Google recently rolled out a new algorithm with far-reaching effects. The update heavily favors mobile-friendly websites, and as a result, sites that aren’t optimized for mobile use have dropped in mobile search rankings and have lost big in organic search traffic.
But Mobilegeddon isn’t necessarily bad news for native advertisers. In fact, native advertising is ahead of the curve because of how it organically and responsively fits into websites. Given that Americans spend almost three hours per day on mobile devices, the new algorithm can translate to higher traffic and click-through rates for advertisers whose content is mobile-friendly.
However, the new algorithm means publishers and advertisers need to rethink their approach. Because mobile devices have small screens, all content — ads included — need to take up less real estate. Publishers may start limiting their advertising space, and native ads could condense and begin to focus on a single image and headline.
After years in the industry, here are some of my tried-and-true recommendations to ensure your native ad strategy is still effective in the wake of Mobilegeddon:
1. Get mobile-friendly. Prepare for more mobile traffic. It should go without saying that your site must be responsive and mobile-friendly. Otherwise, you’ll fall behind competitors whose sites are optimized, and you’ll frustrate consumers who click your ads only to find a website they can’t easily browse.
To make sure your site fares well in search rankings, check Google’s tool for determining your mobile-friendliness. If your site isn’t up to snuff, your first priority should be making it responsive and mobile-friendly.
2. Find the right ad networks. When you pay for native ad placement, you want to know that consumers are actually seeing your ads the way they’re supposed to look. Advertise with networks that can demonstrate a history of good mobile traffic. Eventually, all networks will catch on to the mobile trend, but finding networks that have great content-style mobile traffic now means you’ll be working with the most experienced players from the get-go.
3. Find the right publishers. To make sure your ads actually show up, work only with publishers that have responsive sites. Ideally, you’ll find partners that have been doing mobile native advertising for a while and can use their experience to help your campaign succeed.
Look for publishers that are also willing to let you A/B test your native ads. What works on desktop doesn’t always work on mobile, so figuring out the best approach will take time and testing. You need A/B testing capabilities to evaluate and adjust your strategy accordingly.
If you can’t find publishers that can help you do this, look for a native advertising ad network. It can help you A/B test and will ensure your ad shows up on mobile sites.
4. Focus on headlines and images. Traditionally, native ads included an image, a headline, and body copy, but thanks to the mobile shift, consumers will see only a few lines of content at a time. This means more and more sites will omit or cut down on body copy. To make the maximum impact on consumers, craft campaigns that focus on images and headlines.
5. Keep learning. Native advertising is still fairly new, and it’s constantly evolving. This creates an opportunity to get an edge over the competition. Don’t stop learning after you get up to speed on this latest algorithm. Instead, stay up-to-date to stay ahead of the game. Consult with companies that have been in the industry for a while, and use their knowledge to help you move forward.
Native advertising has always been a great fit for mobile advertising, and Google’s new algorithm will finally force the industry to adopt responsive sites. As native advertising shifts to image-driven and headline-focused ads, the future belongs to those that go mobile.