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How non-intrusive advertising is picking up in this era of digital advertising

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Of all the challenges marketers face in reaching their target audiences, creating relevant content for today’s ‘mobile-first’ consumers has arguably been one of the most difficult to overcome. With smartphones in the pockets of majority of India’s population, it makes sense that brands focus their efforts on reaching their audience via mobile devices. But with decreasing attention spans (less than that of a goldfish) and smartphone’s limited real estate, the brands today must figure out how to advertise to consumers who simply don’t want to see hard-sell ads anymore.

These consumers want to consume ads without knowing they are actually watching or reading an ad. The positioning and content of the ad should be such that the user willingly goes through what the brands have to offer. Marketers have, in fact, coined a term for this kind of advertising – Non-intrusive advertising. Interestingly, a number of platforms are today on the forefront of these non-intrusive- also called engagement, immersive or interactive ads. These platforms are allowing brands to reach consumers in a completely different way.

While they are not entirely doing away with the humble banner ads, they are actually rethinking the standard banner, using formats, content and presentation that aim to get users engaged with ads beyond just clicking through to go to a website or download an app. Now, this need to learn the tricks of the trade of mobile-first advertising route has further amplified with Google Chrome’s new built-in ad blockers, which are aiming to take ‘annoying’ ads to task. So here’s how marketers can reach their consumers in a non-intrusive way:

By doing more with less
So, for the marketers looking to create some buzz in the mobile advertising era, the first way is to create ads that blend seamlessly with or mimic the forms of content on the page to achieve the maximum level of engagement. In other words, these ads don’t scream: ‘I’m an advertisement!’ to consumers. In fact, these ads come in the form of well-written content that matches the look and feel of other editorial content.

Such kind of native ads witnesses 25% more consumers than standard banner ads, as per the research by Sharethrough/ IPG Media Labs. They also result in an 18% higher lift in purchase intent than banner ads, and 32 percent of consumers say they would share a native ad with friends and family (versus just 19 percent for banner ads).

Additionally, these native ads have a much higher click-through rate than traditional ads. A study of more than 18 billion native ads across 5,000 branded content programs (including publishers like The Washington Post, Gannett, and AOL) showed that click-through rates (CTR) for premium native ads were highest on smartphones, at 0.38% in 2015. Tablets experienced an average CTR of 0.33%, while native ads on desktop computers saw CTR rates at 0.16%.

By infusing ‘Relevancy’
Another way that the brand and marketers must focus on is creating relevant content for users to create a better user experience. A recent research by Foster found that 60% of the mobile ad consumers said that great user experience was one where the ad did not disrupt what they were currently doing. That means users prefer ads that respond on their mental-engagement level. For instance, Facebook keeps track of its user’s interests, likes and shares and push the exact content he/she is looking for. Similarly, Google offers the best ad based on the user’s data. This approach of combining relevancy make both the platform user-friendly, knowledge worthy and sharable.

To put simply, in the highly curated and personal in-app mobile era, brands will have to work with a ‘consumer-first’ approach, get their permission to approach them, and add value to their experience. If you do that, your users will be receptive, and you’ll be rewarded with their attention and, of course, engagement.

Tarun Arora, Head of Marketing, Inshorts

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Tarun Arora

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