Native ads are one of the hot new forms for the old persuasive mode of advertising. This week, mobile ad platform Airpush announced it has bought Hubbl, a mobile ad discovery and personalization provider, and predicted they will jointly create the world’s first comprehensive native ad platform for mobile devices. The acquisition price was reportedly US$ 15 million.

The term "native ads" describes advertising that takes advantage of its interactive environment. They include such things as promoted tweets and sponsored stories on Facebook. There are ideological arguments about whether it is just a new name for something that’s been around for a while, like advertorials and other kinds of sponsored content. But arguably there is something new about, say, a brand’s Pinterest board.


Asher Delug, Founder and CEO of Airpush, said in a statement that “Facebook and Twitter have created a lot of hype around native advertising on mobile, but the reality is that the technology hasn’t been accessible for mainstream app developers.” He added that Hubbl has “redefined the category by building the first truly scalable and effective platform for in-app native advertising.”

Hubbl, based in New York City and India, has been working on advanced personalization technology for mobile to create targeted in-app content experiences. On its Web site, Hubbl primarily promotes its mobile app finders for Android and iOS devices because its native mobile ads technology is not yet launched. Reportedly, the company’s approach relies on content relevance and personalized targeting and will be beta tested as a SDK and API later this year. Although native ads come in a wide and ever-expanding variety, it’s not yet clear if Hubbl’s technology will address a few or a wide variety of approaches. Airpush has a mobile ad ecosystem for over 120,000 apps.

Launched in January

The idea is that personalized, contextual native advertising is more engaging for mobile users and therefore will get better responses than other kinds of mobile ads. Even more than on computers or tablets, ads on mobile are difficult to pull off because of the small screens, varying device functions and mobile users’ notoriously short attention span.

The near-term fruit of Airpush’s acquisition, a fully integrated native advertising platform, is expected to be launched in January with the goal of increasing the advertising earning potential of app developers. Airpush claims the platform will offer easy integration, better user experience and advanced personalization capabilities.

What are your thoughts on personalized, contextual native advertising? Do you find it more engaging than other types of advertising?