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Ignore mobile natives at your peril

In 2013 Morgan Stanley, one of the largest global financial services firms and people who know a thing or two about consumer research, predicted that in 2014 more internet activity would take place on mobiles than on desktop computers. The world did not stop turning but, for advertisers, maybe it should have done.

That is an extraordinary forecast given that internet capable smart phones did not even exist until 1999, barely fifteen years ago. Add to that the fact that global penetration for mobiles is now up to a staggering 95% of the 7 billion people in the world, according to Morgan Stanley, and it’s easy to see how the communications market is going to develop. Remember that in not too many years from now all of those phones will be smart phones.

Although these penetration stats are helped by the fact that it’s easier and cheaper in developing countries to leap straight to mobiles networks than evolve from land-lines, that does not change the underlying message. From now on the way to your customer’s heart is more likely to be through their mobile phone than their desktop. 

For native advertising this is very good news indeed, especially because such social leaders as Facebook and Linkedin, have also recognised that native advertising is a movement to be embraced enthusiastically. In fact many observers are predicting the hosting and publishing native advertising ‘advertorial’ content will be the major function and revenue stream for social media sites in the future. Native advertising specialists can help advertisers to gain a rapid ROI from their content by sharing their long experience of the evolution of social networks, identifying the best channels for each market segment.

However, the shift from desk top to smart phone does have implications for the quality and effectiveness of marketing formats. Text based ads of any description only have a click through rate (CTR) of around 0.3% from both mobile app and mobile web sources; but recent research has shown that video based ads achieve a CTR of 1.5% for apps and 1.1% on mobile net.

This could possibly be an issue where size really does matter and the smaller screen prohibits the effectiveness of the traditional mix of power headlines and attention grabbing fonts to prompt action. However, it could equally be yet another piece of evidence that native advertising is the way to go.

Good videos are powerful, they have an intrinsic value to the watcher both as a source of entertainment and a source of information, much more so than a smack-in-the-face banner headline. Video can convey so many messages with much more subtlety and, although this could do with some more research, we do seem to be prepared to spend more time with video media than with text based.

Of course, this is no surprise to those who are already converts to native advertising. Both consumer and B2B markets are, in effect, saying ‘stop trying to grab my interest with just a smart headline; earn my interest by giving me something that is genuinely interesting and relevant to me’.

So; gather interesting, relevant and informative content; preferably linked to video and designed with the mobile phone in mind and you’re pretty much ready to go native. Speaking to specialists will mean you do much more than just survive. Remember, it’s a jungle out there and the key to success is keeping those natives friendly.