How many articles about ad blocking have you read in the past three weeks? Probably a lot. This isn’t mere coincidence. Companies like Apple are realizing that mobile users hate ads and always have, which is why they aren’t hesitating to give users ad-blocking abilities.
It’s clear that everyone cares more about user experience than advertiser dollars, and rightfully so. The creative shift in digital advertising is happening right before our eyes.
The Final Transition From Banners
“Once an innovation becomes marginally accepted, its early success can quickly mushroom into dominance, even if pretty much everyone agrees that it is no good.” – Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times, Fall of the Banner Ad: The Monster That Swallowed the Web
Everyone in the advertising industry and web and mobile users have come to realize that banner ads ruin the user experience across virtually every channel. The reason banner ads were and still are so attractive to advertisers is because of their ability to be scaled and iterated rapidly, and surprisingly, they still work. However, banner CTRs are far from desirable. In fact, a lot of clicks can be attributed to fat thumbs or even fraud. The fact that banners show up in the wrong places is a targeting problem, not a creative problem. But banners are deemed to be annoyances even in the right places.
The good news is advertisers don’t have to settle for below 1% CTRs anymore. Programmatic advertising technology and banner ads were a perfect match, but the marriage may be over because of the shift towards native advertising combined with programmatic technology that’ll give advertisers the scale they need to fully adopt the native format.
Programmatic And Native In Holy Matrimony
Sponsored posts, branded content, there are many terms for what we consider to be native advertising. The way it has worked with sites like BuzzFeed is companies would pay companies like BuzzFeed to place their content natively on BuzzFeed’s site. In other words, a viewer won’t be able to fully distinguish between BuzzFeed content and branded content from third-party companies.
From an advertiser’s perspective this is brilliant because it takes away the one element that makes banner ads evil: no interruption. Taking it a step further into mobile, native ads have been instituted beautifully on several platforms, such as Instagram (below). But what’s the one thing that’s holding back advertisers and ad companies from fully adopting native? Making it programmatic.
Companies like MoPub, YieldMo, PubNative, and others have programmatic native solutions, and we can assume that everyone else in ad tech is cooking up something that smells like programmatic native. Simply put, programmatic native is here. The same scale that advertisers experience with banners they will be able to experience with native ads.
Tell It In A Video
Alongside all the programmatic native, ad blocking, and viewability talk is the buzz about video ads and their effectiveness. Videos are arguably the best consumable form of content on the web and mobile. physiologically, video evokes our sense of sight and hearing, something that’s left out with more traditional content, such as blog posts.
According to eMarketer, “spending on mobile video advertising will grow more than 70% to reach $2.62 billion in 2015—over one-third of the estimated $7.77 billion to be spent on digital video ads.” Furthermore, the popularity of YouTube tells you all you need to know about how video resonates with people.
Mobile video ad spend is soaring because mobile users are engaging with video more and more, and immersive, full-screen video experiences create more intimate experiences, which ultimately results in higher engagement. However, the format doesn’t come without challenges.
So what does this all suggest, from an advertising perspective? It suggests that we should equip advertisers with better creative formats that yield higher engagement rates and please everyone on both sides of the screen.
As someone in the ad tech industry, even I get annoyed when I’m interrupted with flashing banner ads, which is why I’m proud that the company I work for and our partners and comrades in the ad tech industry are making an effort to make advertising more delightful.
We can’t rely on ad creatives that annoy users and don’t work. The time to act on ad creative is now.
Read more: How Ad Tech Should Tackle Ad Fraud