Struggling to decide between native ads and banner ads? You may want to consider what a recent eye-tracking study revealed. The study carried out by by Sharethrough and IPG Media Lab showed that native ads are more visually engaging than banner ads. And by visually engaging we mean that consumers looked at native ads 53% more frequently than banner ads and viewed native ads approximately 4 times per session. 



More Lift, More Loyalty

The study also showed that native ads drove higher brand lift for all campaigns, especially for respondents who had previously bought a product from the advertiser. Perhaps most interesting, though was that consumers indicated that native ads are being consumed the same way people view editorial content. Users’ visual attention for native ads was nearly equivalent to the visual engagement of original editorial content.

While it looks fairly definitive that native ads deliver the most promising results, it seems as if they are best suited for most strategic uses.  For marketers that actively creating original brand content, native ads offer added an opportunity to promote it, whereas for campaigns that are targeting brand loyalists, native ads have shown a strong ability to help people identify more deeply with the brand. 

Sharethrough Mobile Explores Native Ads

These results also serve to highlight a new product by Sharethrough aimed at powering native advertising across the mobile web. Sharethrough Mobile has been designed and tested to impact mobile monetization while maintaining the best user experience possible. 

Because native advertising has been shown to be more engaging for users, mobile advertisers and web publishers, alike can begin to leverage a user experience that matches the quality of the devices we hold in our pockets. How? By allowing brands to promote all of their original content including: videos, articles, posts, reviews and more. 

Sharethrough Mobile appears as part of the stream of content within a publisher’s mobile site, is labeled as sponsored content, and is automatically updated to match the look-and-feel of the organic site content. As a result, advertisers can promote their content in placements across the mobile web that are native and assume the look and feel of each site the ads appear on.

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Ads are also helped by Real Time Templating (RTT), a technology developed by Sharethrough, which allows the advertising platform to identify the style elements of any webpage (including fonts, colors, lightboxes, etc.) and match each ad to those attributes, in real time. Impressively, the RTT technology is able to match any future updates to the style template, so if a publisher changes their design, the ad will remain consistent with the new style elements.  

Based on the results from eye-tracking study, integrating native ads into the mobile user experience seems promising. However, sponsored native ads via social networks have come under scrutiny, indicating that consumers are skeptical of sponsored posts. Yet, optimizing native ads for better user experience is definitely worth exploring, because something tells us, they're not going away any time soon.  

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Perig