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Examining the MMA’s Mobile Native Ads Guidance Report

The MMA issues recommendations on mobile native ads, just as top digital publishers are doubling down on them

We’re not even through the first week of 2016, and this is already our second digital publishing trends post on native advertising. That should tell all of us in the industry something about the direction digital advertising revenue opportunities are moving in! Today, it’s mobile native ads, specifically.

After Monday’s post on the Federal Trade Commission’s new native policies, today we’re taking a look at the Mobile Marketing Association’s guidance report on mobile native ads, via MediaPost, which also has articles on the NYT’s and WaPo’s branded content adventures and more.

Mobile Native Ads Get MMA Guidelines

Like the FTC, the MMA also chose the tail-end of 2015 to get official on mobile native ads, issuing a guidance report that focuses on four areas, MediaPost reports:  relevancy, transparency, creative optimization, and measurement

“The report’s findings reveal that mobile native advertising is quite effective in engaging consumers. ‘More specifically, when optimized for frequency of exposure, mobile native advertising performed as much as 10 times better compared to mobile display advertising at similar frequency,’ the report found. If that’s true, native is pretty compelling — but its performance isn’t always so easy to measure,” Tobi Elkin writes.

She continues:

“For publishers, the MMA recommends: 1. Building trust with readers by disclosing that a unit is an ad, along with the name of the advertiser. (This seems rather obvious. Of course native ads and content should be labeled! Many publishers do a good job with this, but some do not.) 2. Identifying the most appropriate placements within mobile sites to balance content with ads. (This is so vague — what are the most appropriate placements? 3. Creating a more persistent awareness of ad units by modulating the refresh rates based on the content type and user behavior. (This makes sense).”

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The New York Times Is Maximizing Native Advertising Content …

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the NYT is succeeding with native ads, MediaPost reports.

“There was zero revenue in 2013. In 2014, year one, $13 million in revenue. This year I think over $35 million of revenue. I expect it to do $50-$60 million of revenue next year. It’s just a rapidly growing business,” NYT CEO Mark Thompson told Harvard Business Review Editor-in-Chief Adi Ignatius at Business Insider’s Ignition Conference.

“We believe there’s a market for high-quality journalism and that people will pay for it. We also believe the people who are prepared to spend the money, time, and attention it takes to absorb high-quality journalism are also of preferential value to advertisers. That’s the core of our model.”

… and The Washington Post Isn’t Far Behind

Meanwhile, The Washington Post, which has surged past the Times in terms of online traffic, is also integrating native, albeit behind the pace of their counterpart. The Post recently announced InContext, a new ad product, MediaPost reports.

“InContext uses native ads adjacent to regular editorial content to link to branded content from WaPo’s BrandStudio platform,” Erik Sass writes.

“The format selects quotes from the branded content that are relevant to the editorial content, then showcases them in boxes marked as content provided by the sponsor, along with the sponsor’s visual branding.”

So, Why Are Online Publishers Embracing Native?

Jessica Reuben outlines for MediaPost’s Native Insider the five reasons digital magazines and other publishers love native advertising content, including mobile native ads, and it’s tough to disagree with her conclusions.

Rebuen writes that sponsored content leads to increased audience engagement, creative showcasing, more repeat business, first-to-market opportunities, and better brand alliance.

Are you embracing native? What are your thoughts on the MMA’s new guidance report for mobile native ads? Let us know in the comments!

To read more about mobile native ads in the news, visit MediaPost.

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