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Native advertising is quickly becoming one of the the most popular and effective forms of online advertising. Banners and other types of traditional display ads are increasingly being swapped out for more user-friendly native advertisements, much to the enjoyment of publishers, advertisers, and users alike. With the online overhaul of native advertising happening in full force, it’s only a matter of time before mobile catches up.

To learn more about native advertising as it relates to mobile, we sat down with Jud Bowman, CEO of mobile user acquisition network Appia for an exclusive interview. To find out about the current state of native advertising on mobile, how publishers can capitalize on native ads, and even get Jud’s personal tips, read the full interview below.

How do you see native advertising affecting the mobile marketing industry? Will it change things as significantly as native ads have done on the web?

Native advertising is already making a major impact on the mobile marketing industry. Even more so than on the web, maintaining a cohesive user experience is critical to the success of a mobile campaign—which is why native ads and other mobile-first strategies are becoming the predominant marketing method. With banner ad blindness, marketers must continue to gravitate toward formats that embrace a more cohesive app or mobile web experience, which ultimately prove higher user engagement and ROI.

How can publishers use mobile native ads to their advantage?

The goal is not to disturb the user experience. Native ad formats are a great opportunity to integrate in-app or in-browser advertising without invasive ad units. Effective native advertising feels like an extension of the app, not an intrusive interruption. Discovery Ads help satisfy mobile marketers’ desire for custom content in a scalable, creative way.

How can advertisers expect to benefit from native advertising on mobile?

Similarly to publishers, advertisers reap the benefits of ads that fit the look and feel of the content consumers are already engaging with. Relevant, targeted native ads will attract users that genuinely want to interact with a mobile site or app, leading to higher lifetime value users in the long run and a greater return on advertising spend.

What are your top three tips for native advertising on mobile devices?

  • Make native fully transparent. Just because it’s native, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be discoverable. Native content should be clearly labeled in app or mobile web to ensure you are meeting user expectations as well as continuing to provide a compelling call-to-action.
  • Keep ads consistent with the look and feel of the site or app. For example, utilize the same fonts and colors. This ensures a cohesive user experience and can help improve click-through-rates while maintaining click-to-install rates.
  • Conduct variable testing—such as creative and frequency camping—to determine the most impactful ads.

Where do you see the mobile marketing industry going, specifically in terms of native advertising? In other words, what’s the future of native advertising on mobile?

It’s clear that native advertising is a game-changer for both mobile marketers and publishers. That being said, native is still in its early stages of adoption and the industry exploring ways to maximize impact and user experience.

Scalability is a common challenge. Unlike display ads which can be created and blasted to an unlimited number of people, native ads require more creative effort to match the tailoring of an app or site. As the process becomes more automated, there will be trade-offs—for example, advertisers may have less control over where their ads are shown.

Native ads, in combination with other mobile-first formats, will increasingly dominate the market moving forward. As I said before, banner ad usage is shifting as the industry strives toward targeted, relevant advertising.

Appia recently launched a product called “Discovery Ads” in December. Can you tell us what it does and how it works?

“Discovery Ads” are native advertising formats designed specifically to help our clients maximize revenue while maintaining the user experience of a mobile site or app. Unique to Appia, they are fully customizable and can be altered to match the look and feel of existing content. We offer creative optimization, such as call-to-action and imagery, so that our clients can conduct A/B testing to determine which ads are most successful in driving conversion and resonate with a particular audience.


It’s important to remember that the point of native advertising is not to trick a user into the clicking the ad. The content still needs to feel authentic, and there’s often a fine line. Keep in mind that an engaging yet relevant experience is what ultimately drives acquisition. The more targeted an advertisement, the greater the likelihood of attracting a high lifetime value user.

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Murray Newlands

Murray Newlands is an online marketing industry veteran, and the founder of TheMail.

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Murray Newlands

Murray Newlands

Murray Newlands is an online marketing industry veteran, and the founder of TheMail.

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