertising

So, you might be thinking: “What’s the difference between these two besides the fact that a user has to download one to use it?” Seems like more work, why not just stick to mobile-web advertising instead? You can just adjust your desktop ads to fit smaller screens of mobile devices. 


Mobile apps can be a quality source of traffic for many different aspects. The major differences between mobile-web and mobile-app traffic include:

  1. User tracking
  2. Access to user data
  3. Ad blockers

Let’s take a closer look at each of them to understand how exactly mobile native advertising is different.

User Tracking

Like desktop browsers, mobile-web relies on cookies to track users. Due to GDPR and other user privacy rules, users are often prompted to accept or opt-out of cookies. Without cookies you can’t identify who has seen your ad in their mobile browser. In mobile apps, users are traced by their Device ID. This Device ID can then be used to identify unique users and other valuable demographic information.

Access to User Data

Since user tracking comes from cookies in mobile-web traffic, our insight about the user is based on their web activity (ie. most frequent websites, favorite shops, etc.). We are left to make assumptions about their age or gender based on their web activity, which can be quite a gamble. 

Mobile apps, however, are able to collect information like the type of a device, OS, gender, age, carrier, and GPS location among other things. Mobile apps can then select what user’s demographic information they want to send to their advertising partners. 

Voluum ad tracker can cooperate with AppsFlyer and other mobile attribution platforms to track your mobile campaign data. This way you will get the complete overview of all your marketing efforts. Voluum will track your web and mobile campaigns, so you will see your total cost and revenue.

Ad Blockers

This is a big one. You already know ad blockers are bad news for desktop-web browsing. You might even be using one right now. Browsers even have built-in ad blockers so that users don’t have to proactively install any. Yet, this is not the case of mobile apps, as ad blockers cannot universally block in-app native advertisements.

Does this mean you should only run native advertisements on mobile app traffic? Not at all. Every traffic type has its pros and cons, mostly influenced by pricing. You should never rule out desktop or mobile-web traffic just because mobile-app traffic might have more user data. Cheaper traffic can often perform better for certain offers, but this takes a period of testing traffic to find out. 

So now that we’ve agreed that no traffic type is perfect for any offer, let’s move on to some science. 

Mobile Native Advertising for the Users

A study done at the University of Antwerp, Belgium demonstrates how users reacted to mobile native advertising on news apps. The results can be narrowed down to three key takeaways:

  • Users don’t actually hate ads, they just want them to be relevant
  • Users would rather see native ads than video or display banner ads
  • People react positively to native ads when they are done right

And here’s what it means for your campaigns.

Users Want Relevant Ads

When readers were questioned about different examples of native ads, they evaluated the ads based on the content quality and if the ads fulfilled their expectations. As such, if the ad’s headline had an interesting topic but on the click-through the article was a blatant commercial sales pitch, the ad was rated poorly. If, however, the ad had a topic the user was interested in and the content matched the quality of the magazine they’re advertising on, the ad was received well. 

And how to make sure you show the right thing to the right crowd? Use an ad network or a DSP that has a lot of traffic targeting options. But this will only get you so far. Grab an ad tracker such as Voluum and A/B test different ad sets and identify profitable portions of your traffic.

Users Prefer Native Ads Over Other Ad Types

Users enjoy perceived control. When they were shown pre-roll video or banner ads, they preferred native ads. They explained it by saying that native ads are less obtrusive and give users the ability to choose whether to engage with the advertisement or not. Publishers need to understand this, because unhappy users not only waste advertiser money, they also drive users away from using their applications again.

Users Don’t Mind Native Advertising Done Right

When asked about native advertisements in mobile news apps, most users understood that this revenue model is essential for the news magazine to remain free of charge. Readers preferred browsing free news with appropriate native advertising as opposed to paid memberships free of advertising.

The Future of Mobile Native Advertising

This study, as well as the popularity of mobile activity, has given advertisers an opportunity to engage users in a friendly way. People aren’t as oblivious to advertising as they used to be, but they are also more understanding about seeing advertisements while web browsing. That is if the ads manage to stay relevant. 

This is good news because it means that users aren’t ignoring ads. Since users care about what ads are shown to them, they are likely to convert when the right creative and offer is shown to them. The key is to target wisely and analyze recorded data. Even unprofitable campaigns teach you how to run better ads in the future and help create blacklists with bad placements.

Your ad network’s tracking system will only get you so far. Usually, it is very basic and does not provide detailed information on what actually works. Don’t believe us?

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