With mobile ads an increasingly important revenue stream for social networks and native ads all the rage among brands, it was only a matter of time before companies started to make use of native apps for mobile. But with so many different mobile sites out there, it's still a hassle for marketers to adapt to all the different mobile publishing sites.
Now Sharethrough, a company whose technology enables companies to create and manage native ads, has launched a product that it claims makes it easier for brands to publish native ads on mobile. The company says that its new Sharethrough Mobile platform allows brands to promote sponsored content within the stream of a publisher's mobile site, automatically giving the ads the look and feel of each site they appear on.
"Today's options for mobile advertising don't provide a user experience that matches the quality of the devices we hold in our pockets, nor do they provide publishers with a simple way to integrate brands into their content experience," the company said in a statement today.
Sharethrough says its platform automatically identifies the style elements of any mobile web page such as fonts, colors, and lightboxes, then matches each ad to those attributes in real time. It also enables them to match any future updates to the style template, so if a publisher changes their design, the ad remains consistent with the new style elements.
Brands including Cruzan Rum, Sauza Tequila, and Pepsi are already using Sharethrough technology for sponsored content; Sauza Tequila is running its "Make It With a Lifeguard" video series using the platform and Pepsi is distributing the video Pepsi Beyoncé "Mirrors" to mobile. Publishers People, Forbes, and food blog Serious Eats have also incorporated the technology into their mobile websites.
"We've steadily seen our mobile traffic growing at Serious Eats and are excited about new mobile monetization options that provide a quality user experience. Sharethrough Mobile offers us a new native mobile advertising option that we are confident our users will appreciate," Jennifer Weinberg, senior executive director, sales at Serious Eats, told ClickZ in an email.
Separately, Sharethrough also today published the results of a study in conjunction with IPG Media on the effectiveness of native ads. The study compared the reactions of 4,770 consumers to native and banner ads, which included campaigns from National Geographic and Southern Comfort. The study also used eye-tracking technology on 200 of the participants to gauge their reactions to the various ads.
The study found that participants looked at native ads 53 percent more frequently than banner ads, and viewed native ads 4.1 times on average per session compared to banner ads, which were viewed 2.7 times on average per session. The native ads also drew more eyeballs, with 25 percent more consumers looking at in-feed native ad placements than banner ad units. Study participants were more likely to share native ads, with 32 percent saying the ad was one they would share with a friend or family members, vs. only 19 percent for banner ads. The consumers also professed to a purchasing intent after viewing a native ad that was found to be 18 percent higher than for those who watched banner ads. Also, more of those watching native ads said the brand was one they personally identified with. Some 71 percent of those who had previously bought a product from a specific advertiser made that statement, compared to 50 percent of those who viewed the banner ads.
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Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.
March 19, 2014