Share

Trust me Google Search

Everyone is suddenly jumping into the Native advertising bandwagon. And that’s the only right direction. Banners are dead, they just don’t know it yet: no one pays attention anymore, click throughs are ridiculous, fraud rate are crazy high, users (and advertisers) are just ignoring them. 

So what’s the solution on mobile? Integrating ads in the content and the experience. Google started years ago, before mobile came up. Facebook came up next, although their latest ad network, FAN is kind of native-ish since most of it are just, banners….Twitter has joined, Yahoo, AOL, Pinterest…the train is packed.

But is that necessarily a recipe for success? Well, it depends how you look at it and how you implement it. 

We believe the first currency of native advertising is user trust, not CTR or eCPM. If you decide to go all the way and really blend ads in the content or the user experience you have to make sure your users understand perfectly, without thinking twice what you’re doing. 

Let’s look at some examples of the new practices launched by the big guys..

This is Yahoo new native format, launched today [ update: debate on Twitter with Yahoo ad team]

 

Yahoo Launches Mobile First Native Ads with Larger Photos

 

Here another example of how Yahoo implement and disclose native ads on mobile.  Take a good guess!

IPhoto

This is Pinterest native format, launched also today

Pinterest Launches Paid Ads With Select Brands In Form Of Promoted Pins TechCrunch

This is AOL/HuffPo native format announced a few weeks ago

 

Screenshot 5 12 14 8 41 AM

 

This is another one spotted on a popular mobile website called Distractify

Fullscreen 5 12 14 8 47 AM

What’s wrong with all of those?

It is really hard to understand an ad is an ad.  You’re presented the ad, as content – first. If your eye stops at the content, or browse fast (as often on mobile) there is no way to understand this is an ad. The disclosure is so small and placed so low that it takes your eye/brain an extra step to understand what you just saw. It’s as if you were watching a TV show, with an ad undisclosed and only at the end you’d get “Oh, by the way, that was an ad”

This is just wrong. No wonder some think journalism has surrendered to “evil ads” [note that the journalist here wrong mistakes native ads to paid editorial content which is very limitative]

An ad, has to be fully and obviously disclosed. Native ads is just a new ways for publishers to dialog with their users, even more than traditional ads. So they have a responsibility about what’s said and how it is said.  

The practice of blending ads in the content should not discount the necessity of obvious disclosure. Fail in doing this well and users will soon stop trusting your service or your ads because you tried to deceive them. Not everyone will realize it but enough that a few vocal users start to complain and brands will also start to panic. And if you have any doubt this will happen, take a look at this. Or at this great video documentary [min 8”]. Or here

Main Window

Is there a solution to that? yes, an easy one (one we apply in every single of our format). Disclose the ad from the very beginning in a obvious visual signal/text. Don’t make users guess, Don’t wait the “end” of the message to disclose it.  Don’t call ads “App you’ll love” or “Great content for you”. Just call it “Ad”  or “Promotion” or “Sponsored”. There is no lack of right words

This is for example how we would have implemented native ads on Pinterest. 

NewImage

 

Big platforms have the to lead the way. Common sense is mostly what’s needed here. So if we all have to reinvent what’s next for mobile ads, let’s avoid the pitfalls of deception because we’ll all loose. Trust is what we need to build. Trust with advertisers and trust with users.

  • relish

    How is you example better than the others?? Same exact thing! To me, native ads are much better in my opinion. Especially if they get more targeted towards my interest. Yahoo had a native stream ad the other day that recognized I was a Raiders fan and offered me merchandise. I clicked. The new Yahoo Food magazine site offered me a sponsored ad for a recipe on an Inside Out Burger (yum!)…I clicked. AND I wasn;t taken off the site, which i HATE with a passion with banner ads.

    And native ads are a thousand times better than pop ups and flashy, stupid mortgage rate banners….you can’t deny that!!

    • http://ouriel.typepad.com OurielOhayon

      Hi Matt!

      I see you work at Yahoo! so it’s going to be even easier to explain. Our point has absolutely nothing to do with targetting. Banners and popups have targetting to

      I am referring to respecting user’s trust by clearly disclosing from the very first pixel your ad in an ad.

      In the case of Yahoo for example, the first 2 lines are not about disclosure. and in the second example nothing is about disclosure except a blurry $ symbol (go figure)

      This is kind of worrying to me that a company whose mission is media and ads can’t understand those elementary rule

      All the rest you re describing is totally secondary to the experience if the 1st rule of integrity is not respected

      • Matt

        A lot more people will trust the ad if it’s related to the content. Value in the ad brings trust. Users are savvy these days. This isn’t the 90’s anymore. Users will decide if they want to click or not.

        • http://ouriel.typepad.com OurielOhayon

          Matt you can t be serious? an ad does not bring trust in anyway, if the mechanism used to deliver it is deceptive to the user. You seem to be under the impression that because it is integrated in the flow of the experience and the content, that s enough to get the user to accept it and tolerate it. But that’s just wrong because you have not warned him you got paid to display that.

          Matt, i hope your company (Yahoo) is not thinking as you do!

          • Matt

            Absolutely serious. As a data analyst I can’t ignore the data. I’ve seen some of the results so far and the future looks bright. :) Cheers

          • http://ouriel.typepad.com OurielOhayon

            Sorry Matt, you don t measure trust by ways of CTR. You measure trust by talking to people, by asking people if they really understood if what they saw was an ad and that they interacted with is as such. You measure trust by seeing those same users not ignoring your ads 90+% of the time. You measure trust by watching your customers feedback system, not being insulted for deceiving their users. You measure trust by not having the FCC asking you explanations about this or about that. You measure trust by having the industry considering you as a gold standard for best practice.

            This is how you “measure” trust.

          • 03 July Apps Creator

            You are so right Ouriel, excellent arguments