LIL 2013: The Local Stake in Native Advertising

Native advertising was on stage today at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local Conference. Chris Cunningham, CEO, appsavvy and Jeff Moriarty, VP Digital, The Boston Globe spoke to reimagining advertising by integrating ads and content for a seamless experience.

Cunningham spoke to native advertising’s value proposition,”We believe this is premium inventory because it creates a better user experience.” Moriarty cited an example of working with appsavy where JetBlue had sponsored content around its new Boston, MA to Charleston, SC route. As Moriarty noted, the content was clearly labeled as sponsored content. The user experience was to get not just the JetBlue information about the the new flights from Logan but Boston Globe content was pulled into the page that was related to the destination.

Moriarty talked about The Boston Globe’s program, “Insights” where SMB blog content is pulled in from RSS feeds and published alongside Boston Globe content. This allows users to see the sponsored content but again the experience is enriched by add Boston Globe content.

Cunningham spoke to the imporance of the mobile platform, “If less than 50% of your traffic is on mobile devices, you should really look at that.” He argued that, “large is beautiful on mobile devices…we don’t allow small banners.” Moriarty spoke several times to the minimum goal for native advertising that it not be “incredibly annoying.” This is a higher hurdle to reach with mobile devices. He shared that they use “responsive web design” that responds to different screen sizes. “We provide native ads that actually look different on different screens and devices and create appropriate user experiences. We find that standard IAB units don’t travel well across devices.”

Cunningham added another user value point, “We like big, full screen interstitial ads. To make sure these ads are served at natural points, we work with publishers to understand where these natural breaks are…between games for example.”

BIA/Kelsey’s Jed Williams who moderated the panel concluded by saying, “Native advertising really is not about ‘not being incredibly annoying’ – it’s really about increasing the value of the user experience.”

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